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

One month post-op 4 level ACDF C3-C7

Hi Everyone! Monday marks 30 days since my ACDF 4 level. First, let me say how appreciative I am of all the support I received from so many of you here before my surgery. The five hour surgery went well. My surgeon explained that he was pleased with the procedure. I needed a three day hospital stay as the drainage of fluids from the wound took longer than expected. Removing both the catheter and draining tube were less than fun. Thankfully the dilaudid pump was handy. I had a sore throat for a week but my voice hasn't changed.

Once home I adjusted to sleeping with the Aspen collar. I am using a tempurpedic pillow. My suture was removed two weeks ago with my first x-rays taken. Very cool to see the cadaver bone and plate and screws. I'm about half way through weaning from the collar, though I always sleep with it. I'm hoping to start driving in a couple of weeks.

I now understand and appreciate even more the advice I received here. The best advice was to understand that there is no way for anyone to anticipate how one might recover. There are just too many variables that make a guarantee impossible. I'm a physically active 60 year old. Never have smoked and don't drink alcohol. Yet building up my physical stamina and appetite have been my biggest challenges. I also wish I would have weaned myself from the pain meds sooner. The withdrawals were ugly.

The second most important piece of advice I received here was to trust your doc and follow his/her directions to the letter. I'm hoping I'll be able to head back to work in a couple of weeks. I'm fortunate to have some great ST disability insurance though I also need to be patient when I get antsy. I promise a report again soon. Thanks to all and good luck to those facing their own challenges.

Ben-go bears-
steve in chicago


  • It is good to hear how well you are doing after only one month.
    I am having a 2 level ACDF on 5th November. I have been told that I won't have a patient controlled pump. I hope I will be able to swallow the tablets ok! How was your swallowing?

    I am also wondering about getting a wedge foam pillow to help me sleep in bed. Do you think it will be useful? How did / do you manage to get comfortable in bed to sleep?
    I have been told that I will need 3 months off work, but I am a teaching assistant so there is lots of bending involved.

    It is encouraging to hear how you are getting on. Thanks for coming back to tell us.
    Keep up the good healing.
  • aweekbackaaweekback Posts: 14
    edited 10/21/2012 - 6:16 AM
    Hi- I don't use a wedge sort of pillow. The pillow I use is shaped like an ordinary pillow but is made of the tempurpedic material. It's very firm and supportive. The angling of a wedge wouldn't seem as supportive - just my thoughts. I prefer sleeping on my side with the pillow tucked under my neck. I have not slept with the collar and won't until cleared to do so.

    As for swallowing, for me it felt like I had a sore throat from a cold. For me swallowing was more difficult with the collar on firmly. Mine is designed with an adjustment knob in front so you can lower the chin holder making it easier to eat and swallow.

    I have to admit that I felt I wanted to take my car out today, even though my doc hasn't ok'd it yet. It's this sort of behavior that I know I need to resist. The consequences of an accident, hurting someone, myself, insurance's refusal to cover...argh!! Walking is better for me anyway. Good luck. -Steve
    steve in chicago
  • Hi all- Nearly 6 wks. post-op. I'm able to drive, turning the neck is a challenge, I turn my torso to assist in viewing for other cars. I only use the collar at night. I'm not using any meds - absolutely no pain. I still have no sensation around the incision site...makes shaving the scar easier. I continue my cycling routine at the gym 5x a week. Stamina and appetite returning. I'm hoping to return to work full-time in two weeks. Only wish-that the surgery hadn't damaged my larynx - making singing a challenge. But I'll keep on practicing (in the car and shower).
    steve in chicago
  • Hi Steve,
    It sounds like your recovery is going extremely well!
    I particularly like the sound of 'absolutely no pain'.

    From things I read, there is still time for your voice to improve. Keep practicing!

    I have my ACDF on Monday!!
    I LOVE reading good outcomes like yours!

    Keep healing
  • I am so glad that you had a mostly positive experience.

    I had an ACDF C3/4 and C4/5 17 days ago, and you are so right, everyone's reactions are so different.
    I had no pain at all - even in the hospital. My only discomfort was from the morphine the first day, because it made me naseous and when they switched me over to Diladud, they let me decide whether I needed any or not. I didn't.

    I lost my voice - it is a mere whisper - and only in the last few days, little hints of a voice trying to come back, but I never had a sore throat, something everyone warned me would be really bad the first week or so. Never happened.

    Wearing the Miami J Collar and I have a bone growth stimulator.

    So, we will see. Reading your post is very encouraging on the way to healing completely!

    Good luck to you!
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • Hi, Steve. I am very happy for your excellent and speedy recovery and it sounds like u will return to "normal life" very soon.

    I am preparing for surgery (ACDF C3-C7) and I admit, I'm a bit nervous. I trust the surgeon, but I am concerned about the limitations of post-surgery movement. I expect there will be some reduction, of course. I'm curious as to how much loss have u experienced now and have u had any complications since?

    Also, I'm wondering about physical therapy. Did u require it and for how long?

    I pray u continue to recover as well as u have been. Thank you for sharing your story and keep posting! NancyB

Sign In or Register to comment.