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C3/C5 Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion

grannydggrannyd Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello, In June 2012, having a C3/C5 anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (donor bone) and plates. Tried 15 mos. of conservative measures, but also have severe anterolisthesis C4 on C5, where disc is bulging into cord space, and DDD cervical stenosis, now with clinical myeolopathy, and also myeolomalacia. Dreading the surgery, my first real surgery, tho know it's necessary. Will this be fusing both joints? Any words of encouragement welcome with open arms as long as I can hold them out!


  • hi- i just had ACDF C5-C7 donor bone/plates on 3/9/12. it has not been an easy road. i am having nerve root complications after surgery. please do all of YOUR homework. this is an incredibly invasive surgery. it takes up to one year to fully recover; have you seen a neurologist as well as neurosurgeon? be sure you explore ALL options. get a second opinion!! get a third opinion!!! i would have done it all very different. all the best. i understand what u are going through.
  • Hi - so sorry to hear about your rocky road. i've been with the same clinic whole time, the first year w/the non-surgical spinal intervention docs. They first told me my MRI (stenosis) spelled surgery to many, but we'd try other things first. my clinical myeolopathy symptoms have been more subtle than my subjective sensations, but def. increasing, along w/disruptions in daily functioning. had a pretty quiet week w/granddaughter at my home recently, but almost went straight to docs for earlier surgery. recovered okay, but neck feels extra 'wobbly'. overall, seen 6 docs, incl. residents at this teaching clinic. can i say where? have a pain clinic appt. before surgery date (for headaches) w/neurologists, so they will have an input. tx for your interest. hope you get a turn around.
  • ok-just making sure you have bases covered. i will tell you this- i waited too long and may have done permanent damage to my C6 and C7 nerve root. so if they say you ought to have the surgery- DO IT! dont wait- i waited for years and it was a mistake that i may live with for the rest of my life. decompression was successful but i still have numbness and pain down my right arm, but the unbelievable pain that was i experiencing for 5+ years is now gone. i think if you can reduce your pain by any amount then it is successful.

    so what they did to me was fuse C5 to C6 and C6 to C7. they took out the ruptured discs at both levels and replaced them with cadaver bones. this means that c5 through c7 will (hopefully) fuse and become one vertebrae. its very invasive but 100% necessary in my case.

    just an FYI- i was hospitalized for a total of two days before the surgery for pain and three days after from even more pain. i think i was an extreme case though. most people dont stay that long in the hospital. this was my first surgery. i am single and my parents live in Texas. I was all alone on surgery day. it was scared beyond scared. but it had to be done- i sucked it up and went through it.

    let me tell you this about recovery- it takes one year for recovery. i took 5 weeks off of work but i probably needed more like 3 months. went back b/c i did not have FMLA and i was scared to lose my job. (oh i am 37 years old) i am only about 6 weeks in- expect the first two weeks to be very difficult- i slept, watched tv, and took a ton of pain medication. around week 4- the fog lifts somewhat and you start to regain your sense of hope. i wore my neck brace for 4 weeks.

    you will be fine- it will be fine. people do this surgery, recover, and live better lives. may god with you. be strong.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I thought I'd jump in with a success story here. I started having problems in April 2008 and after PT didn't help, saw an ortho surgeon (fellowship-trained and only works on spines, specifically severe cervical issues) and surgery was my only option.

    So I had a 3-lvl (C4-7) ACDF in October 2008 and felt much better by about four months out. I wore a hard brace for a month and a soft brace for three after that.

    It's still difficult to sit at a computer too long or look in one direction, except forward, for any extended period of time, but feel that my surgery was a complete success and would do it again if I had to.

    Having confidence in your surgeon is very important, as is being prepared for recovery like having a grabber, soft foods, someone to help, pain meds and muscle relaxants, straws and a comfy place to rest like a recliner with a table next to it to keep your "stuff".

    If you only see the difficult stories here it's because many who have had successful surgery no longer visit this site because they're out living their lives and don't need the support given here any longer.

    Good luck on your surgery - there are many success stories out there, people just don't post them very often.

  • I got your PM but you do not accept replies. Please go into your account setting and turn that on, then I can reply to you. :-)

  • edited by tam, spam
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