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SCARED! cervical surgery SUPPOSE to be 07-19-11

slippysslippy Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone!
I am 53 & scheduled for surgery in 5 days!! C 4-6. Had C 5-6 done 14 years ago & it did NOT fuse correctly. My vertabrae at level C 4-5 is 'sliding' around. My Dr. is going to put a plate & screws at 4-5 level & possibly 5-6. The plate at 5-6 is still not for sure, Dr. is gonna try to fuse that area with bone. I am SCARED SILLY!!!! I have put this off for the last year out of fear. Any similiar stories out there? Oh btw I did get THREE opinions!! (hoping for a different outcome ) BUT they all said the same thing.HELP!! Just hoping to hear some positive stories out there.




  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many here whom have had to have multiple spine surgeries including myself. I like you had a issue with my fusion in that it turned out to be psuedoarthrosis(false joint), and had to go back for revision surgery.

    It is natural to be scared of surgery, but I think you might find out the the nerves prior to surgery are actually worse than the surgery itself. With your older fusion did they not use hardware? Do you know if the surgery will be done anterior or posterior? If the other level needs to be redone, and there is hardware there, I would think to get to it the surgeon will need to remove it? The plates come in all sizes made to fit multiple levels. So saying you were having a three level fusion they would use one plate just a bigger plate not three small plates. Do you know what is wrong with your old fusion, when you say not correctly? If it was failure to fuse have you discussed using your bone so you won't run into that problem again?Do you know if you will be wearing a hard collar or soft collar post surgery?

    In the surgery forum at the top of the page is a list of post op things to have, which you might want to look at to be sure you have everything post surgery. Being I have had a total of 6 neck surgeries I can tell you they were all different, in the way of recovery. I always over planned for it, so It would make my return home much easier. Being I lived alone, I needed to make sure I had all my basis covered. I can tell you I did just fine on my own and that was with using my own bone. I do still have pain issues, as i suffered some permanent nerve damage, not from surgery, but from the condition itself.

    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 and keep us posted on how you do. Ask any question you need to know, and look forward to reading more of your post.

  • and welcome to Spine Health.
    There is lots of information here about various spinal conditions and lots of friendly people to share their experiences and offer support. You will find that there is nothing quite like talking to others who have been or are going through the same thing.

    So less than a week to go until your surgery. Very normal to be feeling 'scared silly'. Hopefully you will be saying after surgery, like many others here, that the anticipation was worse than the actual surgery.

    I agree with Tamtam that you should take a look in the FAQ section at the top of this page, where there is a great and very comprehensive list of useful items for after surgery. Don't be overwhelmed by it. The items there are for both cervical and lumbar surgery. Just reading it will give you some insight into the problems you may have after surgery.

    I haven't had cervical surgery, but from reading here, I think bendy straws are a must. Also lots of pillows, a grabber so you can pick things up without bending, and stock up with easy to swallow foods for the first couple of weeks; things like ice cream, yoghurt, soup etc.

    There have been lots of other cervical patients here who have come, had their surgery, been here for a while as they recovered and they have now left as they are back to their busy lives. The ones who stay are in the minority, and are the ones who have still got problems for some reason or another.

    Keep asking questions as you think of them. I personally found the help and support I received here really helped me to go into surgery more confident that I could cope with it. In actual fact, I had been prepared for the worst but hoped for the best. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I coped with it. I hope that you will find the same thing.

    Looking forward to getting to know you better. :-)

  • I had ACDF 4-5 on June 23rd, and the recover is going better than pre-surgery was!! I was so scared!!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Welcome to a site full of helpful people, and good information available. I had a long list of questions for doctors, their nurses, etc. to make sure I understood what would happen before, during and after the surgery. Having that information really helped me feel more comfortable with my decision. I did have 3 opinions. I had 4 levels done about 10+ weeks ago and I am recovering fine.

    As others above have said, feel free to ask questions. The surgery was not easy, but none are, but sometimes the relief of having it done and over with and pushing forward with recovery helps.

    Good luck.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Thanks everyone for your input. I am gonna try and get a little more specific, I have had 3 opinions from 3 neurosurgeons, ALL saying I need surgery. All 3 have said I needed a plate & bone. My surgery is to be ACDF C-4-6, Anterior. My first surgery 14 years ago at level C 5-6 also Anterior, the Dr. did NOT fuse with bone or anything. I am going in on THIS Tuesday 7-19-11. I will be in a Hard Collar after surgery. That being said I am SCARED & TERRIBLY STRESSED! I have asked LOTS of questions & got answers from Dr.'s & Nurses, BUT I would REALLY like to hear from people who have had this DONE NOT doint it. Things like range of motion after having hardware installed, pain after surgery, hard collar comfort /discomfort, HOW you lay down with a hard collar? ANY info anyone has to say is appreciated! I am aware that everyone is different & so are their experiences, (kind of like having babies, you hear easy stories & horror stories!)Thank you all, so glad I have found this sight. At this point I am not sleeping, not just from the pain but from the STRESS I feel. THANKS for reading & ANY info!
  • Good Morning,

    I have had 3 lumbar fusions and one cervical fusion thus far. All fusions have been with my own bone with the exception of my first lumbar. All fusions have taken including the first with cadaver. When I had my cervical fusion in '07, it was C5-6 and C6-7, a plate was used, and also screw and rods. I used a "Miami-J" collar and it's very stable. I was told I could take it off to eat, and sleep. I did not take it off to sleep for a coupkle weeks just because I was afraid to. When I finally did, it was okay. I did not lose much ROM, mostly looking up and down but not bad. Pain-wise, it was pretty tolerable, but keep up on pain meds because you don't want to just stop taking it because it pain can creep up a little......ease off of it. Remember the stool softeners as narcotics will bind you up!

    Any other questions, feel free to ask. BTW, I am going in again 7/25 for another double fusion (C3-4 and 4-5) so I'm doing it again, too!)

  • I have had numerous lower back surgeries, 3 fusions and a few other laminectomies.
    I started having terrible pain in neck and shoulder going to arm to middle fingers on left hand and sometimes right hand but no pain in right shldr or neck around 10 months ago but is getting bad.
    My PCP has me on 15mg oxycodone 3x daily and 10mg oxycontin 2x day. He sent me for mri and then to georgetown university neurologist Dr. Faheem Sandu.
    He said only way to decrease pain is with surgery, the rupture in C7 was severly impinging on spinal cord and the surgery is only option.
    I have tried accupuncture with no relief. Any non-surgical ideas or new meds?
    Thanx, skcsss
  • Hello!

    Welcome to Spine Health! Sorry to hear all you have gone through. I have been through lumbar fusions myself (3), and an ACDF (C5-6 and 6-7) and am having another one in two days (C3-4 and 4-5). To be honest, you will likely have these symptoms until the culprit disc(s) are no longer pushing into the cord. If the column is encroached enough, it could permanently cause issues. Truly sorry to be so blunt, and no, I'm not a doctor but I have been down this same road, and am still on it with you.

    Having said that, I hope you find relief and welcome to our community! :-)

  • We haven't heard from you since your surgery. I hope you are doing OK and well into the initial phases of recovery.

    Let us know how you're doing.
    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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