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3 level cervical fusion - 8 days post op update

San1662SSan1662 Posts: 28
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I thought I would give a update on my C4,5 - C5,6 - C6,7 cervical fusion. To give a little background on my condition, I had bone spurs removed C-4,5 and C5,6 from the back side of neck on June 4 2011 and when I woke from surgery my right arm was very weak that I could not move it. My hand and fingers were ok. It was not like that before the surgery. Doctor said he had seen this before and the nerves didnt like to be messed with and should get better with time. I went to PT for 30 visits and my right arm got about 50% better and just seem like it stopped at that point and didnt get any better. Then it started to get weaker down to around 25% with pain and muscle spasms returning plus pain in my right shoulder area.
My surgeon ordered a Mylegram with dye and a Nerve study of my arm to see what was going on. My surgeon said that he didnt see anything on the mylegram to pinpoint the cause and sent me for a second opinion to make sure he didnt miss anything. After the second surgeon looked at my MRI he said I still had bone spurs pushing on some nerves and I needed a 3 level fusion to take care of this and maybe get my arm back.
Now here we are 8 days postop. I had bone taken from my hip which it hurts a little but not to bad and was ordered a Aspen hard collor to wear for 6 weeks. I also will be getting a bone stimalater next week at my first check up.I still see no change in my right arm but it is still early yet and I have faith. I have been sleeping in my recliner off and on but for the last 2 nights I have tryed the bed but still not sleeping but 2 to 3 hours and back to the recliner.
I am sorry for dragging on but just needed to talk about it. I have been reading alot of posts on here for information and thought I would post mine. Thanks everyone for all the information it has helped me alot.


  • Hi Sandy, I'm sorry you've had to go through this for the 2nd time, I hope your symptoms go away permanently and you can be through with any further surgeries. I'm on day 11 postop C5-C7 ACDF from cervical myelopathy and bone spurs, severe narrowing, no cerebral spinal fluid at C5. I too am going from the couch to recliner to regular bed trying to get comfortable, I haven't slept more than 2 hrs. without having to change beds to walk around the house in the middle of the night. I'm still having lots of neck, upper back and shoulder muscle pain still but from what I've read time will tell and the nerves have to heal after being compressed for so long. Hang in there, I just wanted to let you know others are going through the same kind of thing you are and can relate. I hope you start to feel better,
  • Thankyou Meg for the reply. I hope you get better soon and I will be on here on and off if you need someone to talk to. Hopefully time will heal us all and we can enjoy life once again.
  • Hello, I wanted to give a update on how my surgery is going. The pain in my throat is almost gone, I have been eating about anything I want now. I am still having some pain in the shoulder area plus some pain and muscle spams in my right arm. Hip pain from the gragh has calmed down some. My right arm weakness is still there but I havent really tried working it alot till I see the surgeon Friday for my first check up. I am still wearing the hard collor while I am up walking around and in the car. Sleeping has still been a problem wtih only getting around 3 hours in the bed, waking up to pain and stiffness in neck and shoulder area before going to the recliner for maybe another hour of sleep.
    I guess I am doing ok because it is still early in the healing process and I know it takes time to get back to normal. I hope everyone is doing good to and I will be updating again after I see the doctor Friday.
  • Hi again Sandy...Your surgery was more extensive than mine, I had my C5-C7 ACDF 14 days ago...I too have my 1st checkup on Friday. Our nights sound similar at this point..I finally went from the recliner a few nights ago back to my bed and am now getting at least 4 hrs. of straight sleep before I wake up and go to the couch and then it's all about finding some position that doesn't cause pain. Those first minutes after waking up are still very painful with the neck and upper back muscle pain. My throat pain too is almost gone, sore still but I can at least eat regular food again. A disconcerting thing that started yesterday with me is some right foot and toe numbness/tingling, I hope it goes away and is just part of the healing process. Question for Friday...Glad you're doing OK.
  • Hello again, just wanted to give another update on my 3 level cervical fusion. Its been 16 days now and had my first doctors app. Friday. I seen the PA and she removed my staples that I had in my neck and hip area. I have some redness at my hip and she wants me to put heat on it 10 mins. and then cold 2 mins. She said it could be some fluid in there and this would help my body absorb it plus she gave me some antibiotics to help too. I return to the doctor on the March 21st to have a xray to check hardware and fusion. The PA wants me to keep wearing the hard collar till I come back on the 21st.
    I am still having muscle pain in my shoulders and weakness in my right arm, I have noticed a little bit more of ROM in my arm so maybe its coming around. My sleep pattern is still messed up,waking up at all times of the night. I just think this will get better with time. I did get my Bone Growth Stimulator Friday and have to wear it all day. It is small and clips on my side like a cell phone with 2 pads that stick to the back of your neck. I dont even feel it when its on. I guess thats about it for now. I will update again if there is anything major or after my doctors app. on the 21st.
  • Hi Sandy. I'm 104 days post op from a 3 level ACDF. I can relate to what you are experiencing but it does get much much better. I had spurring, spondylolethesis, 3 herniated discs and stenosis so they fused c4-5, c5-6, and c6-7. Had the sleep problems but that wasn't anything new. I slept in my recliner for 60 nights straight and then used the bed. I have lumbar problems also, so the recliner is not a stranger for sleep for me. I should mention I take trazadone for sleep on a regular basis which I think helped alot. But i would frequently wake up as well but would doze back.

    My pain was adequately controlled with percocet every 4 hours the first 30 days and was totally off meds at 70 days. I quite a bit of right arm pain post op (more than I had before surgery) and weakness. I did alot of self massage during those first few weeks (trigger point style) and now my arm is pain free. Strength seemed to come back naturally without any therapy starting at about day 60.

    My biggest surprise was my voice. I don't know if you are still having problems (doesn't sound like it) but I was quite swollen so my voice was at a whisper for a full 2 months. The last 30 days it seemed like I could "feel" the metal plate and screws behind my esophagus but my doctor kept encouraging me to give it time. As usual he was right. The last week or so I can't feel anything now.

    I am so thrilled with my outcome. My primary problem was occipital headaches (gone completely), right arm weakness (gone completely), stabbing between my shoulders (gone partially), and the dropsies (gone partially). I still have soft tissue pain in my neck but I think that goes with my underlying diagnosis which is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Now that I have no restrictions, I can resume my normal stretching exercises which help.

    So, I hope my words of encouragement give you the hope. I have decided to go ahead and have this same surgeon do my lumbar area where I have had such significant pain for 20 years that I am now wheelchair bound. I'll have a 2 level fusion done on April 5th. Who knows, I may be in a marathon yet. Good luck!

    P.S. I dressed up my Aspen collar with blings for fun. It made everyone smile including me!
  • for the words of encouragement. I know its going to get better and time will tell. I am trying to stay busy to keep my mind occupied, I get bored quick so hopefully I will get over this hump in the road and be back to my old self again. Good luck on your up coming surgery.

  • Hello,
    This is my 4 week update. I went for my postop doctor appointment today and had xrays done of my hardware in my neck. The doctor said it looked good but was still early to tell if there is fusion or not. He had me switch to the soft collor and use the hard collor only if I needed it. I am still using the bone stimulator 12hrs aday for how long he didnt say. I ask the doctor about returning to work at 6 weeks and he said that he wanted to do another xray by then and I couldnt be moving my neck all over the place if I did go back. I told him he could put some restrictions on me so I could at least go back and do something to start making some money. I will be starting PT next week for my arm weakness so hopefully that will help get it going again. It is still at around 60% use. I am still having some pain in my shoulders but it is not all that bad as was before. I still feel like that something is in my throat and I know it is coming from the hardware in there so maybe I will get use to it and it will go away. I am still having trouble sleeping. I dont have trouble going to sleep, just staying asleep is the problem. Thats about all I know for now and I hope what I have posted will help someone that is having some of the same problems I have had. I will update again at 6 weeks to let you know about xrays and going back to work.
  • to sandy doctors did two surgery on my neck and now need to do one more do not know what to do
  • I've had MRIs mylogram (oh so painful) Ct scans therapy shots etc etc etc. Ive been told I have severe stenosis in both my neck and lumbat spine. I was told that if I don't have surgery (especially on my neck) I will become paralyzed. My main concern is that I'm 75 years old. Another concern is that I would have to spend 5 or 6 weeks in rehab. Does this make sense to all of you who have gone through it. Or should I get one or two more opinions. Anyone know of a good neurosurgeon in the Chicago area.
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