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ADCF Questions Please tell me everything you know! I'm scared.

JessiSellJJessiSell Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Anyone. I have never posted on a forum like this, but I read them often to gain information. I have found them very helpful however, I still have questions.

I am set to have my surgery on April 26th (though I am considering moving it up, if possible because I dont want to spend the summer recovering) I am terrified!

I was involved in an accident at the beginning of the year which left me in a neck brace for about 50 days. I fractured my C6 & C7 and facets in between. Since being out of the brace I have experienced pain in my arm and fingers, as well as continued neck pain.

My doctor suggested this procedure. I am just nervous that this surgery will leave me feeling worse. Its been such a short time since my accident and my pain could potentially go away..or at least get better.

I kinda have to rush because this procedure is being covered by another insurance company. I am set to have removal of the disk between 6&7, he will then insert a plastic disk and cover it with a plate. UGH!!

I guess my questions are...
How risky is the procedure?
How horrible is the recovery?
Can you still move your neck in all directions..even with the plate?
Has anyone had this procedure for a long time, I mean has anyone found or read success stories that have been long term?
What if the surgeon hits the spinal cord!!! :(

I'm only 28 and to have a plate in my neck for the rest of my life is really hard to fathom. However; if I don't get the surgery now...I may not be able to afford it in the future. I am just so scared!!!

Please comfort me!! lol

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Post Edited by The Spine-Health Moderator Team



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Any kind of surgery can cause us to have concern and you're right, if you think of all the things that could go wrong...yikes!

    But your questions could best be answered by your doctor and doctor could reassure you.

    If I understand orrectly, your surgery is not until the 26th. I would call and talk with the nurse or doctor because the sooner you have a btter understanding and their reassurance, you'll feel better.

    Worry takes up a lot of energy and you will need your
    strength for a steady recovery.

    Since I am not a canidate for surgry on my spine.. I have nothing personal to add. But I am sure someone will come along soon and give you more first hand experience.

    Please keep us posted on how you are doing..before and after the surgery You're not alone. This is the best site ever and we're here for you.

    Take care!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Sorry to hear you've had such a rough time

    I have lumbar rather than neck problems so cannot comment on the pain or surgery but there are some great advice sections on the website if you haven't already seen them

    Is the disc they are going to remove actually bulging or herniated? It does seem like a relatively short time period since the accident for surgery to be deemed appropriate

    Has the pain gotten better or worse since the brace came off?

    I agree with Savage (last post) that you should discuss your fears and concerns to the surgeon. I would say just make sure they are 100% certain the disc is causing the problem.

    Find out what the chances are of it settling down on its own over time. Also ask them what their success rates are with this operation - you have ever right to know.

    I have a huge bulging disc in my lower back and I have been on the brink of needing surgery several times over the last 3 years (according to my doctor) but each time it has gotten better over a few months with conservative care. It always seems to come back at me though with a vengeance though lol

    I am definitely not saying you shouldn't have surgery but you need to make sure it is absolutely the right decision as it is such a big one.

    It's a shame that time is such a factor, if you had a few months to see if it got better or not it may have made your surgery decision easier

    Good luck

    Amanda x

  • At 28, I would definitely get a few more opinions. Do you have spinal cord compression? How much pain are you in? Are you taking medication for the pain? In my opinion, surgery should be the last resort. All your questions should be addressed to your surgeon, because we are not able to answer them.

    I had spinal cord compression with myelopathy. My feet were on and off numb and I had recurrent UTIs. My surgery was absolutely necessary. Do I feel better now a year after surgery? Yes, but I'm not back to myself. I am 43 and fear the possibility of future surgeries, which is highly possible with people with spine problems. Surgery does not necessarily eliminate all pain or issues. Educate yourself as much as possible before making that leap. If you have to have the surgery, then do it. But it does come with risks. Take care and good luck! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I had the same surgery at C5/6 2 months ago. My surgeon used cadaver bone and a plate. Although I am not pain free, most of my pre surgery pain is totally gone. I feel like I have full mobility in my neck. The pain I am experiencing is extreme muscle tightness across upper shoulders. It is very uncomfortable but is the only pain I am left with. The doctor said that is normal but couldn't really say how long it would last. I know she had to put a very large spacer in place of my disc so i assume that is why i am still so uncomfortable. Started PT this week so hopefully it should help.

    I stayed in the hospital one night. I had a sore throat for about three days but was able to eat solid foods the day after surgery. I was able to do most daily activities right away, including wash hair, daily walks, just no cooking or housework, which is not a bad thing. My family and friends did the cooking for a few weeks. I went back to work part time at 5 weeks and returned to full time at 8 weeks.

    I am going to yoga which helps the muscle tightness.

    I have two friends that had the surgery at my level and yours. Both consider it successful. One was 10 years ago and the other 1 year ago.

    I am early in recovery but would be happy to answer any questions you have.
  • Thanks for your reply! The best advise: stressing out and being scared will hurt my recovery!

    I am a worrier in life as is, its so good to hear things like this to keep me sane!

    15 days to go!

    And p.s. I will call my DR. He will calm me down! :)
  • Thank you for your post... I have a pre-op soon and I plan to ask all of these questions!

    My surgeon has showed me x-rays and it seems that instead of the disk being the main problem...it is more my bones?

    He did tell me when we originally set up the apt. that the procedure was very simple, 1 1/2 long, and out-patient. I was baffled by this, as you can imagine.

    I guess its because I do not need a bone graft-which btw I am very happy about!

    I feel like I need to get it...and now is the only time really, because it is being covered by a different insurance... and I guess thats why I am freaking out....What if I get better without the surgery? ya know?

    Thanks again! I will keep you posted!
  • This response helps a TON! You basically answered everything I wanted to know...and although everyone differs, it is great to hear about success!

    I trust my surgeon and feel like if he thinks I need it...I should do it!

    I know it will take my pain away...I just cant help thinking about long term. Also, of course the fear alone of having surgery at all. I have only had my wisdom teeth out! I have never even had a baby yet, so its scary!

    Thank you again,

    I have 15 days till surgery...I don't know what to do with myself!! (as I am not currently working)

    I pray every night! I just don't want to die & I don't want to be paralyzed. Were you scared going in to get this procedure?

  • 15 days is a long time to go, especially when you aren't working. I worked up until the day before and was busy cooking and freezing food so we would have meals, besides what people dropped by. Can you exercise? If so, I would walk and do whatever strengthening you can up till surgery. I am very active and feel I was in very good shape prior to surgery, which is helping recovery. The physical therapist wants me to start doing more than walking so am adding lower body strengthening this week.

    I am going to Vegas next week with girlfriends so need to continue to get better so I can keep up!

    I was not scared prior to surgery. I was actually strangely calm. I was worried that I wasn't worried lol.

    You will be fine. Think positive, do some things for yourself while you have time and are able. You will have plenty of time to read, catch up on shows, movies, etc.
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