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ACDF with titanium cages???

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I have been recommended to have a 2 level ACDF fusion. :SS

I have clicked into research mode (if I wasn't already!) and am hoping to hear other's experiences.

The neurosurgeon has said that he will use two titanium cages in place of the two discs. I'm pretty sure that he said he wouldn't use a plate or bone graft because the cages would hold the spine in place and my bone would grow through the holes in the cages. I'm pretty sure that he said that I wouldn't need to wear a collar.

He said I would be in hospital for 2-4 days, would take about 5 weeks to get over the surgery and incision, not be able to drive for at least 6 weeks, would need 3 months off work and that it would take 6 to 12 months to know how successful the surgery would be.

I am particularly interested to read of other spineys who have had ACDF, especially with titanium cages.

Looking forward to hearing from you (I think!)



  • Excellent!

    I have heard good thing about the cages. I am sure you will have a great surgery and fantastic fussion =D>

    I don't have cages. I have a plates & 6 screws my NS used some wafer things (forget what they are called, were to be absorbed while the fussion took).

    Do you have the date yet?

    Good Luck & Feel Better :)


  • thanks for your encouraging answer. :)

    I don't have a date for surgery. I'm thinking about it! Still trying to get my head around it.

    I have another consult with a different neurosurgeon towards the end of April, so I think I'll wait until after that to decide. That consultant and his registrars have been keeping an eye on me for the last year, so they have something to compare to see how things are deteriorating. I think that I am slowly getting worse, and my physiotherapist agreed with that this evening.

  • I have a titanium cage, but I also have a plate and 4 screws!

    I am not sure if I am fused yet, I have more x rays in may!
    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
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    What was the question?

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Hello, I have had 2 spinal surgeries, the second to correct the first. The first was on level c6-c7, acdf with a cage, four hole clip and 4 screws. The cage (in my case) did not work and the bone never fused. After complaining for more than 10 months, I went to another doctor bring my MRI's from the previous doctor and told me the bad news that not only was the first surgery unsuccessful, I also should have had it done on the level above. So finally after pain management treatments, physical therapy and other treatments, I had the second surgery, removing the cages and adding a larger 6 hole titanium clip. It appeared to be successful until on day 3 I suddenly could not swallow, the retractor had hyper extended my esophagus and partially paralyzed my vocal cords. Be extremely careful when you talk to any doctors about this procedure, it is an easy solution for the doctor with less than a 50% success rate. I still have paralysis on my left shoulder and arm, and after the 2nd surgery still have trouble speaking for long periods of time and turning my head to the left. Sorry to be so gloomy but I wish I would have had more facts going in..

  • I have a titanium plate and screws from my ACDF and have not had any problems. In my opinion, the surgeon you choose is the key to a successful surgery. After you find the one you feel most competent, you need to place trust in them. As you know already, there are risks involved, but that's the chance we all take. If you know you are in good hands, then the rest shouldn't be a problem. When is your surgery scheduled for?
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I had the cages used on my 4th surgery, along with stem cells hoping for a fusion. The surgery failed for me. The only thing that finally allowed my cervical to fuse was plate, rods and screws to stabilize.
  • I had the titanium cage and screws and I believe plastic spacers. By 3 months I was making good progress fusing and fused by 6. Because it was a 4 level it was a rough go at first, but I made progress day by day. I still have pain but it is somewhat diminished. I get pain spikes from nerve pinched in my shoulder blade from inflammation or in my neck and shoulders when I'm stressed.

    I really trust my surgeon, so I was comfortable with going with the extensive surgery.

    Best wishes,

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Hi Jelly,

    I just wanted to wish you luck - as you know I am a lumbar case and (touch wood) not cervical so I can't offer any experience.

    Don't forget that these surgeons all seem really optimistic with how long you will be off work - I remember last time you had problems so just make sure you are right this time before you go back Sorry, nag over! ;)

    I hope that you can find a solution that works for you. Loads of luck!


  • thanks for your comment and advice.

    I felt very emotional at the appointment after he had said surgery. So much so that I couldn't really talk or ask questions. I was just stunned that I was in this position again. Even though I knew that it was very possible that he would say this, it made me feel numb.

    He even mentioned that I also have cord compression from the back of my neck, so he may need to do further surgery from the back afterwards! When I asked about adjacent disc disease as my neck is very degenerated, he said that other levels could go and need surgery in the future. I knew that, but it was horrid to actually hear it from a neurosurgeon. He said he wants to start by doing 2 levels from the front and we'll see how that helps first.

    He did say 3 months off work, which seems longer than a lot on here after ACDF.

    I am putting it all on a back burner at the moment. He did say that it wasn't urgent, and as I have an appointment towards the end of April, we will wait to have that and see what they say. That neurosurgeon (and registrars) have been watching me for a year (every 6 months), so they will be able to tell how quickly things are getting worse. My appointment last week, he did say that he couldn't tell how quickly I was deteriorating as it was the first time that he had seen me.

    I have been having problems at work too, which have meant a meeting with Union representation. That meeting was this week, and I feel so much more secure in my job now. How are you getting on at work?

    Thanks for the good wishes xxx

  • Hi; my surgery twin.

    Happy and sad for you reading what you will have to go thru.
    But hoping that solves your pain, and there wont be any more surgeries needed.

    I've had 2 cervical fusions in the 90's, but my NS used my bone from the hip, so i cant give any advice toward the cages in the cervical region.

    Anyway from my experience thru this the cervical surgeries were a lot easier to deal with and recover from.
    But thats just my experience, everyone is different, so my very best to you and hoping the doctor can do everything in this upcoming surgery.
  • Great to hear from you.
    How are you doing in your recovery now?

    From reading here, I had always believed that a cervical fusion was easier to recover from. I asked this neurosurgeon that question, and he said not really! (Not what I wanted to hear.) He said that I would be more mobile but that I would be very tired for a while and have strong pain in my neck and across my shoulders in addition to a sore throat and pain and difficulty when swallowing and maybe a deep voice.

    In a way, the fact that he told me all about the problems with my neck and the recovery, it makes me feel that at least he is being up front with me. My last surgeon painted a very rosy picture that was not very accurate. I am glad that I had read so much on here before my lumbar fusion, because it gave me a much better picture of what to expect. In fact I was pleasantly surprised as I had expected the worst. If I had believed the surgeon, I would have had a nasty shock!

    Keep healing blazer!

  • it looks to me like you have far more than just a cage in there!

    How are you feeling now? Better than before surgery?

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