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ACDF

turnippptturnippp Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:53 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello,
I am new to this blog. I am a ACDF patient in Houston, TX.

I am looking at ACDF cervical surgery.

Would like to ask questions on post surgery recovery, How long recovery, Is it worth it to get this surgery? Do U see approvement post surgery?

Appreciate any current surgery patients in 2011 or 2012 please?

Thank U,

RW
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Comments

  • Welcome to the forum! How many levels are you looking at? I had a single level ACDF a little over 3 months ago and I will tell you that recovery is the hardest part of the surgery. I woke up from surgery virtually pain free and was so glad I decided to have it done. Also, in the first few weeks, you will have a very sore throat and will have difficulty swallowing and eating solid food.

    The most important part of recovery is to not overdo it! Recovery can take anywhere from 9 months to a couple of years depending on how bad the nerves were damaged and how many levels. I overdid it about 4 weeks ago and is still paying for it! Tomorrow I will be getting a TPI into my back to loosen up the knots I developed from hurting my back. Good luck and keep us posted! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I had an ACDF C6-7 w/cadaver bone-plate-screws and ACDR C5-6 with Neuro Monitoring on 4/18/11...

    First lets start by saying this was the best thing I ever did...I had constant pain(8/10)/burning/spasms that went down from the L side of my neck...down my L arm and basically made the arm useless...As soon as I woke up from surgery I could tell things were better already...sure there was a little pain(4/10)/mild burning/few spasms but was WAY better than before surgery...I was in constant agony that started in 12/09
    and continued to get worse over the next 16 months until I was basically useless...not able to be active as before...I am a 33 yr old active female who is not use to be down for long periods of time:(

    The first two weeks are the worst(as I was told by my Surgeon)...I felt really tired...had no appetite...and my throat hurt like you wouldn't believe from the esophagus be pulled over during surgery to reach my spine(Anterior Incision)...the incision was slightly sore...and it took me forever to get around the house as I was toodling not walking like normal:)

    I had a soft collar for the first two weeks that I had to keep on unless I was in the shower...just FYI I needed my Hubby to was my hair...I had to hold my head to make sure my neck didn't move while he scrubbed:)

    I was in the recliner for most of the first 2wks...I could get the most comfy in it...I had a table next to me with all my necessities...we had walkie talkies by us...one for me...one for the hubby...he took it with him every where he went in case I needed him...

    At my 2 wk check up most of my restrictions were lifted...I still have to wear my collar when in the car...sleeping...and while exercising which for now involves a mild 1 mile walk around the neighborhood...but I'm just ecstatic to be out of the house!!!

    I am 5 wks post-op today and have to admit I still tire easily like my surgeon said I would but he said I should perk up here in the next couple of weeks and to just sleep when my body wants to...it is healing...at my next appt on Thur we will be checking lab work just to make sure I'm not anemic...I am able to walk 1 mile but it feels better to me if I break them up into half mile walks instead of one whole mile at a time...I do still have mild burning in 3 spots of the L arm instead of down the whole arm...I have spams at times in the arm but it's normally me over doing it...the pain ranges from 4-6 in the arm which is WAY better than before and can be controlled better with meds...new things that I am experiencing is MAJOR tightness across the back of my shoulders...the surgeon stated it was because he had to stretch out C6-7 to get the Cadaver bone in cause I was bone on bone at the disc site...I have more headaches now...I'm assuming from the tightness and some knots in the same areas...muscles are in "guard mode"...sometimes stacking a couple of pillows on my lap and just laying my arms across them helps when I get spasms there...

    As for complete recovery time...that depends on the person...age...sex...health before surgery...how many levels are being done...and do you smoke...smoking inhibits bone growth if you have cadaver bone...

    That's all I can really think of unless you have some specific questions...I knew alot about the surgery(Cervical)going into it since I'm in the medical field...but was surprised at some of the "new" aches and "new" pains that came with the surgery even though my Surgeon did an awesome job not only talking to me and getting me mentally prepared but also talking with my Hubby about what to expect when I come home and some side effects of the surgery that I may not notice but for my Hubby to keep an eye out for...take care!!!
  • Hello - On June 13 I had acdf surgery on the C5, C6, and C7 discs. Before surgery my right arm was useless. It hurt in my neck, elbow, wrist, and all the way down to my thumb, pointer, and ring fingers. I had numbness and tingling in my hand and forearm. After surgery, my right arm did not hurt. It was still numb and tingly in areas, but the pain was gone. But, now there was/is discomfort in my left shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. The pain is not unbearable, but it is annoying. My neck hurts on both sides, but mostly on the left. It is a burning, prickling type of pain. It can get to the point I can not stand it. As for my arm, the more I use it, the more it becomes uncomfortable and more annoying. I take between 4-8 Tylenol a day. I can not take the pain meds or muscle relaxers prescribed because they started to make me throw up. I went to the doctor on Aug. 3 and he is setting me up with another MRI. I am afraid that it will not show anything. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Also, my voice is still soft and hoarse. The doctor says to give it another 2 months and if it is still the same, he will send me to an ENT. I am having difficulty choking on liquids and I can not burp. Sometimes a burp will escape, so I have to expect that. I can not make myself burp because it causes (sorry to be gross) regurgitation of what I have eaten or drank. I do have GERD and acid reflux and take previcid for that. I feel like there is a lump in my throat and have to try to clear it all the time. I can not cough well due to the lump and the pulling on my neck which makes it jolt and send pain down both arms. Has anyone experienced any of this, as well?
  • Yes, I have experienced most of the symptoms you described post ACDF. I had more pain in my left arm and hand than before the surgery for a while. I am having widespread back pain.

    I definitely had the throat and voice stuff you describe. Like you, I have GERD, and I have had esophogus issues. Very slowly I could eat more foods, and I can still choke on liquids sometimes. Feeling the lump in your throat is normal, but believe it or not, you kind of get used to it or the sensation diminishes over time. I enjoy singing in a chorus, and after the surgery I had little voice, and lost much of my vocal range. I went to an ENT. When they do the ACDF they move stuff in your throat around a lot and it takes time to recover. I had one vocal chord that just wasn't working like it should. A month later it continues to slowly get better. One thing the ENT suggested is that if you tilt your head forward a little it can make it easier to swallow, especially liquids.

    I hope this helps.

    KarenD
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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