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Surgeon is planning to use Hardware - good idea?

nae919nnae919 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am having ACDF surgery on my C6-7, huge herniation, apparently it is calcifying. Dr is planning to use plates, screws. Sounds barbaric. Is the the norm or can i request no plates/screws? He is planning to use cadaver bone.


  • Sounds normal to me :)

  • Yep...normal for a fusion which sounds like what he'll be doing.

    It does seem barbaric or bionic but either way, the material is meant to keep the 2 vertabrae aligned until the bones (C6 & C7) fuse together. The cadeaver bone will likely be mixed with some of your own bone they shave from the lamina when they make room to clear the disc material.

    I know, Too Much Info.

    And, before you ask...they typically leave the hardware there even after the bones fuse.

    Ask your surgeon to explain the operation again and bring along friend or family member to listen too. It's very overwhelming.
  • Hardware and screws are included in the price of the surgery, just an extra bonus. It's also meant to be a part of your body for the rest of your life, unless you have problems which is rare.

    I went through a metal detector for the first time since my lumbar surgery (I'd been through one after my ACDF) which includes two rods and some screws and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't set off any alarms. Woohoo. But I had my Stryker card ready just in case.

    Good luck.
  • Very normal..... It is like an internal cast, you won't have to wear a hard collar very long after surgery (if at all for a one level).

    I have a Titanium cage with bone growth material plus bone shavings from my vertebre, 4 screws and a plate over the front.
    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

  • The hardware is what holds your neck still while your vertebrae fuse together.

    The use of hardware has really helped spinal fusion surgery to be more successful and speed up the recovery since it has been used.

  • Echoing what everyone else said, it's normal. I am filled with titanium......not a biggie.

  • Yep. All normal. My MIL had it done just as you are and she had the same type of injury right where yours is at as well. She did wear a collar for a few months afterwards.

    When is your surgery?

    Keep us posted how you are doing :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • I am full of hardware (all titanium). It is what holds things together til the bone fuses. I have a lovely selection of cages, a plate and a nice bolt from my pelvis to my spine. Just goes with the territory. Good luck and keep us posted.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I am 8 days since ACDF on C6-C7, the surgery went fine. My HR during the night went down to 37bpm, down from the 50bpm in recovery. they kept checking on me all night. I ate a little for breakfast and immediately threw up on one of the docs (He didn't come back...).

    Sleeping and swallowing are the challenges right now. I don't sleep well yet (all propped up on a number of pillows). Swallowing is still something I have to be careful with.

    Dr prescribed Calcium and D3, i already take D3 but Calcium is something I don't get a lot of and will make it a point to ensure I take calcium while I am healing.

    I am going to start the treadmill walking in a day or two. Looking forward to it and to getting back in the pool (water aerobics w/ neck brace on). I hope to get to running soon after i am allowed. I also plan to do light gym activities until complete healing (5 months I believe). After that, hope get back to my intense gym workouts and get ready for next years Triathlons.

    I really appreciate hearing the words of support from everyone, thank you!!
  • Sounds like your surgery went well.

    I assume you're female, since men tend not to be so impacted with calcium deficiency. Get a good multivitamin, geared towards women, and add more calcium laden foods to your diet.

    You'll enjoy pool therapy. I loved it post-op from lumbar fusion. It's great, but getting out of the pool after, sticks. Boy do you feel gravity come back in a hurry. ;-)

    On the treadmill keep it flat, no incline. I'm not sure how much you'll feel the bouncing since you're cervical. But running on anything you can feel if you're lumbar. If I run out on the street I feel the screws and rods with every step. I've given up on running, since I never cared much for it. Hopefully you'll be lucky and it won't bother you. Triathlon huh, pretty hardcore. Go for it.
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