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35 year old male, C5-C6/C6-C7 ACDF

Hello everyone! I feel that I have to share my story after so much reading blogs and posts of my own and so much fear I had built up inside me prior to my ACDF surgery. I will start by saying that I am a 35-year old father of 2, I stay active by lifting weights 4-5 days a week. I am overall in great health. Non-smoker, non-drinker. About 6 months ago, I had a tingling sensation in my right hand. It would come and go, but never stay persistent for any longer than 5-10 minutes. I did some research and found that the symptoms I was seeing were indicative of a pinched nerve. I visited the chiropractor a couple times, but to no avail. After dealing with the tingling sensation for about 3 months, I noticed that I then had a very rapid loss of strength in my right tricep, the same side as the symptoms in my hand. My tricep muscle had also atrophied considerably. I decided it was then time to take action and find out what specifically I had going on. I had an MRI, as recommended by my chiropractor and general physician. The MRI showed that I had a herniated disc at C6-C7 and some bone spurring going on at C5-C6. This, of course, was devastating news, because it meant surgery. I sought a second and third opinion, all of which agreed that considering this was affecting my muscles, and ultimately my central nervous system, that surgery was the best path forward. I read and read and read and read. The more I read, the more horror stories I read about post-op issues. Guys and gals, listen up, I had my surgery done 2 days ago and other than a stiff neck, I fee absolutely fine. I have been given orders to avoid lifting 10-15lbs for 4-6 weeks, to not extend my range of motion, and avoid lifting my arms over my head. I got so worked up for nothing. So far, so good for me. I was prescribed hydrochodone and a muscle relaxer at discharge from the hospital, I have been taking a single hydro every 3-4 hours. I feel great and so far I am loving my results. I need to let you all know that there are SOOOO many negative posts on here about this surgery and the results following, I just have not seen them. Of course, I am very early on and have no idea yet what kind of muscle mass and strength I will regain, but nonetheless, the surgery is complete. If anyone has any questions for me, please email me at bwagner48@gmail.com, as I feel that I need to help others in getting answers, because I tore myself apart reading about ACDF surgeries.

Take care and best wishes-


  • I'm having an ACDF c5-7 on 2/6 and am quite anxious. I really appreciate your positive words :)
    I am looking forward to getting on with my life and just want this to be over. I wish you continued good health and feeling great. Please post again.
    Herniation of l5 S1 l4 , DDD , microdisectomy in June 2013 and re herniation in September
    Cervical herniation at C5-7 Jan 2014 with impingement of spinal cord. 2 level cervical fusion Feb. 2014 and 2 level lumbar fusion in April 2014
  • I also am doing well with my 3 level with mainly some muscle spasms and throat pain. I believe that your results are due to how quick you jumped on the surgery after the onset of symptoms. I have put this surgery off for years and wish I hadn't. The surgeon who did my surgery told me 5 years ago we would one day head down the surgery path but I had tried to put it off with doing all the conservative measures. The surgeon did say that the bone spurs were more numerous and bigger than he had expected. I did gain some instant strength in my left arm and hand after the surgery. The surgeon noticed the difference and I had more feeling in both my hands. It's amazing how we accept numbness as normal until it's gone.
    Hope your journey continues to be uneventful.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Thank you for posting a positive experience with ACDF. This message board is filled with so many stories of complications and negative experiences. It can cause quite a bit of anxiety for surgery candidates who read it.

    My experience with ACDF has also been very positive. My story regarding onset of symptoms is very similar to yours. When it became clear to me surgery was inevitable, I moved quickly to find a good neurosurgeon and to get on his calendar. I had surgery on December 23rd and returned home from the hospital on the same day. I was back at work two weeks later, January 6th.

    My recovery has been excellent. I was able to return to work in two weeks and, aside from the cervical collar and some residual numbness in my hand (which is improving a month later) I have done great.

    It is important for more individuals who have had routine, complication-free surgery to post as you did.
  • manny_chrisbmmanny_chrisb Posts: 2
    edited 01/29/2014 - 8:00 AM
    Hi, I'm a 39 year old male who had the same surgery on 10/13/13. After a month, they found an infections and had to go back in and clean out the infection. I agree with the loss of strength in the tricep. I didn't realize how much the loss was until I was evaluated my my neurosurgeon. However, I am now a couple months post-op and I have a considerable decrease in strength. Specially when I do push-ups, chest presses. Did you experience similar post-op weakness? If so what did yoiu do to resolve it. Are you experiencing a loss of range of motion when looking side to side?
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