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Need Advice Please: Anterior/Posterior 3 level fusion

gerise33ggerise33 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
On 12/19/11 I had a Posterior and Anterior 3 level cervical fusion (C4-7) with bone taken from my hip. I have been watcching these posts for a couple of months now and haven't seen a lot of posts on this type of surgery.
I have been in a lot of pain since the surgery which my doc says is normal. In the first 3 weeks after surgery I fell 3 times. Doc ordered a MRI with contrast and states it looked good-no damage done. He states he used plated in the fron, cages and rods in the back, and a total of 16 screws. It was determined that the falls were caused by my body's negative reaction to narcotic pain meds and Valium which were changed.
Anyway, this morning while I was home alone (I still have a hard time doing most anything) I couldn't find the remote for the TV. For those who spend time in front of the TV killing time, you can understand I was determined to find it. I knelt down and was searching everywhere. Well, again I fell on my hip where the graft was taken. Not only did that hurt but I also became brutaly aware of the pain in my neck. I realized that even with the hard color on I was turning my head everywhere looking for the remote. I don't have any pain going down my arms. But my neck is in a lot of pain. I have been taking it easy today but have still had to take more pain meds than before.
Please post any thoughts or advice. I am really interested in hearing from anyone who had incisions on both front and back for a 3 level fusion. With 3 levels, how long will I feel this bad? I was hoping to get back to work in 2 weeks.
And by the way, I have called the doc numerous times. He and his nurse are the best and have talked me through many crying spells. They remind me this was a major surgery and it will take time.


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Minus the hip bone, which Ive previously had on a prior surgery. From my experience my hip remained sore for almost 3 months before I could even lie on that side. You had 2 surgeries and healing is going to take time. From the cervical aspect that is a huge surgery. I went back to work after 4 weeks and even then I was not ready. I had no choice due to running out of FMLA time. The first few weeks were very rough for me and it seemed as if I was never going to get better, but with time I gradually began to feel human again. My surgeons advice for me was to walk and then walk some more. It did help with the shoulder and neck pain. From the posterior approach it really fires up the muscles and walking helps ( it helped me more then meds) Good luck and hopefully before you know you will start to begin to feel better
  • HI,
    I had that surgery C5-C7 both anterior and posterior, and I agree, that was a bitch! The front is no big deal, but the back is a whole other ball game. I was in such pain for the first 3 weeks...but then it slowly got better. This is a major surgery so don't try to rush it. I spent alot of time laying down... It's healed fine now - last dr visit said all 14 screws are tight - yahoo!
    I do notice however, that my shoulders get very tight whenever I am active. Dr said that weakness in the shoulders will always be there, as the neck can't do it's leveling pressure like it used to. But a massage works great, and basically I am good to go! But please don't rush this...it really does need time to heal and let your body adjust. Hang in there!
    Feel better soon!
  • I had anterior/posterior 3 level, plus some. It looks like it has been one month since your surgery, which is still very early in the recovery process for this type of surgery. The posterior approach is a beast for most of us. Did your doctor lead you to think you could be back to work in 2 weeks following such a major surgery? If so, he was VERY optimistic.

    How long are you supposed to wear the hard collar? Be sure to keep it on and follow his instructions.

    As for how long it will be before you feel better, I'm not a good one to answer that. We are all different, but in my situation I still fight through the pain every day, and it has been 3+ years since my 2nd surgery. My posterior muscles have atrophied and I struggle holding up my neck. Not that it will fall off, lol, but my muscles spasm severely when the neck is not supported. Once you are out of the hard collar, I would request some physical therapy, even if the surgeon says you don't need it.

    Good luck. Try to stay positive. It really does help to get through each day.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • My 6 week follow up got moved up a week because of difficulty swallowing. I have lost 16 pounds in the past 5 1/2 weeks. Doc says it has to do with the anterior portion of the surgery and will subside. Still having pain and muscle issues from the posterior portion of the surgery. My hip from the bone graft only acts up when I have tried sleeping lying down.
    Doc was very reassuring stating that I am doing well but have a long way to go. He wants me off work for 7 more weeks. I do need to work on that because I want to go back sooner.
    Pain varies from day to day. Can definitely tell when I have done too much. This past weekend is the prime example. Today is tough.
    Thanks for all the input. Any more advice is always welcome.
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