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ACDF Recovery?

GettingHealthyGGettingHealthy Posts: 8
edited 06/01/2013 - 1:20 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I'll probably be having 2-level ACDF later this year, but the more I read about the recovery, the more scared I get. It sounds like ACDF is incredibly painful and that recovery is very long and difficult.

I live alone and have been told that I'll be able to take care of myself after surgery (within lifting, bending, twisting limitations), but it sure doesn't sound so from these forums. That said, my surgeon has a phenomenal reputation; his patients tend to do exceptionally well.

Has anyone out there had a relatively easy time with ACDF recovery?



  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 06/01/2013 - 10:19 AM
    I had a 2 level ACDF done 7 months ago and found that it was an easier recovery than my lumbar fusion.
    Everyone's experience is different, but I do think that many people find that it is not as bad as they had feared.

    I think that it is possible, and has been done, to take care of yourself after this surgery. I would suggest that you read the thread at the top of the Back and Neck Surgery section which is about useful items for post surgery. That will give you an idea of how you can prepare your home for those early days and weeks.

    Have you got any family or friends who could pop in daily to check that you don't need any help with anything and that you could phone if you did need urgent help?

    As spine surgeries go, the ACDF is not too bad. Good luck :-)
  • GettingHealthyGGettingHealthy Posts: 8
    edited 06/01/2013 - 1:28 PM
    Thanks for the reply; maybe recovery won't be as bad as it sounds. Yes, I do have family who will help with errands and who will check on me. I also checked out he list of useful post-surgical items; very helpful!
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    hello GettingHealthy,
    I have to agree with jellyhall, acdf surgery wasn't too bad for me either for the most part and I had a lot more work done not
    only from anterior but from the posterior side also. Listen to your Dr(s), stay ahead of your pain by taking meds when instructed, and just cause you start feeling good don't over do anything, it will only set you back.
    Best of luck to you on this new adventure, stay positive, and it will work out just fine for you as it has for me and many others.
  • gaj399ggaj399 Posts: 270
    edited 06/01/2013 - 6:51 PM
    I came out of surgery pain free. I did have problems with not fusing one level, but I didn't have any pain. Unfortunately I herniated the next level down, so I had to have another fusion done. I have had a bit more pain since, but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. I'm sure you'll do fine!
  • I was in way, way less pain post surgery than I was before I had it done. My problem was a weird artery in my neck caused a stroke. I think that is probably a one in 10,000 chance. I am OK and most people who get ACDF are OK post surgery. Just be sure to not smoke, not take NSAIDS, and to wear your brace, especially at night to ensure you start to fuse early. Swallowing is hard after the procedure but that usually goes away too. You want to prepare and have the following:
    1. a friend to take you and maybe stay with you the first day out and run errand for you.
    2. groceries and soft easy food bought to last a few weeks
    3. soups, jello, lots of popsicles, yogurt, mashed potatoes
    4. clean bedding and someone to help you change the linens for a while
    5. easy to get on and off clothing so that you do not have to lift up your arms
    6. pillows for the bed enough to sleep with your head elevated

    Hope some of this is helpful.
    Age 55
    Herniated L4-5 1992
    DDD diagnosed
    Hysterectomy 2005
    Steven Johnsons Syndrome 2008-09
    Gastroparesis 2009-10
    Right ankle and toe reconstruction 2012
    ACDF C6-7 surgery March 2013
    Stroke? Cancer? MS? Who knows! in inferior cerebellum 2013
  • Thanks to all for your encouraging inputs; very helpful. I'm sure I can stay with family my first night out of the hospital. (They cannot stay with me because of pet allergies.) I've never smoked in my life, nor do I ever take NSAIDS. So I'm good there. :-)
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