Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

acdf C5/6 & C6/7 surgery all dun

WalshyWWalshy Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hi all, I have just found out I have to have acdf c6 c7 surgery, I was in a bad car crash 16 years ago and it has taken till now to find out wot was up with my neck, I found out today the surgeon want to do the op on the 18th of may, here is a picture if it works you can have a look, I would like to hear from any one with any advice please lee. ">image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us


  • the picture worked then, I forgot to say am an upholster and the settes are about 224 pounds that I have to lift on my own, but the last few weeks my left arm as been giving me loads of pain, as any one on ere had a mri scan that looks like mine above and how did you get on ? lee
  • We are not doctors and are not authorized to read MRIs, but it does look like you have some spinal cord compression. In my opinion, you should stop lifting such heavy furniture. It could make things worse. Take it easy. Have you had a 2nd or 3rd opinion? Have you tried physical therapy, injections, etc.? Surgery should be the last resort if conservative treatments don't work. 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
  • hi Lili its the only job I no how to do, I have been doing it for 25 yrars and the doctor said if I dont have the op I will be paralyzed from the neck down in a few years so I may as well get it dun, I just wanted to no if any one had had a pinched spinal cord and how they are doing.

  • I have cord compression at two levels in my neck, but I don't have the whiteish area on my spinal cord like it appears you do. My neurosurgeon is watching out for it and has said that it would indicate that there is damage to the cord and surgery would be needed (straight away, I think). What has your surgeon said to you?

    Meanwhile, we are watching and waiting every 6 months. However my second opinion neurosurgeon has said that we should do a 2 level ACDF to stop my neurological symptoms progressing and possibly remaining after surgery. He has told me that if I was in an accident or had a fall, I could be left with 'bruising' to my cord which could leave me with paralysis or permanent severe weakness in my arms and legs.

    The rest of my neck has significant spondylosis so it looks rather a mess with all the bony spurs making the edges look out of alignment.

    I agree with Lili that you should not be lifting such heavy items. You could cause your problems to seriously deteriorate quite quickly.

    After surgery, you won't be able to lift things like that for quite a long time.

    What are your symptoms?
    I wonder if you have any signs of myelopathy.

    Do hang around and ask any other questions you may have. There is a list of useful items to have to help you after surgery. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll find the link for you. It is in the Back and Neck Surgery thread, right at the top, I believe.

    Take care

  • hi jellyhall thanks,I think the whiteish area on my spinal cord is why the doctor wants to do the op so soon, I dont think I want to go back doing upholstery, I am going to look for a different job and I have had very bad neck pain for 13 years and numbness in my fingers for 6 years, and really bad tennis elbow in my left arm for 8 years that is not helping, what is myelopathy ?
  • Below is a link to myelopathy;


    I am starting to have these symptoms but the neurological testing only shows some of the signs.

    Do your symptoms come and go, or are they there all the time?
    I have very many symptoms which come and go. My compression is higher up than yours(C3/4 and C4/5) I get pain and other symptoms in my arms, hands, wrists, legs, feet, neck, shoulders and around my abdomen in addition to frequent headaches.
  • thanks for the link the numbness in my fingers would come and last a few days then I wouldnt get it for months and only came back when I went to move my arm fast but 6 years ago it stayed and a nurse said put up with it as long as i could, I would give work up now untill the op but I wouldnt get any help because I can hold a pen or open a door :(, your symptoms sound a lot worse than mine, do you not no when they are going to operate on you ?
  • Before surgery, my symptoms progressed rapidly. When I first started looking into the cause of my neck pain and headaches, the pain wasn't severe. Within a matter of months, I started to get recurrent UTIs, headaches that kept me laying down most of the day. A month before my surgery, my legs started to feel heavy, but I rarely had numbness or pain in my fingers/hands.

    I had surgery because of the UTIs and the legs getting heavy and numb. The pain in my upper back, neck, head and shoulders were pretty severe and I would get relief from laying down with heat. Most of the time I was dizzy and only drove to run quick errands and then return to the couch.

    It sounds like a good idea to change careers soon. Like what Jelly said, you won't be able to lift anything heavy after surgery for months. I was limited to 5lbs for the first 3 months. Take care!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Although I certainly do have numerous symptoms, the level of pain is not nearly as bad as the awful bilateral sciatica I was having before my Lumbar fusion. That used to have me in tears sometimes and regularly lying on the floor to cope with the pain.

    I had one of my 6 monthly check ups with a neurosurgeon last week. Surprisingly she said that she is not sure that my symptoms are coming from my neck and wants me to see a neurologist!!

    Two months ago, I saw a different neurosurgeon who recommended a two level fusion on my neck due to the cord compression. I was just getting my head around that idea, but decided to not make any decisions until I had had my 6 monthly check with the other neurosurgeon clinic.

    Now I am very confused as to what is going on!
    I can't go ahead with surgery now this seed of doubt has been sown. I just hope that I won't have to wait too long to see a neurologist. I am in the UK where we have long waits. Strange, she is the fifth neurosurgeon I have seen, and is the only one to think these symptoms might not be coming from my neck.

    I think my most worrying symptom is a stiffening spasm that I get in my feet, legs and sometimes around my abdomen, causing my back to arch up. I get it early in the morning, as I start to move and wake up. I also get it if I get up after sitting for a long time. It sometimes leads to cramping of my muscles, so then it is very painful.

  • I am also in the uk ( the northwest )I saw the doctor this week on tuesday and then they phoned me wednesday moring to say the doctor has put asap and they could do the op on the 18th of may, only 22 days left, a bit scared now but hopefully I will be better after the op, I hope they sort you out soon.
  • It certainly sounds like you need to have surgery.
    I have been told that it is done more to stop the progression of symptoms rather than get rid of them. He said that about 70% of patients will get some relief of their symptoms, but he couldn't predict who they would be or how long it would be before it happened. He also said that it would be 6-12 months before we knew how much relief I was likely to get.

    He agreed with my husband that the sooner I have surgery, the less severe the symptoms will be, so if I am left with them, they won't be so bad.

    I have been on this site for about 2 1/2 years now and have seen many patients come, have their surgery and go off happily to continue their lives.

    I would certainly have my lumbar fusion if I had to decide again. It has improved things no end.

    I think my advice to you would be to prepare yourself for a long recovery, and painful neck and shoulders after surgery. It seems that it is the muscles that are painful rather than the incision. Somtimes things are worse than before surgery for a while, due to the nerves being irritated. I was expecting the worst with my lumbar fusion and was pleasantly surprised. I would rather have it that way than be shocked at the pain levels.

    I have heard that lumbar fusion is easier on the surgeon (technically) and harder on the patient (the recovery), and that cervical surgery is harder on the surgeon (less space and the cord right there) and easier on the patient (doesn't have to hold all the body weight). My neurosurgeon did say that it wasn't an easier surgery to recover from as I would have severe pain in the muscles of the neck and shoulders for a while, but that I would be more mobile than after my lumbar surgery.

    Do let us know if there are any other questions you want answered, and there should be sometone who can help you.

    Make sure that you have plenty of pillows to prop yourself up and get comfy with. Also a grabber to pick up things you drop and bendy straws. Do you have someone to help you for a while once you get home from the hospital? Clear the floor of things you could trip on - you probably won't be able to easily look down for a while. Place anything you use frequently at an easily accessible height (no stretching or bending).

    I wish you well and will look forward to hearing from you after surgery and will follow your recovery with interest. The relief once you get to this side of surgery, is wonderful!

    I am in the South East
  • hi jellyhall, my partner will help but I have a shih tzu that likes to sleep on my chest when I sleep on the sette so mite have to put a stop to that :)I dont told on friday that I have to live on £85 a week for 37 weeks and after that I have to phone them and see if they can help, I wanted to give up work this week but I carnt so I will have to work but I will take it easy, only got 18 days left till me op, I will keep you posted, is there anything or any good questions I should ask my surgin the next time I see him ?

  • I would definately ask your surgeon about his post surgery restrictions. Different surgeons has different restrictions. Will you have to wear a collar?



    Do let me know what you find out. I am following closely behind you and want to learn from your experience. ;)

  • He said I will have to wear a collar and I will have a massive headache for 3 or more days because the spinal fluid and he said I should be off work for 6 weeks :) I don't think so, I am planing on 3 to 7 mths off work, but hope to be back sooner.

  • That I will be off work for 3 months (2 level fusion)
    That I won't have a collar
    That I won't have a plate (only titanium cages)
    That I won't have bone graft!! He said that my bone would grow through the holes in the cage.

    After all the things that I have read, it sounds that he is very minimilistic! I do trust him, but I do want to ask him again to explain how this will work.

    He did say that the 'spikes' in the cage will hold it so no plate is needed. He even said that he knew a surgeon who wanted to remove a titanium cage after two weeks and had trouble getting it out - he had to drill it out. I hope he gets it in the right place, so it doesn't need to be moved!!

    Hopefully the headache you were told about due to a spinal fluid leak, won't be a problem. I don't think that everyone has that. Only if the dura is nicked and causes a leak.

    I was told that I would have very sore muscles in my neck and shoulders for a while, a sore throat from moving the oseaphegus (Sp?), trouble swallowing and possibly a hoarse voice for a while.

    When is your next appointment?

  • I'am hoping I might get something in the post tomorrow, so I can book it off work and ask him a lot of questions
  • What is this hardware that I ere a lot off ?

  • The metal implants that are sometimes used to hold things in place until they fuse. They aren't needed after fusion has taken place, but generally don't get removed unless they are causing a problem.
    Titanium is generally used as that is MRI friendly, which means that, if necessary, an MRI scan can be done after surgery. It doesn't set off alarms at airports either.

    For example;

    the screws and rods used when a posterior fusion is done (I have those in my lumbar spine)

    The plate that is used at the front to stop the cage or fusion from slipping forward and to hold it all together while it fuses

    Cages that are used to replace where the disc is removed - generally these are filled with bone chips (or BMP - synthetic product, to encourage fusion to start.)

    Do you know if you are having any hardware, or if you will have bone taken for the graft?

  • I don't no if I have to have a graft yet, but i will ask my surgeon when I see him, but the last time I seen him he, said he liked doing acdf surgery
  • Hi, first, let me tell you that a stupid decision of mine to carry a 20-lb box across the street and up an elevator to FedEx, in Oahu, was the last straw after a sudden onset of radiculopathy symptoms that began a few days prior, while taking care of my 4-yr. old granddaughter. I barely made it thru the flight home, but my ever handy Vicodin got me thru. 15 months later, w/o relief from conservative efforts, my ACDF C3/C5 surgery's planned late June. I also showed myeolomalacia back then (the white area in the cord), but now the stenosis and myeolopathy symptoms have increased, partly due to severe (level 4) anterolisthesis, C4 on C5, but my surgeon says they're subtle. It was the 2nd MRI we did, for comparison, that convinced him surgery was in order. Just wanted to add this quick note for now, please be careful what you pick up and haul. Could be a turn-around event. Yesterday, thanks to a very kind surgery patient's recommendation, I just ordered 2 Guided Meditation CDs specifically for my Pre-Surgery jitters. Feel more relaxed already, but really appreciate all the support found here. Good luck, I'll watch for your updates. Oh, unlike your obvious strength abilities, I'm a 60-yr. old, literally "90-lb. weakling", but I used to be quite a hiker. Hope to get back into that.

  • I'm not sure if I have welcomed you to Spine Health before, but if not, welcome. :H

    I am interested to know what symptoms you have with your cord compression and myelopathy.

    I have had varying opinions from different neurosurgeons as to whether we should continue to wait and watch, or if we should do surgery now. My surgery will also be an ACDF on C3/4 and C4/5.

    Do you get headaches? (I believe mine are due to the high level of the compression - and you have the same)
    Do you have stiffness in your legs when you get up from sitting or lying, making it hard to walk for the first few steps?
    Do you get a stiffening spasming in your legs (and abdomen) in bed as you wake up, or during the night?

    Other than the symptoms above that I get, my symptoms are subtle, don't last long, but are felt all over the place and sometimes quite severe, like electric shocks or stabbing pains.

    Do you have a date in June for your surgery yet?

    I hope that a cervical surgery will give as good a relief to my pain and symptoms as my lumbar fusion 2 years ago did.

  • I just wanted to respond to your post, because I believe that a lot of my spasms are from spinal cord compression. Overall, I am much better, but I had a lot of spasms in my abdominal muscles that I had originally attributed to having 2 C-sections. Now I think it's from the myelopathy. I still get pins and needles in my hand sporadically and leg/feet pain - nothing that lasts.

    The worst is that I still get headaches. Not all the time, but they can be very unpleasant. I think that surgery is not a bad idea before things become chronic. 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
  • Hi all, just an up date on Wots happening, I have slowed down at work a bit and its helped, I have got my pre op this Tuesday 15th and I have to be at the hospital at 7:30am on Friday for my op :) and I finish work on Wednesday so I have thusday to get sorted, & my grabber came today do I'am all set for Friday hopefully.
  • Hi all, well I had the op a week ago and all went well a bit, my left arm and hand is better but my right hand hurts, I had the op Friday and my right hand started to get numb so I phoned the hospital sunday and they said come in Tuesday and see the surgeon so I did and he said they have to pull your arms when in surgery and he pull my right arm to hard and did some damage to the nerves in my wrist, but he hopes it will fix it self. If not he can do another op on my wrist, it was hard to sleep for the first 4 days but now am back to just 1 pillow instead of 5, and I didn't need a grabber I just bent down with my back straight, swollowing is hard but its getting better, and going in the car isn't that bad, I think I could drive in 2 weeks coz in a week I can look left and right quite far but up an down is not so good, thru used the bone they cut out off my neck for the graft, I have to see the surgeon on the 17 July to see if I can go back to work or not.

  • I bet it feels great to be on this side of surgery, doesn't it?

    Hopefully your arm will settle down soon and the feeling will come back.

    I had an appointment with a neurologist and my neurosurgeon last Thursday. The neurologist appointment is to rule out MS before proceeding with surgery. The neurosurgeon has said that I should have this surgery in the next 6 months to get rid of the risk of spinal cord injury and possible paralysis if I was in an accident or had a fall.

    I am very interested to hear how your recovery goes, to give me an idea of what to expect. I believe that surgery higher up in the neck (C3/4 C4/5) can make the swallowing more of a problem. Have you got any tips to help with that?

    Keep following all the rules and hopefully your recovery will go smoothly and speedily.

    Take care,

  • Thanks jellyhall I found moving my head very hard after surgery but used my hand to support my head and moved it round to put it in a comfortable position, but that was only for 2 days, and swollowing, I was eating a cheese sandwich 3hrs after surgery which I thought I wound'nt be able to do , and I just put my head down and then swollowing is fine, I am glad I had the surgery and hope you get yours soon. Lee
Sign In or Register to comment.