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C6 - C7 FUSION

grahamkwggrahamkw Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have read some articles on here on this but still do not have a warm and fuzzy so to speak. My surgery is on the 12th of this month and some of these post have me a little freaked out. Alot of questions I still have that are unanswered. Any suggestions on what someone wish they had at home after the surgery? I coach baseball, when could I start going out and practicing? Pain killers usually don't work for me any suggestions. I think I have tried them all over the past two years, just nothing seems to work. So, I'm a little scared that after the surgery nothing will help with the pain. Any help would be greatful. Thank you for your time and support in advance.

Respectfully,

Kris
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Comments

  • I had 3 levels done 3 years ago. I'm very glad I did the surgery. I'm not able to do a lot of things I use to but I have little to no pain. My neck is not as flexible as it was before but it still continues to improve.

    I was an athlete before my surgery. The professional limits were one level could return to their sport. 2 level had restrictions and 3 level had to retire. You are having one level so chances are you will be back to your sport if you take good care of yourself. My recovery was slow due to how many levels I had done.

    Having satin PJ's was the most helpful thing to me. I had trouble turning over and getting out of bed. The slide the satin provided allowed me to get out of bed by rolling to my side and sliding off the bed. I wish I would have learned about satin PJ's from the start. I struggled to get out of bed for a bit.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I could'nt live without them,trust me you will dribble all over yourself if you don't. This was the main thing I made sure I had with all of my 5 cervical surgeries. A good pillow with good support. You will also need to have soft foods on hand for your first week home as swallowing is difficult in the beginning due to the intubation tubes used during surgery for anesthesia. Make sure you take your meds as prescribed to prevent the muscle spasms that you will have following surgery. This is caused by the position you are put in during the surgery so stay ahead of the pain. The most important thing you can do during recovery is WALK. It is proven that it reduces pain and muscle spasms you will have. Good luck and keep us posted
    Susan
  • Things you may need:

    Straws (or sippie cups)
    Lots of pillows
    A recliner (lazy boy chair)
    Button up shirts
    Soft foods
    Someone to help you with baths/showers

    It might be a while before you can go out and throw baseballs and swing bats, but I am sure you can go out and coach as long as you refrain from actually playing.

    I was off work for 2 months but wish I had taken 3 months off. I work as a restaurant manager in a very fast paced restaurant.

    Recovery is slow for me, but I am better off than I was pre op.
    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
  • Hi Kris,

    I am also having an ACDF this month, on March 21 at the C6/C7 level due to cervical myelopathy. My surgeon also thinks I might have OPLL, so we are having a CT scan the day before the surgery. I'm not really sure how that will affect my surgery though.

    I am counting down the days until surgery. My quality of life these last months has been in a steady state of decline. I have a hard time even getting out of bed or off the couch these days to do anything like housework or care for my 5 kids (including 18 month twins). I am having to do this without the help of pain medicines from the doctor. Just counting the days!

    I am worried about recovery as I am a graduate student who spends every bit of my free time on a laptop doing homework or research. If I were not unemployed, my job would also entail working on a computer constantly or walking outdoors on uneven ground usually carrying 25+ pounds of bulky equipment. I have presented signs of spinal cord compression for 5-6 months now, so I hope that does not mean my symptoms will never go away following surgery.

    Good luck and let me know how your surgery goes!

    Stay strong,
    Robin :)))
  • Hi Kris -

    The end of this month will mark 3 years since I had two levels fused in my neck, C5-6-7. My surgery wasn't elective. My injury was caused by trauma and the pressure on my spinal cord by one of the discs was so severe that my surgeon was worried about potential paralysis if I even had a bad fall. Even if I had a choice, however, I'd be telling you how glad I am that I had the surgery. The relief from the spine pain, which was unbearable, was immediate. I was able to go home the next day and function in my place pretty well without help. This is what I did to prepare:

    (1) I made sure that everywhere I would be walking in my place was clear of anything that I could trip or slip on (e.g., I tied up the ends of drapes, laid down extra bathmats in my bathroom so that I would have traction throughout).

    (2) As others said, I bought straws - the bendy kind.

    (3) I bought a ton of paper products so that I wouldn't have to do dishes for a while.

    (4) I went to the drugstore and bought a couple packages of tegaderm so that I would have it handy to cover the incision for showers.

    (5) I made jello, pudding, and other soft snacks in advance, and bought a bunch of soup and yogurt to have handy. I didn't end up needing to be easy on my throat, but some people expressed irritation after the surgery, so I had it on hand just in case.

    (6) Stool softener. Some people have trouble going to the bathroom after anesthesia. I didn't, but I had some Colace on hand just in case, so I wouldn't have to go get some.

    (7) Pillows to prop yourself up in bed to read or watch TV without having to crane your neck.

    I had to do a lot more to prepare for my lumbar surgery later that year. For this one, it was mainly resting. I wouldn't do anything sports-related until you have your follow up with your surgeon and he/she gives you the green light.

    That said, I overworried everything during my recovery - every time I felt a pain or jolted in any way, I was convinced I screwed up the whole thing. I didn't and I feel really good now. I definitely do not feel "normal," or like I did before I was injured, but I'm not in pain anymore. So, try to relax, get plenty of rest, eat well, and take care of yourself. Keep us posted on how it goes.
  • First off thank you for the replies, very helpful. I went and saw the doc for my pre-op yesterday. They will be doing ACDF C6-C7 of course. This is the thing though, I havent heard of until I went and saw him. I will be getting something called a LDR/ ROI-c implant. It looks like a little plastic thing with metal teeth on the top and bottom. No bone graph, plate, or anything else that I have read on here. Does anyone else no a little bit about this or has had it done to them. As always thanks for your support and time in advance. I will try and keep a daily log as long as no one gets mad at me for doing it on here.
    Also, I fly for the NAVY, anyone know when I can get back up in the air or know of any back door way to get up quicker.

    Respectfully,

    Kris


  • I haven't had experience of ACDF, but I do have experience of neck problems.
    I saw a neurosurgeon last week and he has recommended a 2 level ACDF at C3/4 and C4/5 for me due to cord compression.

    He said he would use a titanium cage and showed me a model of a cervical spine with one of these implants in place. He surprised me when he said that he wouldn't use bone graft, plate or collar. He said that the top and bottom of the cage has teeth that will bite into the vertebrae and hold it in place and that my own bone would grow through the holes in the cage to fuse my spine.

    I have posted a thread called ACDF with titanium cages?? in the hope that someone will appear who has had this same technique. I have done reading on the internet about it, and it does sound like it works!!

    I will certainly keep an eye out for your daily log after your surgery. No-one will get mad, we will enjoy following your recovery and those of us who are waiting for surgery will use it as a learning experience!

    As for when you can fly again, you will have to follow your surgeon's advice there.
    I have been told I will be off work as a Teaching Assistant for 3 months - but that is a 2 level surgery.

    Have you read the thread for ideas of items to help after surgery? It is at the top of the Back and Neck Surgery thread. Some of the items are for lumbar surgery, but it will give you lots of ideas of things that will be helpful. Also get your home prepared, with things that you use often at an accessible level (not high enough to make you reach and not to low to make you bend). Have lots of soft foods available in case you have problems swallowing or a sore throat. Bendy straws, a grabber to pick things up and laxatives!!! :jawdrop:





  • Well I have finally made it home. Went in on Monday and was supposed to be released on Tuesday (that did not happen). I woke up in the recovery room in alot of pain, stayed in there for about two hours until they got it under control. I got up to my room and everything felt right sort of. My right arm started killing me. Try to get me on an MRI table and couldn't do it. Went back up to my room gave me some more pain meds and tried it again. This is what I was told, when they removed the disc and went to file down the rest of the stuff a bone spur was missed. The implant (LDR) was pushed on top of it and then pressed again a nerve root and blood clots were in there as well. So just wanted to give an update on how my journey has gone so far. Any comments or suggestions are welcome and if you need anything for me to answer let me know. Take care.

    Kris
  • Well I have finally made it home. Went in on Monday and was supposed to be released on Tuesday (that did not happen). I woke up in the recovery room in alot of pain, stayed in there for about two hours until they got it under control. I got up to my room and everything felt right sort of. My right arm started killing me. Try to get me on an MRI table and couldn't do it. Went back up to my room gave me some more pain meds and tried it again. This is what I was told, when they removed the disc and went to file down the rest of the stuff a bone spur was missed. The implant (LDR) was pushed on top of it and then pressed again a nerve root and blood clots were in there as well. So just wanted to give an update on how my journey has gone so far. Any comments or suggestions are welcome and if you need anything for me to answer let me know. Take care.

    Kris


  • Sorry that things didn't go smoothly for you. I hope that your pain levels have remained under control since you have got home. How is your right arm now?

    What did they do about the missed bone spur and the compression on a nerve?

    Hopefully they will take care of everything and get you underway in your recovery.

    Feel better soon.

  • The next day they went back in there, took the old (new) implant out, shaved the bone spur or little chips they called to get it cleaned and put a new implant back in there. On top of that I was told I had some blood clots. He also said that he hasn't seen this in seven years that he has been doing this. I'm up now running a fever and my right arm is killing me. Don't know if this is normal after having to back in there twice in two days or what. Thanks for your reply, always nice to talkk to someone that know what you are going through.
    p.s. Anything missed spelled I'm on drugs, so sorry.

  • I had thought that they must have needed to go back in to deal with the bone spur and nerve compression.

    If you are running a fever, you should let your surgeon know as it might be a sign of infection.
    I suggest that you take your temperature to see how high it is, and phone your surgeon to let him know.

    You are very early days, and during this stage, people often have problems, but a fever could indicate something that needs the surgeon's attention. Best to let him make that decision.

    I suspect that all these problems are going to delay your recovery, but hopefully once things are dealt with, your recovery can get underway and you will have a good story to tell at the end. Be ready to have your patience tested!

    I bet you just want to be left alone to heal now.
    Take care,

  • Hi Kris -

    I'm so sorry that the surgery didn't take on the first shot, but I'm glad that they figured out what was going on right away so that they could go back in right away.

    I agree with jellyhall's comment that you should take your temperature and call your doctor if you have a fever. As jellyhall said, it might be a sign that your body is fighting off an infection, so your doctor should check it out.

    As for the pain, everyone is different, but it is normal to have some pain, some resurgence of pre-op symptoms, etc. while you heal. After my C5-6-7 ACDF, I occasionally had shots of pain running down my right arm (which was my pre-op symptomatic arm) and my right hand would feel like it was on fire. My surgeon told me that was normal and that it might even be good, because it might be a sign that my nerves were healing (I could barely feel my right hand at all by the time I went in for the surgery).

    I can tell you that I pestered the hell out of my doctor after my surgery. Everytime I felt something that made me uneasy or I wasn't sure whether I could or should do something, I emailed his medical assistant. You've just had a major surgery, so give yourself permission to be a bit needy and call or email your surgeon with questions. Peace of mind will help you rest, which in turn will help you heal. Take care of yourself.
  • It has been a little over a week and my right arm is still tingling and hurting. No fever though. I'm doing things I shouldn't be doing , but with four active kids in sports it is hard. Cleaning up around the house is even harder, but have to try and help the wife out. Don't want to feel hopeless. Sometimes I feel no pain at all so I think I can go back to normal, but after an hour or so Im hurting pretty bad. So yes I know I need to take it easy. One new symptom though. The center of my neck is starting to hurt, feels like where they put the implant. Wondering if that is normal just because it is something new in my neck. Also, I try and see how long I can go without the pain meds. Good idea, I don't know. I just don't like taking them. So, then I try to play catch up. Go for my two week check up on Tuesday. Hopefully I can take the dressing off and keep it off. Might sound dumb but I want to go back to work and start getting in my old routine think the doc will approve that. Also, has anybody taking that damn hard collar off and kept it off. That thing hurts and is a pain in the butt. Thanks for all the inputs, time and support as always.
  • I am 5 weeks postop from 3 level cervical fusion.I have weakness in my right arm with some pain and muscle spams but it is not to bad and starting PT next week. I am trying to get off the pain meds myself. I was wearing the aspen hard collar and my doctor switched me to a soft collar Wednesday but while in the hard collar I would wear it when I was riding in a car or just walking around. I would take it off while in my recliner with support on the back of my head. My doctor said that would be fine. You might as your doctor and see what he thinks about that. I still having some pain in my neck and shoulder area but it too is getting better. Hope this helps some.
  • Just found the forum and had my follow up visit today, 3.5 weeks. I had 5-6 fused with a titanium plate with a bone graph. I had no pain the morning after surgery, felt great, wasn't even on pain meds!! The next morning I felt like I got hit by a truck, no major pain, just sore everywhere, and hard to swallow. I took pain meds that day, but haven't taken them sense. I didn't even have pain at the incision, incredible. My recovery is going great, but I can't go back to work because of the lifting limits, so waiting. I had a pain in my left shoulder for 10 years when I sat too long and it is gone now. I had ruptured the disk and it was pushing on my nerves and spinal column, causing intense pain in my right shoulder, and numb index finger. My index finger is still numb, but I can live with that if I'm out of real pain.
    Sorry if others surgery didn't go as well, I feel very fortunate at this point, just waiting for the good to go to get back to life and trying to take it easy.
    I have the Aspen Vista collar and it is comfortable, I have great range of movement.
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,592
    Someone earlier in the thread was asking about a cage.

    You can see my two levels of cage in my avatar (picture) ....posterior rods and plate also.

    The cage can be to replace missing disc(s) or in my case two removed vertabrea (vertebrectomies)vs. discectomy ...

    Other questions?? Yes still in pain and poor range of motion.

    d

    Welcome to S.H. Kris and Urban ..... Sorry we had to met like this.
    hang in there!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)
    My Story  - Click below
    http://www.spine-health.com/forum/discussion/44804/pain/neck-pain-cervical/long-and-winding-road
    I am not a doctor nor have I ever played one on TV.  Therefore any comments made are based on my experience.
  • Sorry for the late response but have been busy. Doc says everything looks good on the x-rays. Gave me the bone growth stimulator, so using that daily for 30 mins a day. My right arm in still tingling really bad and my triceps on the right side is still hurting. I thought the surgery was supposed to stop this stuff. I can left 20lbs now instead of 10, awesome. I can take showers now too. Does anybody know if that growth stimulator really works and is worth the time. Thanks again for all the replies and it is great chatting with people that are going through the same issues.
  • Sorry for the late response but have been busy. Doc says everything looks good on the x-rays. Gave me the bone growth stimulator, so using that daily for 30 mins a day. My right arm in still tingling really bad and my triceps on the right side is still hurting. I thought the surgery was supposed to stop this stuff. I can left 20lbs now instead of 10, awesome. I can take showers now too. Does anybody know if that growth stimulator really works and is worth the time. Thanks again for all the replies and it is great chatting with people that are going through the same issues.
  • Hi,

    I just had an acdf at the c6/c7 level and corpectomy on the c7 vertebrae. The entire vertebrae was taken out and replaced with a titanium cage. Then the bone was crushed and stuffed inside the cage as the donor bone for fusion. So my question is, what is the difference between a corpectomy and a vertebrectomy, if any?

    Thanks!
    Robin
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,592
    Corpectomy = removal of part of the vertebral body
    Vertebrectomy = removal of the entire vertabrea.

    I think - but as always ... ask your doc and do your research.

    Regards,

    d
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)
    My Story  - Click below
    http://www.spine-health.com/forum/discussion/44804/pain/neck-pain-cervical/long-and-winding-road
    I am not a doctor nor have I ever played one on TV.  Therefore any comments made are based on my experience.
  • Metalneck,

    After "googling" it ;-), I think you are correct. My doctor, before surgery, said I required a corpectomy but after surgery he told my husband that my entire vertebrae was removed but never changed the the surgery name from a corpectomy to a vertebrectomy. Doctors and their airhead moments.

    Cheers!
    Robin
  • Hi Kris

    Glad to read that you are recovering! Just a little insight on the device that you now have, it does in fact have titanium plates ( tiny ones) in it. I had my C4,5,6 fusion done in January 2011, had that device implanted and was in pain each day after surgery in the neck and arm and hand (R).

    Then in June, I had a very unusual pain in my neck (spine), ran in to see my doc and he was telling me to try to move on, etc....Well, I requested an X-Ray because something was very wrong. Low and behold, one of the titanium plates with in the device was fractured in half. Although the surgeon was shocked to see that: he felt it would cause no pain but I knew what I was feeling !!! It hurt like the devil was in my neck!

    By December I couldn't take the pain anymore, went to ER met my Doc there and had total revision surgery with removal of that device. After, he had said when he got in there the device was moving like crazy in my spine, hence the cause of the pain with the broken plate!I had the traditional fusion this time, with bone graft from my hip and a new full plate. Thats the long story short....watch that device ! I do not trust it, look at my previous posts, I think I put a pic of it in there
  • due for c6 anterial vertebrectomy in two weeks, and am looking for all the tips i can get! many thanks
  • I used one on my lumbar spine and had to wear it 24/7 for 9 months. I did fuse where I didn't from the original surgery. I don't know what 30 minutes a day would do after having to wear mine for so long. Good thing I'm not a Dr.
  • read all these threads, many thanks, i already dont feelso alone, i dont know anyone who has had a vertebrectomy so i think i have been panicing. although it seems a matter of luck if all goes well or all goes pear shaped!
  • read all these threads, many thanks, i already dont feelso alone, i dont know anyone who has had a vertebrectomy so i think i have been panicing. although it seems a matter of luck if all goes well or all goes pear shaped!
  • Went to the doc today, and everything (the fuse) seems to be going really well. Of course I have not taken it easy with four kids and all its hard. They are now wanting to do a Facet joint injection bc of the sharp pain that I'm having. Any thoughts?
  • Glad to hear the fuse seems to be going well...
    I to have four kids nd know you cannot take it easy!
    Where are you having the sharp pain? Is it in your neck?
    If you go up in this thread, you'll see my reply to you in March.
    I also had that ROI-C implanted in my first surgery, I had massive pain and I will bet my life it was from that device. I since had it removed due to the fracture of the plate within the device, but I still have stabbing pain in my neck, just different
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