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3 Weeks Post Op, ACDF, 2 Level C5, C6,

LamManLLamMan Posts: 121
edited 05/21/2015 - 12:42 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all, I've been reading everything here before my April 6th surgery I figure I share my experience to everyone.

A little background first, I am 52, because of some neck and shoulder pain, I found out I had a reverse neck curve (Cervical Kyphosis?) over 20 years ago and at that time a chiropractor did a few things and it seems to help and I forgot about it, then about 10 years ago, there is numbness on my left thumb, index and middle fingers, another x-ray was done... first word out of the doctor's mouth was " well, that neck will never get straighten out, you will have issue later in life" I did some PT and exercise, Relafen was prescribed to me, took it for a few months, symptoms went away.

The past couple of years, I notice when I look up or stand very straight (head, shoulder and back touching the wall) , my right arm started to have tingling sensation... but I didn't do anything to it because I can manage not looking up for a extended amount of time.

Fast forward to New Year 2015, I suddenly lost most of the strength of my bicep and shoulder (deltoid) muscle, my grip is good. My primary care doctor refer me to a physiatrist, he did an xray, as soon as he saw the X-ray he had me to do an MRI within 30 minutes. it shows my C5, C6 is in pretty bad shape. Saw a neurosurgeon in pretty short time and decided to do a ACDF, the whole thing was moving pretty quick at that time. One thing I want to tell everyone is I never experience any pain during this ordeal, I just have muscle weakness (I couldn't hold a cup straight out)

Operation was 3 weeks ago, the first day was a little rough, sore throat and didn't eat much at all, had some apple sauce that night ( it was REALLY GOOD), sore throat still there the next day but I was able to eat scrambled eggs and other soft stuff. I never have problem with meds so I didn't get any bad reaction with all that stuff they pumped into my body. lunch was Mac and cheese, pain was there but manageable with meds, by the 4th day my incision was dry and I basically starting to eat pretty normal (no steaks but you know what I mean). Like most people, the muscle pain from the neck brace is worse than anything, and the first week or two, eating is a very exhausting activity.

One week out everything is almost back to normal, no new pain, left arm feels a little ache in the morning, eating normal, bathroom and shower all good, I get tired pretty easy and take naps here and there. My weakness is still there but like the Dr. office said, if it doesn't come back right after surgery it will take a while to come back "IF" it comes back (60% chance to get better is the statistic according to them)

My three weeks Post Op went well, X-Ray looks good, no screw loose lol, there is an area (1"x2") in my back is numb but I think it's getting better slowly. I am still sleeping on my recliner and I have to wear the neck brace for 3 more weeks (Miami J) , most days I don't even feel I had an major surgery three weeks ago. Another Post Op appointment is scheduled three weeks later, they might start PT to get my strength back at the time and I probably will go back to work as soon as they clear me to drive.

Overall it's a positive experience for me. I feel very blessed compare to a lot of people in this forum who are suffering with pain everyday. I will keep everyone posted with my recovery.

Thanks for reading, best wishes to anyone who is dealing with spine issues, feel free to ask any questions!




  • jules9909jjules9909 Posts: 26
    edited 04/28/2015 - 5:05 AM
    Good to know as I have the surgery next week! I need to remember to have plenty of soft food handy when I get home afterwards.

  • jules9909 said:
    Good to know as I have the surgery next week! I need to remember to have plenty of soft food handy when I get home afterwards.
    Good Luck Julie, let us know how it goes... and yes, soft food and bendable straws.

  • I drive my husband nuts since the kids and I love to use bendable straws and inevitably some of them end up in the sink with the cups. I think I shall store some in my bedroom so that first few days I don't have to ask anyone to get me a straw from the kitchen if I am laying down (probably won't matter because I bet I am going to prefer the recliner at firs anyway).

  • Asil65AAsil65 Posts: 112
    edited 05/01/2015 - 12:22 PM
    Ugh , Kenny I know the Miami brace. That one seems to never fit right. I am a PT ( physical therapist). The fit is never perfect with that collar. You are so lucky to never have had any pain. My arm pain was unbelievable. Even felt worse than having a baby without pain meds. OUch! Great ideas about soft foods. So your throat is pretty sore still. I have numbness in my thumb and first two fingers. Doc thinks that the arm pain will be completely gone after surgery May 13 but the sensation nmay take up to 8 months to return. So glad you are doing well . Keep us posted with suggestions and updates. Lisa
  • I have been reading the post and realize how different recovery seems to be for everyone. Some are doing well...I am glad, while others have a little while to go - Hang in there.

    I had multiple discs and bone spurs removed c#4-7, in January. As of April, I am still not back to work. My left arm has limited range of motion, my neck and shoulder constantly hurt and I am suffering from unilateral paralysis of my vocal chords. Between voice therapy, physical therapy and now a spine stimulator, my doctor and I are doing everything we can to get me back to full health. I tried in March to return to work and my voice would not cooperate (that's imperative, I am a pastor). My voice is not only raspy, but sometimes disappears all together. My arm and shoulder cause me severe pain. Lately, the back of my neck hurts a lot. Because I have been away from my church since the surgery, it has been suggested that I take a voluntary leave of absence and move toward applying for medical leave. I have not taken a voluntary leave, but have applied for medical leave. Little did I know this surgery was going to render me incapable of working...uggghhh...However, I trust my doctor and will continue to get as healthy as I can. My hope for all of you is that you get better soon! Remember, everyone's experience is different. Do not base your pre-op or post - op experience on someone else's.
  • I am scheduled for ACDF at C4-5 next week, May 15. Asil65 it looks like we'll be on a similar recovery road. I have had this done before 17 years ago on C5-6, 6-7. I said I would not do it again, and here I am dreading it. I didn't realize with my first surgery that it would take so long for the damaged nerves to recover and the symptoms to resolve in my arm/hands. This time, I don't have as much pain going into the surgery, but need the surgery for disc herniation that is causing cord compression that needs to be relieved. It does seem as though people don't all have the same experience. I am hoping so that there will be less postoperative pain this time. I will be more assertive this time about needing pain management than I was last time. Last time I just figured what I was going through was the norm, but I have heard others say it wasn't all that bad. Good luck to all of us!
  • Do you mind telling me what your cord compression symptoms are like? Are they affecting your Legs? I am making sure I get pain meds. Funny thing is I have no neck pain just referred pain from C7 radiculopathy in my arm, weakness decreased reflexes in arm and a bit of shoulder pain from time to time. So NS says my arm pain will be gone when I wake up but I guess I will have new neck pain and throat pain from the procedure. Hoping for this to be very temporary.
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