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Anterior Cervical Fusion 4-levels; surgery soon....HEEEEEEEELP!

JustFabulousJJustFabulous Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
:O Hi, Im Rhona and i'm new here. I've got surgery coming up in the near future, and I wondered if anyone's gone through this...........add to that on May 1, 2010 I woke up and saw that my fingers were starting to curl in. Now I have a claw hand and the doc insists it;s coming from my neck; by the way , typing is torture and yet I have to know what to expect, guys, since I want to be prepared, informed, and see if anyone;s got any great suggestions to make this crazy THING a good, positive experience. I wonder how long the surgery will take, what can I expect after I wake up, how will I be after I leave the hospital and will I need alot of help or can I help myself. :SS

I'm VERY GLAD I FOUND YOU GUYS :H AND I HOPE YOU WILL ACCEPT ME AS A NEW MEMBER! I'm a very nice person who cannot type anymore; my arm is killing me so there you have it; can anyone tell me about their experience?

In the meantime I;ll just sit and contemplate my future 8>

Thanks everyone!!!!!!!! I need all the positive energy I can get.

xxRhona :-C


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I can tell you about my experience but remember this is my experience and everyone is different. I am fused c3 thru c7. I also had pain in my hands and arms and upon waking from the surgery the pain was gone. It did take a few months to regain full strength of my arm but hey the pain was gone. I was in the hospital overnight and sent home the next day. I did have someone stay with me for a few days, I didnt really need them but just in case. I was extremely tired for almost a month following my surgery and my surgeon response to that was I had been thru a big surgery and it is to be expected. Make sure you have straws, that is the one thing I could not live without. If you dont have them you will dribble all over yourself.lol. that is if you have a brace. The most important thing I can tell you is to WALK,WALK and Walk some more. This will keep the muscles from locking up. I would say all my post op pain was muscular. Dont try and be brave and decide to stop your meds too soon, trust me you will regret it. Stay on top of the pain. Keep us posted of your progress and good luck
  • Hi! Thanks for the information Jirfrye.

    Rhonda - my 4 level surgery C3 - C7 is this Monday. Of course, I can't share my post surgery experience, but I can share what I've learned from my doctor & staff - who seem conservative compared to Jirfrye's.

    My surgery Monday is estimated to be 2-1/2 - 3 hours, then post op. There is a potential to having to remain intubated depending on the amount of swelling in the throat (if so, you're kept "knocked out" 'til after the tube is removed - usually by next morning. I'll be admitted to the ICU - their standard procedure - and will have a catheter, drainage line and IV, as well as the various monitoring equipment. I will also have a neck brace. The first day you rest.

    Second day the drain comes out and you get up in a chair - maybe walk. Liquid diet.

    Third day - walking, resting and PT/OT to make sure you can safely get around and do basic daily things correctly while wearing the neck brace. Catheter is removed. Try eating a little soft food. Could potentially go home.

    Fourth day - PT if needed and walking. Discharge.

    I was told that after the car ride home I should not be in a car until 10 days after the surgery. Walking is very much encouraged - but keep to what is tolerated and increase over time. I am also supposed to have someone home with me 24/7 the first week. No lifting more than the equivalent of a gallon of milk. Eat what is well tolerated.

    I have heard from a couple people that the sore throat caused the most "pain" from the surgery. There is a list elsewhere in the site of what to do before the surgery, what you need at or after the hospital. I also hear what Jirfrye said - take the pain pills if you need them.

    I will be back on after the surgery whenever I am up to it.

    Take care,

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Hey Guys,
    Thanks so much for your replies! I wish you ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR SURGERY KAREN!!!!!! Sounds like we'll be in the same boat! Mine is probably going to happen before mid-May.

    TONS OF INFORMATION which I do appreciate from both of you! I am prepared with my 'positive notes' that I plan on putting up wherever I can since I want to just go in there, do the surgery, it'll be over and done with, I'll stay on top of the pain FOR SURE! (learned that via 2 c-sections!) BUT I truly plan to DO WHAT I;M TOLD TO THE 'T'; KEEP THE MOST POSITIVE ATTITUDE POSSIBLE, and get on with my life (after much effort, I'm sure!).

    thanks so much for your replies; you both helped me alot. :* I;ll say a special prayer for your surgery, Karen; let us know how it goes!!!!

    xx rhona
  • I may have that name wrong, but if the problem is just below the elbow on one side, it could be a nerve trapped in the elbow joint. I had trouble with one hand, was told it was a spinal problem, and it turned out to be in my elbow (and healed on its own).

    I suppose that if you are having a 4-level ACDF that the MRI justified that, and made it apparent that your hand problem originated in your spine, but I thought I'd mention my experience, anyway.

    Doctors often get it wrong because they jump to conclusions...

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