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c3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 6/7 ACDF coming up. Any 4 level comrads here?

I'm a bit nervous but also looking forward to 3 months afterward when I will feel less pain. I have not been able to find a much info on 4 level ACDF so if you've have one, or even a 3 level, please let me know how you're doing and what I can expect.

I've seen the post-op list of thing to have and that is super helpful. I use a lot of IcyHot and need to add that to my list.

ACDF C3 thru C7 Feb 20 2014


  • I just had a 4 level neck fusion on Jan 30. It is now Feb 7th. I can shower alone,but take your time. I do take off my collar for 30 min at a time just to move my head about 30 deg. Then rest. I have been sleeping in a recliner since I came home the day after surgery.. Tried to get in bed and prop myself up..Not yet, too soon. The only issue that I am having is trouble swallowing. I can do juices and soups.. Warm beverages dont irritate it as bad.Keep a bottle of chloraseptic handy. It helps.Just take your time. Its hard for me. I want to get back to doing things, but I have to remind myself I can't.
    maria lister
  • I opted for a soft collar after I got home because the other one was too hot. I was able to sleep in bed, but I needed help lifting my head. I had very little pain though. I would describe it as more of an ache.

  • I'm sympathetic. I think the reason that there is so little information is because it's not done often and is usually advised against. I'm fused from L3 to S1 (I have a 6th lumbar vertebra, to boot). I've had some difficulty at L2-3, but two surgeons agreed that another surgery would almost guarantee a bad outcome. That's not a cheery prospect but through physical therapy and proper exercise, I'm staving off further surgical insults, at this point. Well, except I have a rotator cuff problem....

    Pain is alleviated by ice. Ice keeps swelling to a minimum. Moist heat, and only moist heat, helps to reduce swelling and encourages healing. Dry heat makes your skin hot and nothing else - not much therapeutic effect. There are some topical analgesics (w/lidocaine) that have helped people to control local pain (if you have some).

    Best of luck!

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Recovery takes time, huge surgery for anyone to go thru. My surgeon actually had to go back in a break out all the old fusions that did not heal correctly and redo. That was a tough surgery. Long story short. I work daily, walk when weather allows it and even attempted to start running last week, it was just a jog but a start. Take one day at a time and allow yourself time to heal. Some days will be worse then others. I still require pain meds daily but it allows me to live as normal a life as I can. I have been dealing with cervical issues now for about 12 years ( not sure may be more then that ).
  • I hada5 level ACDF on Monday, March 3, 2014. I had an unexoected problem. I developed a clot in my neck which swelled to ovr 19". They has to rush me back into surgery 19 hours after my first surgery. They opened up the origional incision, removed the clot, put in a drain and kept me lights out in ICU until Wednesday afternoon. All this means they had to AGAIN rearrange my esophogus, my voice box, vocal cords et al...my PM Dr seems amazed i am able to talk. BUT, I am back on the track where I would have been. Just take it easy. It all depeneds on you surgeon. Mine is strict. He wants me to do as much as I can as quickly as I can. I found that this is a much more intense surgery than the 3 level TLIF I had in 2011. I get tired very quickly. I loose my voice a lot and the pain across the top of my shoulders and down my left arm feels like they are on FIRE. I have a .collar that he says I am only to wear in the car, but I have been wearing it around the house as well. It is SO hard to swallow. I do not know if you have ever had strep throat, but my throat feels like every strep throat episode I had combined and came back to have a party in my throat. It is nice to know that there is a place like this to come and find out that it is not all the worrying in your head, it is real and it is normal.
  • I already have a c1/2 fusion. I will have the rest of the cervical vertebrae fused c3/7 on July 31 2015. I am a bit anxious needless to say. Not seeking any advice...just sharing.
  • if you are taking meds for pain now I highly recommend you cutting back if you can.after surgery it was difficult for doctors to help some people get relief in hospital with pain if they had been in pain management for years before hand. . I also think the more help from family and friends you can get do not be afraid to take it.
    lots of cold drinks,ice cream and popscicles helped in getting the swelling down,cause it will be very hard to swallow.it feels like everything you try to swallow is stuck in your throat. ice packs on the incision site in hospital helps also.
    the sooner you are up and walking and off the pain pump the sooner you can get home.
    might want to ask what type of pain management you will be getting after surgery at home while you recover also. there will be pain -type depends on how everything goes. I am having lots of nerve pain it just about drops me it gets so bad .
    the hard collar is very uncomfortable and you will have a hard time sleeping the first week in it. recliner lots of pillows, to prop my arms up to my sides so they aren't dropped down cause shoulders hurt. after surgery I kinda felt like I went through a major butt kicking.
    I hope the best for you a speedy fast recovery pain free days ahead
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