Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Facing ACDF 3 Level and Scared

cchancellorccchancellor Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello All,

I have "moderately severe DDD", C4, 5 and 6. Since a Saturday evening in 2009 after cleaning windows on a beautiful sunny day. Relatively healthy and working as a massage therapist and bookseller. After crippling pain in neck and arms, did several doses of prednisone (which only made me crazier). Several steroid shots, never lasting longer that a month. After my rock-star surgeon recommended a acdf 3 level, I had severe anxiety. Everything I enjoy involves use of my hands, i.e. playing piano, making pottery, writing, massage... I did not want to endanger esophagus/trach, as I also have acid reflux as well as some esopageal trauma. So I went with cervical foraminotomy right sided, c5 and c6. As though that was less invasive.
The surgeon reported immediate "pinkening" of nerves, and I experienced 80 - 90% relief...for a few months.
Of course I was hoping for a longer respite.
The symptoms returned with a vengeance, plus neck pain and headaches, 11 months later.
Now, I have had 3 surgical opinions. Vascular studies which say I have no circulation issues. And the neurologist telling me this can no longer be treated medically.
So I have reached the inevitable. jumped thru the hoops of bmp, Peek, autograph...
Picked a surgeon who looks me in the eye and tells me not to worry.
I haven't worked in over a year. I am at high stress, yet trying to let go...
and be responsible.
Sorry for the length.

c4,c5,c6 herniations with osteophytes and stenosis;
l4,l5 minor herniations repaired with time and exercise.


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find others whom have had a 3 level ACDF. I myself am 4 levels. Sounds like you have done your homework which is so important. Most people spend more time picking a toaster than they do a surgeon. NO one can every tell anyone when surgery is the right for them it is a very personal choice to make. But when your quality of life is no longer and going down hill fast you have to take the leap of faith to try and change that course. What type of bone grafting material will they be using? With multi-level fusions it is harder for them to fuse. So the bone grafting does matter.

    We have a thread at the top of the surgery forum that is very detailed on post surgery must haves, while some of it pertains to those with lumbar surgery it does cover cervical surgery as well. Also in the FAQ section at the top of the page you will find a link to 38 questions to ask a spine surgeon. You might wan to take a look at it, and see what you can answer on your own, and those you can't answer you might want to ask here or ask your surgeon.

    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.
  • Chancellor,
    Just want to jump in and say hello. I want to tell you how my c3 to c7 post and anterior fusion with instrumentation has gone since it was done 12/19/11.

    I'm not going to sugar coat this serious of a procedure, the first 6 weeks for me was tough both in and out of the hospital. This is not a procedure you want to rush into.

    Now that being said let me give you a bit of good news. I started my pt 2/25/12 and got rid of the neck brace at that time as well. I started back to work last Monday and worked all week and while it was a bit difficult it got better each day as I got stronger.

    The right shoulder/arm and hand pain I had before the surgery is all but gone at this point and now it is the nerves that are in their "healing process". I am quite pleased with the progress as I was frantic only a few weeks ago. The doctor told me to be patient and with time it gets better. And he is correct, everyday I'm gettting a little stronger and feeling like myself again.

    I have started playing my guitar, even took it with me to work to practice at night. In just one week of activity along with doing my pt exercises my rom has improved by 20% and the strength in my right arm has is now equal to my left. (I'm right handed)

    So, when you consider your options keep in mind there are success stories, I feel now like I made the right decision and have nothing but a positive outlook going forward.

    The key is to get a few opinions from doctors and completely understand what to expect all the way through the process.

    I hope this helps and gives you a little hope. Take care and good luck!
  • My first post so bare with me. I had 3 level ACDF on Feb 2 2012. I had severe pain in my left bicep, pain in shoulder and upper back. Arm was numb most of the time. I had trouble for years but I did not want to have surgery. Took pain meds for over a year and celebrex as well. Did the shots they did not work for me. Immediate relief but it did not last. Both of the last two specialists felt my only option for improvement was surgery. One pushed for it, one didn't. Funny thing is I chose the doctor to do my surgery that wasn't pushing. He doubled medication, got me through hunting season and then I gave in to have surgery. I had immediate relief from arm/shoulder pain. Also all numbness and tingling gone as well. I have gone back to work, light duty. I have been driving since three weeks out. I did have trouble swallowing after surgery. I was released the following day but felt heavily medicated. I did get to the point where I couldn't swallow at all and after another day I wound up back in the hospital for another 24 hours. After a heavy dose of steroids and IV's I was back out again.

    I now don't have trouble swallowing but I do have a choking sensation. Kind of hard to describe. My biggest trouble is not being able to sleep at night. Just can't seem to get comfortable in the bed. That's what brought me here searching for a remedy. Anyway I'm five weeks out of surgery and if I had a choice to do it again I would do it in a minute. I am not taking any pain meds at all. Actually no medicine at all. And at this point I feel the last two problems will get better with time. My left arm was the scariest for me, I lost most of my muscle mass, particularly the bicep but I feel that will get better in time. The best part of my surgery is that my arm feels normal. That was my biggest concern. Hope some of this info can help you.

    Good Luck
Sign In or Register to comment.