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C6-C7 Spine Fusion

ncchief30nncchief30 Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
On May 25th I will be having a Spne Fusion on C6-C7. I was hoping you all could tell what I might be going through. How painfull it is. Recovery, I know we all recover differently but how long the pain will last and so on. Please help as I am scared as hell.


  • I had 4 level acdf C3-7 on Monday. This is my first time back on-line. My recovery could be quite different from yours since I had multiple levels. Get as much done as possible before the surgery because you need to take it really easy afterward.

    The pain after surgery was well managed, and is still manageable with the meds prescribed.

    Make sure you understand what the anticipated process is for the surgery. I know it may sound weird but ask what tubes you may have afterward - IV I assume, and ask if you might have a breathing tube afterward. That may sound scary but it's good to know and especially good for your family know so you and they are less likely to freak out. For me it depended on how much swelling there was in the throat. I did awaken with the breathing tube but I didn't freak out. I couldn't talk, but quickly signaled for something to write on. I think it didn't bother me so much because I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP mask every night.

    Eating is still a challenge - bites have to be tiny and the food eaten has to be pulverized by chewing. My favorite right now seems to be ice cream, mashed potatoes and applesauce! It'll get better over time.

    I did have to remember advice from this site - don't wait until you really need the pain meds to take some.

    I hope this helps a little.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You've come to the right place for information and to learn of others' experiences.

    I had a 3-lvl ACDF in Oct. 08 and like you, I was scared as hell. It was the first time I'd ever had anything wrong and to have to end up having spine surgery, well that just didn't seem right.

    Anyway, I think most of us here will tell you that the anticipation is worse than the surgery. It's so scary leading up to it, but before you know it, you're waking up in your room and it's done.

    I didn't have a breathing tube and didn't have many problems with my throat after surgery. I was eating a pork chop the night I got home from the hospital. I was only in one day - had surgery early on a Tuesday and out by noon on Wednesday. I didn't have a catheter either.

    Do have a "station" prepared for when you get home, a place where you'll plant yourself while healing and have your things around you. Many of us who have had cervical surgery lived in our recliners for a couple to three weeks afterwards.

    Like Karen said, be sure to take your meds as scheduled when you get home - you'll have at least one that's an antibiotic that imperative to take on schedule, but the pain and muscle relaxants, you take those to stay ahead of the pain. Once it gets ahead of you, it's hard to get back under control. I don't think that the recovery was too bad, all things considered.

    Try to measure your recovery in weeks, not days, as it's going to take some time to heal.

    I really didn't feel a lot of pain after the surgery I think because they put anesthesia in there that lasts a couple of days. My hubby was upset because I didn't act like I'd just had surgery until a couple of days after I got home, then I felt like I got hit by a Mack truck. But that kind of pain doesn't last a long time, it really lessens quickly if all goes well.

    Do be prepared for swollen and/or sore throat. Also plan on having someone with you for a week or two when you get home to help you out (you'll want to rest and sleep), then after a few days start a walking regimen. Start with small distances and work up to longer ones. Walking is about the best thing a spiney can do to heal.

    Do you know if you'll have a brace, hard or soft or both? Have they mentioned PT at some point after surgery?

    I've said a lot here and hope this helps some. Feel free to ask more questions and to PM me if you have any questions or if I can help in any way.

    Oh, and by the way, when I woke up from surgery, all symptoms in my arms were totally gone. But watch out for those muscle spasms after surgery - they tend to get mad at what the doctors do to them. So muscle relaxants will be your good friends for a while.

    Take care of yourself and don't be afraid to ask your surgeon for something to calm your nerves in the weeks leading up to surgery. I took Xanax before both of my surgeries, just to keep the heebyjeebies at a minimum.
  • The surgery I am having is a Level 1 c6 c7 spine fusion. I will be in a shot neck brace.

    I do not know the difference between level 1 and the other levels.
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