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Back from surgery

L-DoggLL-Dogg Posts: 101
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
After getting to hospital at 5am, only to find the Work Comp authorization had not come through....leading too a call to my surgeon who woke up his office person who I am certain now has a slightly larger you know what after some reamage..........I had my surgery yesterday at 7am. It was actually probably at 9am as the prep takes about two hours. Apparently my surgeon likes to do all the cleaning himself and is super meticulous.

Anyway, I got a two level at C4-5, C5-6 with anterior plate and interbody fusion using BMP.

It was supposed to be a 45minute surgery but ended up being 1-1/2 hrs. I still have to talk with my surgeon...this is by way of my wife and I know she has the info right I just need to get the full skinny, but apparently my spinal cord had pushed through my tendons back there and a piece of my disc had broken off and was pressing pretty good into my spinal cord.Trust me, I think of my surgeon VERY highly, a genius in fact....the man is Harvard trained and has written papers on spine surgery and is involved with a very fine group of spine and neurosurgeons in Los Angeles. Well he told my wife it was a "very difficult surgery". He never said that after my ALIF and PLIF at L4/5 which was more like "piece of cake"! So if he said it was very difficult....I am dying to know what went on.

Anyway, I went for walks around the ward, 4 nice long laps at St Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, a little after dinner. I ate a full lunch as well. No collar, my surgeon does not believe in them.

When I went on my first walk, an RN from a different section saw I had had a cervical fusion and said "what no collar, who is your surgeon?" I told her and she said" oh yes, his patients hardly ever get a collar, he is so good and not many surgeons can do this"

Everyone was marveling that I was doing so well, in fact they asked me to get back in bed today. I got up at 4:30 and did 5 laps and then sat in my room on a regular chair.....night nurse, who was absolutely splendid came in and said "back into bed, you have been up for over 3 hours, don't overdo it". LOL!!!

Anyway, very difficult swallowing is the worst part. I asked the anesthesiologist to be careful putting the airpipe in and told him I am a singer, so I am sure this helped. I am a tiny bit hoarse....I will see if that get's worse. The big vertebra right at the base of my neck, I guess where the thoracic starts, hurts like a beeyotch....well relatively....I mean so far the incision does not hurt. Maybe it is the way they positioned my head.

I had a long wait to get pain medication....about 3 hours. Apparently I stopped breathing a bunch of times after they administered the first shot of Dilaudid when I got to recovery. So when I woke up they would not give me anything.....things were excrutiating for a while. After I stabilized they gave me a total of 5 more Dilaudid shots in my arm and alternating with Norco 10/325....between the two I made it okay.Today after my morning shot I only got 2 Norco's before I was discharged. Man that Dilaudid burns as it is injected into the muscle!!!

I had to go on insulin as the Prednizone shot my blood sugar way up but I was able to get off it and not have to go on a sliding scale insulin injection at home. I would not like to do that.

I was discharged today at 11am and am at home again. The biggest relief was getting the drip setup out of my hand. I hate and fear those things. Eeeeugh!!!! So nice to be home.

Anyway, that is how it went for me.

Touch wood, the numbness and tingling in my hands feels waaaaaaaaay less than it was pre-surgery and I was not waking up with anywhere near the same level. That was really exciting. So too soon to tell, I will wait and see but I am certain it will be great.

Just figured to let you guys know.


  • Glad to see you are back with us! Never heard of cervical surgery as an ALIF though. Maybe you meant an ACDF - Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

    Sounds like post-op got a little scary there! Glad to see all is turning out well now. Now try and rest, and of course follow your doctors orders to a "T"...! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks.

    On my surgery papers it says Anterior Interbody Fusion with anterior fixation. I guess when I looked it up I spaced on the Lumbar part which makes it ALIF and that is what I had before ALIF and PLIF.

    But nowhere does it say ACDF though although I guess that is what it is really. He pulled out the discs and fused me with the interbody cages made from Hydrasorb.
  • When you get your x-rays you will see something like mine, but not with my stupid wing thing!! (G) I kind of like the wording they used on yours vs ACDF. I guess using the lumber mindset, it would be an:

    Anterior Cervical Interbody Fusion = ACIF! Hehehe

    I think that was a typo on their part, unless the terminology is changing. It kind of looks sexy written that way! (G) I hope you're continuing to get better. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Welcome to the other side and I'm glad to hear it went well and that you're home.

    I believe that for the first two days (for me at least) there isn't much pain at the incision site because they put internal anesthesia in during the surgery and once that wears off, then you'll start feeling the surgical pain. My first two days home were frustrating for my hubby because I was acting so normal - he actually asked me if I would could just even act like I just had surgery. LOL But two days later, I felt like I'd been hit my a Mack truck.

    I'm confused about the Dilaudid thing - if you stopped breathing because it was a problem, why didn't they switch you over to morphine? Dilauded did nothing for me for my cervical surgery, so I asked the doc for something else for my lumbar surgery and was given a morphine pump. That was much better.

    I'm so glad too that you're experiencing what most of us cervical patients did post-op - that many if not all the symptoms were gone when we woke up. That's a great feeling. It's also a great feeling to be home post-op.

    Oh, just curious - do you have little scabs on your scalp above both ears and just above the top of your forehead?

    Take care of yourself and be prepared to experience a little more pain before things get better. You just had major spine surgery and need to take care of yourself and let others help you.

    Good job and I'm glad to hear a good post-op report.

  • Cath111 said:
    Dilauded did nothing for me for my cervical surgery........
    Oh, just curious - do you have little scabs on your scalp above both ears and just above the top of your forehead?
    Thanks Cath. Yeah I am expecting a ramp up in pain, it has already started, just not at the incision yet.

    Dilauded did nothing for me either....well not as good as the morphine I got for my lumbar fusion.

    Man my throat really hurts today, and I get like a heartburn feeling deeper down my oesophagus. Swallowing is TOUGH!!!!

    I don't notice scabs on my head. Did they use some sort of halo on you?

  • Oh, just curious - do you have little scabs on your scalp above both ears and just above the top of your forehead?
    No but I did find this little mystery bruise on the inside of my left arm.

  • Cath111 said:

    Oh, just curious - do you have little scabs on your scalp above both ears and just above the top of your forehead?
    I call them my divots Cathie!! Mine are from the "Gardner-Wells Tongs" they placed my head in for my surgeries. I have 4 of those divots now. :) None above my forehead, only above and slightly behind my ears.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I had those on inside of my forearms more so after my C6/7 surgery. I was told it was from the probes used to monitor my electrical status (Motor-evoked potential monitoring). My left arm was worse, and I got the impression that maybe there wasn't enough jell on the skin before the probe was placed.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • G;ad to hear you're up and about! Keep walking (carefully) but don't overdo things!! A very speedy recovery to you!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I'm sorry about the swallowing, but you knew that was a possibility. I bit later in recovery, I also had bubble problems in my esophegus, so I'd burp a lot. Then of course, the raspy voice for a while.

    And about your incision site, mine has been numb since surgery. My incision is about 3 inches long and vertical on the left side of my neck, and the numbness when from the bottom of my incision all the way up to under my chin. It subsided slowly, but my scar itself, though totally unnoticable, is still numb.

    I'm surprised you don't have the scabs. My surgeon told me before surgery not to be surprised if I find a little dried blood above both my ears and on the top of my head, although he didn't say why. I did find them, though. And yes, Brenda, it's from the tongs they use to traction your head (20 lbs. for me) during surgery when they put the stuff in the disc areas.

    L-Dogg, you can call your hospital (or get on their website) and get your Operations Report. Everything they did will be in that report and it's a good thing to keep with all your MRI, injection and other spiney paperwork.

    I don't remember having any bruising, but I probably did. During spine surgery, they always have a nerve person in there monitoring all your nerves to make sure the surgeon doesn't destroy something s/he shouldn't.

    Are you taking your medications as prescribed, L-Dogg? How are you today?

  • Thanks.

    I am struggling this morning. My throat is so constricted. I was battling for air a while ago......I mean, having to concentrate on trying to relax enough to get my throat open. It feels like it is less than the diameter of a nickel and all inflamed. I am afraid to try swallow food or even my meds.

    You see they did not give me the steroid meds for the inflammation as it shoots up your blood sugar and I am told I have Type II. I am on a light medication for Type II Diabetes and try to eat well and exercise.

    If they give me the steroid I will likely have to inject myself with insulin. I hope I don't go there.

    Last night I choked on a very tiny sip if cold tea, not even iced. My wife says I sound like a Smurf and is actually getting on my nerves with that statement. I suppose if you are able to walk around you are fine.

    I have a call in to my surgeon, the exchange cannot reach him, likely he is in the shower. I feel strongly enough about this to rouse him....... I am stressed out over how closed up my throat is.

    Plus it feels like it is swollen right at the gag point. Very uncomfortable. I am trying to relax.

  • Your throat problems sound rather alarming!!

    Did you manage to speak to your surgeon, and what did he say?

    I have not had cervical surgery, so don't have any experience of what you are dealing with.

    I seem to remember other neck patients speaking about eating ice cream to help to deal with inflamation of their throat after surgery.

    Hopefully someone who has been through this will come along and give you some advice on things that will help you.

    I hope that things will settle down very soon. :-)
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