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ACDF C6 and C7

tigerbear17ttigerbear17 Posts: 38
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I will be having ACDF with fusion and cage plate purgery on Jan 11th. I am just wondering what the recovery will be like. I have a severe herniated disc C6+C7, there is also a ferr floating fragment, not sure what that is. I have had several MRI's, the doctor wanted to see if I healed with conventional treatments before considering surgery. I also have pain going down from my neck into my right arm and hand. Three fingers have been numb for months,thumb, index,middle fingers. I also have progressive weakness in this arm and hand. I am right handed, so this makes things diffucult. I have been going to my chiropractor twice a week since March. I have tried oral steroids, at home traction, pt, nothing helps for long. My neurosurgen say's if I don't have this surgery I may loose the use of my arm and hand or worse. I do hope this surgery helps, and that the recovery is not too bad. Any help or advise would be appreciated. Thanks, Karen


  • If you explore the site, you will find out a lot about recovery. My surgeon basically said the surgery will prevent the problems I had from getting worse.

    Your doctor's office should be able to walk you through the surgery and recovery. Length of hospital stay varies depending on the extent of the surgery, your recovery, and your surgeon. You are only having 1 level, so hopefully it won't be too bad. You may have a sore throat and have some difficulty eating. Just be patient and take small bites.

    Look on the site for information of what to do before the surgery, and what to have to help afterward. My favorites were a recliner and a grabber.

    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.
  • Hi I had a one level fusion, I was off work for 2 months (I have an active job in a restaurant). I am 6 months post op and starting to feel a lot better. I am glad I had the operation. I felt much worse pre op than I did post op at any point. If you have any specific questions please let me know!
    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
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Remember we are all different and this is my experience. Upon waking from surgery the god awful crushing pain in my arm was gone!!! Although my arm was weak , it did take a few months to get full strength back. The first week of recovery was nothing but rest. After that I was walking daily and back to work within 4 weeks. The hardest part of recovery for me was getting comfortable enough to sleep. Make sure you have plenty of straws, I couldnt live without them during my recovery. You will more then likely have a mild sore throat the first week so plan on eating soft foods. Good luck and if you have any questions ask away!
  • Will I be in any kind of crevical collar after my surgery ??? I am only having one level fusion. I am having a fusion and a cage plate. On my information form the doctor, it say's I might be given a soft collar. I am a clutz, so I want a collar!! I tripped over a rock, this is what did all the damage !!! I am afraid if I don't have a collar to restrict my movements, that I might hurt myself. I am my own worst enemy sometimes !!!
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    Only you and your doc can work out whether you'll have a collar or not, but you can request it. Many doctors now don't require collars after a 1 or 2-lvl ACDF (even some with a 3-lvl) because they don't want the muscles to atrophy with lack of use. I had a hard collar for 4 weeks after my ACDF, but it was a 3-lvl, then a soft one for 8 more weeks, and I had no muscle atrophy problems.

    The issue I see is that your surgery is at C6/7 which is the hardest level to fuse. That's because the C6/7 moves every time you move your head. My C6/7 took longer to fuse than the two above it for that very reason. So I see no reason why you shouldn't have a soft collar if you request it. It's also a good reminder not to move your head too much post-op while you're fusing - sometimes we tend to forget as we get better and feel closer to normal during recovery.

    Take care and good luck on your surgery. Oh, btw, like many others, I had severe arm symptoms before surgery and they were completely gone post-op. That was a miracle for me.

  • I am almost 3 weeks post-op for my ACDF C6-7. The numbness in my fingers went away about a week after my surgery. My OS does not believe in the cervical collar except for when I am riding in a vehicle, so I wear a soft collar then & only then. I am glad too because it makes my neck stiff & sore after wearing it awhile. Every surgeon has different opinions on the collars, my first fusion I had to wear a soft collar 24/7, & I grew to hate that thing!
    I am not allowed to lift anything over 5lbs & I cannot drive until at least Jan 12th. My OS would not allow me to travel the 6hrs required to go home for Christmas either. He said riding in a vehicle is the absolute worst thing.
    I was only in the hospital one night & was given a pain pump & catheter. No getting out of bed at all except for the last few hours before being released. Swallowing was very difficult at first, my throat was sore for more than a week & even now I still feel like I have a huge lump in my throat. You will get tired of eating soup, pudding, & jello. I know I did. I drink lots of hot tea & cocoa. Make sure you get bendy straws, those come in handy.
    I am surprised at how far I can turn my head from side to side, but I have a difficult time looking up. My pain has improved a lot since the first few weeks, boy I was taking my pain meds & muscle relaxers every 3 to 4 hours at first. I'm doing a lot better now, trying to wean myself off of them completely, but not ready to do that yet. It's too soon for me.
    If you have any other questions let me know. Since I just had the surgery done everything is still very fresh in my mind.

    ACDF C5-C6 01/2002
    ACDF C6-C7 12/2011
    Prognosis: Permanent nerve damage in hands/arms, all treatment options exhausted-- lifetime CPP
  • Thank's for all the advise. My surgen is a neurosurgeon. I am getting a bit nervous about the surgery...I always do this when it get's close to the surgery date :( I am just trying to get everything I can think of done around the house before my surgery. It's jusy my hubby, me and 4 cats here. My hubby will take a few day's off from work to take care of me postop. I have the recliner, reck rolls, and a wedge pillow all ready. Surgery is nothing new for me, I have had 4 knee surgeries in the past 3 years, and it's still not fixed !!! I walk with a cane and can't bend or starighten my knee...it's stuck !!! I am in constant pain form the knee as well as my neck, arm and hand/fingers. The pain I had in my neck at first made me almost not feel the knee pain. When this first started with my neck, the pain was off the charts !!! With treatments, the pain has come down to about a 5 or so, this is what I also have painscale in my knee. I take muscle relaxers, anti inflammatorys, and narcotic pain relivers daily for my knee. These meds also help with my neck pain too. I am a mess :) So any advise or help I cam get form anyone will be a BIG help. Thanks again, Karen
  • Thank's for all the help and advise !!!
  • Hey Karen, all I have is hubby & one cat! Similar! Hubby planned on taking off 2 days after my surgery, but turns out I was just fine by myself. He got me settled in bed, had everything I needed all set up, & he went to work. He was only a phone call away. He called me every hour to check on me, but I did fine. I was able to get myself to the bathroom & to the fridge for jello or pudding. I was surprised how well I did all by myself. Your situation may be different, however, with your knee & all.
    My only regret was not requesting a soft collar to wear on the way home from the hospital. It was a 30 minute drive & it was VERY painful. Every bump in the road was terrifying. I was in tears by the time I got home.
    I was so nervous before my surgery it felt like I had butterflies in my stomach. I have also had several surgeries prior so I knew what to expect, but I was still really nervous. I kept myself busy though, cleaned the whole house from top to bottom, got all the groceries I knew I would need after the surgery, got my hair done, etc.
    Trying to think of other things to help you in preparation for your surgery. I am just so glad I had it done, I was in so much pain before, it felt like a knife was stabbing my shoulder blades, I could barely use my arms/hands, & my arm felt like it was pulled out of the socket. All that is gone now, yay!
    Let me know if you come up with anything else you have questions about, like I said, I'm only 3 weeks post-op, so everything is still very fresh in my mind!

    ACDF C5-C6 01/2002
    ACDF C6-C7 12/2011
    Prognosis: Permanent nerve damage in hands/arms, all treatment options exhausted-- lifetime CPP
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