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

Surgery coming up on C6/7/T1 POSTERIOR

DoosieDDoosie Posts: 7
edited 01/09/2015 - 11:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
HI - I am new to this site and am so happy to have found all of you. I have been a long time sufferer and have had 3 surgeries so far on my spine from multiple car accidents: 1998 c/4,c/5,c/5,c/6 fusion without plating that failed, my neck collapsed and had to be rebuilt 8 mos later by my current wonderful surgeon. August of 2014 I had a lumbar laminectomy at 2 levels, and now my neck has failed "severely" under my fusion.
I have never had a "posterior" surgery on my neck. My back was of course posterior, and it was the most painful thing I have ever gone through. My surgeon says the way I am herniated is perfect for the posterior approach, and he will remove bone and create a flap to allow for swelling and nerve release. He gave me so much info I lost track after a while, and I trust him immensely as this will be the 3rd time he has "gone in."
I have been reading that the posterior approach (and was told by my doc) is the most painful, but moving the trachea from anterior in my case would be worse as I couldn't swallow for months after my rebuild in 1999. I have to admit that, due to my cervical collapse in '98, due to the doc I had for the 1st surgery not putting in a plate and sending me home on only 5mg of hydrocodone so I started throwing up from withdrawals, I am terrified. My low back surgery did not scare me, and it has only been 5 months since that surgery, but I am really scared and I need to get over it. I am in excellent shape from swimming, am 55 years old, and have a good support system, but I have been taking pain meds for a long time and my resistance is high. I can't take tramadol and am sensitive to many meds. I am on hydrocodone and a very small dose of opana currently, with some muscle relax if needed.
I am no stranger to chronic pain, but if any of you have some insight you could share about recovery I would cherish it!
Thanks so much


Welcome to Spine-Health



  • A year ago, I was involved in a serious car accident and had a 4 level posterior instrumented fusion (C5 - T2) as a direct result of that accident.

    The posterior approach is tough as they cut through all those muscles at the back of your neck.... A year later and I am still dealing with fatigue..... I'm still dealing with exercises to re-train/re-strengthen those muscles....I am still dealing with residual pain from it all.....You truly will realize just how heavy your head is, I can tell you that much! It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least, but I can tell you that my pain levels are controlled today and though I am still not where I need to be, things have gradually gotten better over the months on a pain level.

    In terms of pain, I think what you need to do is relay that information to your Doctor so that he can make the appropriate changes relating to your concerns. If you're in pain, you're in pain. And I'm sorry to say it, but it is indeed a very painful recovery. You need to be strong and just hang on for the ride.... In the end, YOU will be fine.

    Sending healing vibes your way my Dear.

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    I have had both anterior & posterior cervical surgeries. My anterior one was a breeze compared to posterior one! Doug Hell is right, you don't realize how heavy your head is until you have that kind of surgery. My muscles were so tight around my neck & shoulders. I had to wear a soft collar for over 2 months & couldn't drive for that long also. I was taking pretty many pain pills when I got home from hospital. I really was in a lot of pain. I'm sorry if this scares you to read, but I don't want to lie to you. I didn't find this site until after that surgery, so I had no idea how much pain I was going to be in. My only advice would be to make sure you keep up with your pain meds. Take them as directed & don't let the pain get ahead of you. Do you have a surgery date? Keep us posted.
  • Thanks Motor1 and Dougie for the input. Having had recent low back surgery posteriorly, I am kind of aware of what I am in for now - especially after hearing your comments. I have been dealing with chronic pain in my neck since I was 16 after I was sideswiped by an inattentive driver, and then 4 more accidents from then by bad drivers, until I got my Highlander. Now it seems people can see me on the road at least! But my head has been heavy for over 20 years - I often tell people I would like to take my head off like a hat. I think I am going to try to get a hospital bed this time. Your input on the heavy head and muscle pain inspires me to get a little extra help that way. Thanks :)
  • Yes, the head is VERY HEAVY. I believe you have a good idea of what to expect from what you have said. I have had two anterior and 3 posterior cervical surgeries and by far the posterior is the most uncomfortable. Stay in hospital with pain pump as long as you can. I am recovering from cervical spinal cord stimulator implanted in December. The left side isn't working so I may have to get a revision and I would do it again. The pain goes away eventually. Oh yeah....did we say the head is very heavy!
    7/11- ACDF C6-C7
    9/12 - posterior foraminotomy & fusion (revision) C4-C7
    8/21/13 360 cervical revision ACDF C6 and posterior instrumentation removal
    9/26/14 SCS trial
    12/21/14 permanent cervical SCS implanted battery on right upper buttock
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    Good idea to get a larger vehicle after having that many accidents! Also, good idea getting a hospital bed. I really wish I would've gotten one. My surgery was almost 1 year ago & I'm still not able to sleep in my bed for long. Good luck on your upcoming surgery. Let us know how it went & how your recovery is going.
  • I am so glad I joined this site - thank you for your support and comments. What sucks for me is that I am still recovering from my lumbar discectomy, and hurting a lot muscularly from that - trying to use machines at gym now and somehow triggered some intermittent nerve pain down my leg that was fixed from the surgery - ugh.
    The nurse from my surgeon's office called to answer some of my questions, and I was told my lumbar surgery was probably more painful than my upcoming cervical because "the back muscles are larger." But not being able to hold your head up is something I am no stranger to. My first double fusion failed because the idiot surgeon (who is dead now from a heart attack) didn't put a plate in and forced me to heavily, and immediately reduce all pain meds, so I violently threw up after withdrawing when sent home from surgery, which made my fusions fail. For 8 months I couldn't hold my own head up - can't believe I endured all that time - thank goodness for neck braces! My current surgeon is the one who "rebuilt" me back then. So I am trying to get over my fear from that horrible time in my life, and thinking nothing but positive about this next "fix" so my own emotions don't delay recovery. My surgeon is awesome and I trust him immensely. Just wish there were stronger pain meds that didn't affect your breathing...
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    Wow! I can't imagine what you went through with that neck surgery?! When I came home from the hospital, I ended up having an allergic reaction to the pain meds I was on ( I was itchy all the time in hospital). The doctor changed my pain meds but they upset my stomach really bad. I was carrying a bucket with me! I had doc get me something for nausea & I always made sure I had something in my stomach before taking them. I also took them 1/2 pill, then a half hour-hour later, I would take second 1/2. Maybe see if your doctor can give you something to relax you as you wait for your surgery?
  • I had C5, C6 T1 fusion in May 2014, this following years of pain, lots of medication, physio and epidurals. The surgery lasted almost 6 hours. I woke up in recovery with very little confusion and very much aware of the procedure that had just happened. At that point no pain (still full of pain meds!) was moved to the room a few hours later. The first thing to start hurting was the catheter, was not told pre-op but kind of guessed they would use one. moving around in the bed then became difficult with the pain in the back of my neck. Not bad pain but a lot of discomfort. I slept well all things considered and the next day physio came in to show me how to move, sit up and get out of bed. This was not very fun.
    Should mention I woke up without the hard collar I had been fitted with I was told to use it when getting in and out of bed and also when I felt to tired to keep my head up...Yes the head is very heavy!
    Operation was on Friday afternoon, I was discharged Sunday morning after a x-ray to confirm that all the hardware was in place.
    At this point I have to say that the care and professionalism of the surgeon, nurses and staff that looked after me helped to make this procedure go as smooth as possible.
    The first few days out of the hospital was tough but not bad, followup with surgeon was a week later and everyone was pleased with the rate at which I was healing. It was suggested to get a bone stimulator to help with the fusion. This I received about 2 weeks after the surgery and had to ware it around my neck 4 hours a day.
    I also asked about wearing the hard collar and was told I only needed it to keep my head from falling forward. I rarely wore it! concentrated on strengthening the other neck muscles and used it when riding in a car or getting in and out of bed.
    Within 2 weeks i was off all pain meds, that meant I could drive a car again! 3 months later I was back to work. So far all is well, I have other issues but the surgery fixed most of the issues I was having, I should have had the procedure done sooner as I ended up suffering from some nerve damage.
    We all heal different but for me the operation went well and i had much less pain then I thought. Be patient and it will heal with time, also have help. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it.
    5/23/2014 Posterior spinal fusion C5 -T1 laminotomies for decompression C5--T1 with instrumentation.
Sign In or Register to comment.