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2 level ACDF & Hospital Stay?

edited 06/11/2012 - 7:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
For those of you that have been through the ACDF surgery on two levels, how many of you were released in 23 hours or 1 night? I am a little nervous they will be shoving me out the door too quickly? I was told by the nurse at the dr office who goes over the surgery process and post op instructions. She said the surgery will be 3-5 hours and I will go home the next day. This time does not include the time in recovery.

So what is the consensus?


  • That sounds normal to me. I have a total of four levels fused and never stayed more than the 23 hours even using my bone. I also did my surgeries in a surgery center, although i stayed the night. At first everyone was concerned about that much surgery in a surgery center, but personally I prefer it as the care is so much better, in my opinion. Can't beat that personal nurse you get. But I think you will find all members have stayed that amount of time. Did I mention following the surgeries I returned home by myself and took care of myself with really no issues. I mean I was capable of taking care of myself. I had people check in on me, but I did just fine with some preplanning. So don't be to worried on the hospital stay. They will have you up and about within a few hours of surgery. It has always been my experience I feel much better in my own home. Now if there is any sort of problems they will keep you if need be, but you should be fine and more than likely itching to get home. Be sure to have a button up shirt to make it easy for you, sweat pants are always easy as well. But also be sure to bring some shorts with you when they get you up to walk around. Good luck on surgery. If you have any questions don't hesitate to pm me.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    The only cervical surgery I stayed over 24 hrs was the posterior approach. To be honest I was glad to come home in 24 hours due to the lack of sleep you get in the hospital.
  • Your own bed will feel so much better than the one at the hospital. I had two levels done and did stay overnight but was released the next morning (less than 24 hour stay which made the insurance company happy).
  • I had a completely different experience. I had a 2 level fusion and I wasn't out of bed until the end of the second day and frankly don't think I could have. They tried to get me up on the second day but I passed out as soon as I sat up. (my pain meds were not effective)

    Anyways, I spent 5 days in the hospital due to complications but I was told the average for fusion surgery is 3-5 days. I don't personally think I could have went home much sooner.

    That being said...I overheard at my doc's office yesterday they were talking to a patient having an ACDF, and she said 1-2 days in the hospital, 2 days being the absolute maximum. HTH.
  • 2 Cervical fusions here, and for both I was out of the hospital the next day. Checked in at 0600 for surgery, and spent the night, released around noon or 1pm.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • My Dr. the other day said I might be staying 2 days. I have 2 nerves compressing the spinal cord really bad, and he said it may even be a 3 level fusion on the rest using my bone. I guess because I'm 60 and have a lot of other issues he doesn't want to take a chance. When I had my double lumbar fusion last July I was in for 4 days because they had to give me several fusions. But, the norm. for a ACDF is usually going home the next day. All depends on the individual case. My surgery is in a couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to it. i keep getting like electric jolt feelings in my spine, so I know it's time for surgery. Also, I get fitted next week for a hard collar and soft collar. I'm sure you will do just fine.
  • Thank you everyone. Once home I have read many posts on sleeping in recliner, in bed normally, etc. Do you think I should buy one of those wedges or can I get away with a few pillows.

    Each day that passes I feel lucky to have this place and everyone's input.

  • Before I got my adjustable bed, I found a wedge pillow to work best. Multiple pillows didn't maintain a stabilized support for sleeping for me. In my RV I have a memory foam mattress, and two wedges - one for my upper body, and the other for if I need my legs raised.

    My C5/6 - I lived in, and loved my Lazy Boy.

    My C6/7 - Hated the recliner, loved my bed!

    Weird two different comfy spots for different levels!! I haven't figured that one out yet! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I actually found my couch most comfortable as I could use the back side to lean in and it had higher arms that i could put the pillows just right in and sleep. The one thing I say you need to do for sure is make sure wherever you decide the TV is directly straight in front of you. So if your going to watch some TV you don't have your head turned to long looking at it. It is easy to do when you get interested in something and then your kind of soar from it. This last go around I slept in my bed as I have about 15 pillows and can put them anyway to create the same thing. You might also find that you want to lay flat with no pillows at all. Many a night I get rid of all the pillows and just lay flat on my back with feet up. Tv is still straight in front of me.

    One thing is important following spine surgery is posture. Try to always watch the posture of your neck. It is easy to go back to slouching, but you want to work on posture to build the neck muscles up again. Of course walk and walk some more and hold your head in good posture, the longer you practice it the more you will adapt to it.
  • I had a 2 level - my surgery was very early in morning and was in recovery by 9am .. was released from Hospital by noon the next day and very thankful for that as I did not sleep a wink in the hospital at all ... I pushed my NS to let me go home I think they were going to keep my the 2nd night .. Good luck hope all goes well!
  • I got a Wedge pillow for bed that allowed me to sleep in bed with pillows under my knees - I did use a pillow for my head resting back on the wedge and it worked nicely for the 1st 10 days I had to wear the hard collar to sleep .. once I was allowed to take the hard collar off - I got a cervical tempurpedic pillow and took a few nights to get used to it but love it now ... I do know some who slept in recliner - I do not have one so the wedge worked great!
    I also got a Shower Chair and did need help from my husband the 1st few showers .. was frustrating but worked..

  • What great advice. I already have two cervical support pillows, one foam one that has support on the side for side sleepers and the head hole with a cervical ledge for back sleepers. I ended up changing after two years because it was increasing my symptoms. So I recently got one like my hubby's tri-core only with outlast technology (to keep me cool as I sweat at night.)No matter what now, I can't sleep well. I do think I am going to find a wedge.

    I am worried about pain control both in the hospital and after. I take dilaudid and flexeril right now and they are not really working well anymore. I heard that some get a PCA pump while others oral. I plan on discussing with my pain doc as well as the surgeon the day of surgery. But the surgeon already knows that I will have a rough go at the start, he told me that. I like the honesty, and per human nature of course I am scared.
  • As for post op pain control, the "plus:plus" is that your surgeon *knows* that your specific surgical requirements will need pain control, he will take care of you I am sure. Many surgeons talk with their patient just before you go into the OR. If I were you, I would get from him an idea of what the post op pain plan is, that way you will know if the nurses are following this plan.

    As a small footnote? We many times find that our fears, frustrations, and nervous feelings were worse than the surgery! Gentle support *HUG* for you.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Allot of good responses on here. My neck surgery is in 9 days, and I was wondering where you get a "wedge" that you talk about. My biggest problem when I come home is probably going to be sleeping. With my lumbar double fusion I slept on the couch, because i laid on my side and it was easy to just roll out of bed. That was back in July.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Ohmyback mentioned a long stay but that was for lumbar. Neck is different.

    For ACDF, unlike lumbar surgery, the stay is usually 1-2 nights. I opted for the second night as the hospital bed was nice in terms of position. You'll find the post op pain is FAR less than lumbar (for my L3-S1 2/2010 I was in for 7 days).

    Even with my posterior neck surgery, which was more painful than the ACDF, I stayed one night.

    The wedge can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond. They come in 7 inch. I have a 7 inch and a 14 inch we got from hubby's mom. I like the 14 inch so you may want to buy two of the 7 inch.

    Lumbar surgery, either anterior or posterior, includes dissecting muscle which is the major cause for the immediate post op pain especially when attempting to get in and out of bed. ACDF does not go through muscle and thus less pain can be experienced.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I ordered mine on line at Brookstone.. it is a tempurpedic one and you can change it around for differnt heights.. love it. I now use my cervical pillow with the wedge on low height under my knees when sleeping on my back! Hope it works out for you!
  • I have also seen them at Walmart stores and Walmart.com
    Amazon also has them. Both Foam and Tempurpedic. I had a temperpedic pillow and that made me extremely hot. So I'm not sure which one is better. But i have seen some with the "outlast" technology which is supposed to react to you and keep you cool. I just got a pillow with it and I love it. My nite sweats are very few now. I wish I could afford a new mattress with that technology. I have looked at mattress pads with outlast, but only on line. I want to touch and feel... Our current mattress has a pillow top with generic temperpedic and I HATE it. We have actually flipped the mattress and slept on the hard bottom. We are considering doing it again and getting a mattress pad to add more cushion. Such choices....
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