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Hello. ACDF scheduled C5-C7, donor bone 4/13/11 Miami J Collar

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all, I am new here and have been educating myself by reading all the wonderful information here.
I am 45 years old, married and mother of two boys 10&15. In 2008 one day I noticed that I had consistent pain in my neck and that turning my head became difficult and that lightening bolts would go down my arm to my fingers which were tingly all the time. I was diagnosed with herniated discs at c5-c6 and c6-c7. Went through Chiro, PT, Drug Therapy with cervical epidurals. My symptoms were kept in check until this past December when the block was no longer effective and I quickly went down hill. Another MRI in Feb showed increased herniation at c5 that was now pushing the spinal cord over and the stenosis had also advanced alot. So my pain doc sent me to an Ortho Spine Specialist. I got another opinion from a neurosurgeon. Both came to the same diagnosis. I like the ortho better and he scheduled me for the ACDF yesterday. He gave me a folder with a bunch of hand outs and the last piece of paper said (20 font) go to spine-health.com and you can view videos and meet some wonderful people for support. How about that! So here I am.

Like everyone at my stage I am very nervous, and scared. Unfortunately this is not my first experience having surgery. For awhile there I thought the hospital's new wing was paid for by me AND that they devoted a bed to me with a golden name plate. This is my 1st spine surgery. On Monday I meet with the scheduler who will go into all the fine details of preparing for surgery and recovery. She will cover any additional questions I have. This is already started off with a royal fire drill. My GP did not renew his contract with the medical group that took over the practice last year leaving him with a partner who NEEDS to retire. So I have to start over with a new GP and educate him to all that is me because I will not go see grandpa. So the new GP can give me medical clearance. Good thing my surgeon actually recommended the group I was in the process of researching.

That's my story. I look forward to all the wonderful information and support here.



  • Hi Sue,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many whom are going through or have gone through the surgery including myself.

    I can tell you the fear of the surgery is more than likely worse than the surgery itself. Many members have gone to surgery to wake up pain free with only surgical pain. Others have taken a bit longer, depending on the degree of the nerves involved and cord involvement. I have worn the miami J on two occasions for three month stents, and honestly it was welcome relief. Gave those neck muscles sometime to relax. I actually felt very comfortable in it and did just fine sleeping in it. So hopefully that is how it works out for you as well.

    Have a look in the surgery form at the list of needs for post surgery. Some will apply to you and some not. But it is pretty complete and has lots of useful information. Of course there is the animated video on the actual surgery, and it is pretty straight forward.

    Hopefully you will get the medical clearance you need for the surgery. I would make those appointments right away, just in case they need to do something.

    Anyway just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to pm me. Take care.
  • I thought I was taking this all in pretty well, but now I am starting to wonder. That dreaded pre-surgical wait. I think I am being to un-realistic and I am going to have a seriously rough go.

    I am overweight and judging by what I have read that is a strike against you. He already told me it will be rough go at the beginning because I already had a chronic pain condition before all this happened so my pain tolerance is low. I think I may have heard a one day hospital stay, but really is that possible for someone like me?

    I hope once he goes in there will not be any surprises. For days like today with headache and the searing knife pain in my shoulder blade and the fire down my arm I am trying to look to the future..
  • Hi Sue,

    A one day stay is typical for any cervical fusion patients. They will typically get you up in a few hours post surgery and have you walk around. Your weight should only be a issue with them going into your neck. But as far as your recovery, from the surgery it shouldn't be a problem. They are not using your hip bone so the pain should be in your incision only. Typically they put meds in the incision to aide in the pain control. I am not sure if they told you but the one thing you should be doing post surgery is walking. When you think you have walked enough walk some more. Check out net for a walking program called 10,000 steps. It will be a great start for you, if your not sure what to do and you can gradually work your way up. Most importantly if you smoke you need to stop now. Smoking is the hardest thing on bone growth. Also you should plan for post surgery meals, and pick healthy food choices. You want to do everything you can to help the bone fusion process. You don't want to have a non-union and go through the revision surgery, as that is the surgery that is much harder on you.

    AS I said most people are pleasantly surprised to be rid of the pain, and just have surgical pain. I am not sure what type of pain you have now, but most are ready to remove a limb. So having the pressure off that nerve is welcome relief.

    It is natural to be hesitant about surgery. But hopefully you have done your research on your surgeon and trust him/her. You understand the procedure and what they are doing as well. From there you just have to put faith in your surgeon and his/her abilities. Just be prepared by reading the post surgery thread and you will be all setup. Before you know the day will be here and gone and you will be on the other side.
  • A non-smoker here, so I have that going for me. I had already planned on walking post op. The pain I have now is at the bottom of my neck, across the shoulders, down the arms and to the left thumb and index finger where the arms and fingers are on fire and tingly all the time. The tip of my index finger is numb. So based on what I read and what the surgeon said, I should benefit from having this surgery. I have never had a surgical drain, so that is a bit scary. I've had PCA pumps, I have to remember to press the button! I did not do that enough when they took out my gallbladder. Got a talking to by the nurse, who would come in and get me to press the button at night.

    I am planning for the surgery and beginning to make my list of things to do. Prepare meals for freezing, reviewing my clothes. I already have a grabber from when I had a hysterectomy. I need to read a bit more on food choices to aide in the bone growth. I certainly do NOT want a revision.

    I may have some more questions tomorrow after we meet with the nurse for our "education" session.
    Pain free hugs...
  • I had the same surgery on 12/9/2010. I had a small incision in the front with a drain just above that. It was very small and did not hurt. Somewhere there is what to know prior to surgery and must haves. If you can't find it let me know. I found the wait to be the worst part of the entire situation. when I woke up from surgery, I was already in my room and it was hours later. My husband stayed with me through the first night so that he could tell me to press the button since I was so out of it. Good luck to you.
  • I found the list of must haves on the first page in this forum. I have to say out of the many surgeries I have had, it was VERY complete and extremely helpful.

    Today I met my new GP who will clear me for the surgery. I got good news and bad news. Good news is no stress test. He ran an ekg and it matches my copy and with it I had the results of the stress test I took last surgery to explain the abnormality. He said there have been no changes, and the stress test did not need to be repeated as long as there was no changes... Yippee. But he put me on a blood pressure med Bystolic because my pulse rate was high. He is doing it as precaution as surgery is hard on the heart already. While I don't like starting a new med so close to surgery, I guess I have to grin and bear it. He also ran blood work to verify that my thyroid med is correct and not too much, which could cause issues with blood pressure.

    I pray I don't have ANY of the side effects of this drug and that it is only a short term solution since it is VERY expensive. If this is permanent I want a cheaper drug.

    That is all for today as I have a massive headache today. 2nd day in a row.

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