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Intubated after ACDF?

VinGVVinG Posts: 56
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
My 3 level ACDF is May 15th. Dr. said I will most likely remain intubated and asleep for at least 24 hours to monitor swelling. Anyone have this experience? I dreamt last night I was in that '70's movie "Coma".
- Vin

3 level ACDF, c3/4, c5/6/7 in May 2012


  • The good news is you won't know it, lol. But do you know what type of grafting they are using. If they are using BMP there are higher risk of swelling so it would sound reasonable to keep you intubated. I myself haven't ever intubated for that long, but others on the board have. I really think it is a doctor preference. Keep in mind your surgeon is always looking for the best out come for each individual patient. Also while a procedure might be ACDF, they are performing, what they do during the surgery can be different for each individual person. But seriously I wouldn't worry about, as you are as safe as one could be during that time.
  • He is using a cage and bone marrow. The reason he feels it's necessary to keep me intubated is that I have used a wheelchair my whole life (i'm 48) and my neck is very thick (muscular and fat), and I have pretty bad spleep apnea. Dr. is also having an ENT present during surgery.
    - Vin

    3 level ACDF, c3/4, c5/6/7 in May 2012
  • Hi Vin,

    I had a 4 level C3-7 1 year ago yesterday. Happy anniversary to me. Did your doctor explain why he isn't doing a 4 level - to include 4-5? My C4-5 wasn't as bad as the others, but he felt the 4-5 would not be stable if he did just the other levels. I just didn't want to increase the chance of him having to go back in at a later time.

    Now to your original question - I was told I would wake up in the ICU and would likely be intubated, depending on the swelling in my throat. Like you I have sleep apnea. I also was having esophogus issues soon before surgery (I had an esophogeal dilation a couple months before). My surgeon also had a head/neck surgeon to open and move stuff out of the way, given the esophogus issues.

    My surgery was about 5 hours and I woke up sometime later that night and was still intubated. Because I knew it was likely I did not freak out. I signalled to the nurses to give me something to write on. They gave me a notepad and I wrote them notes about pain or other things, and notes to family when they were there. The nurses were surprised that I was so ok with the intubation. I had the tube out the next morning. I think the fact that with the sleep apnea I was used to the full face mask and the air being pushed at me that helped with the intubation.

    Your doctor may be keeping you "out" to prevent the possibility of freaking. They loaded me up with enough drugs that I slept a lot of the time anyway.

    Good luck! PM me if you want.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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