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Posterior C4-C7 on 5/27, 4 fusion

biergottbbiergott Posts: 3
edited 05/21/2015 - 7:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Headed in for a posterior fusion for C4 through C7 on 5/27. Right around the corner and getting extremely nervous.

This will be my fourth fusion, I am 41, male and physically active/healthy. First was C6/C7 anterior diskectomy fusion and plating. After a year and a half the fusion was non-union (donor bone), so I went back in and had it redone after harvesting from my hip

Then about 2 years after that, in late 2013, I had anterior diskectomy, fusion and plating for C4-C6. SInce the first fusion was non-union, the discs above didnt reverse trend and heal like he had hoped.

Countless epidural steroid injections, multiple PT stints and who knows how many pain meds and muscle relaxers later, I am really back to square one.

Fast forward to fall of 2014, I was still having nearly 24/7 muscle spasms, the curvature of my spine was straightening and the numbness in my fingers and pain down my arms had returned. MRI, XRAY and CT all showed good unions so the neuro couldn't figure it out. So he ordered a few difference bone scans, and said one of them "lit up like a Christmas tree." Basically, due to the spasms, I was having microfractures daily and he recommended the posterior with rods to "lock it up." I like the odds he gave of 90% (vs 50% on the others), but honestly, I am scared to death about this surgery. Everything I read sounds like it will be excruciating. Even my pain management doctor said he doesn't want me to remember anything during the first 4 days, but for a few months I will be miserable.

Anyone else been through something similar? I guess I'm just looking for something optimistic, because right now, I am really wondering if this is going to be worth it.


  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    Although I didn't have as many levels done as you will be having, I can tell you that posterior surgery is much more painful than the anterior surgery. And the recovery is harder & longer.
    I stayed 3 days in the hospital. Just make sure you keep up on your pain meds when you get home. Don't let the pain get ahead of you. And get yourself some Collace or something to keep your bowels moving while you are taking strong pain meds.
    I can remember at my post surgery follow up with my doctor, I was telling him that it felt like my neck was exploding!?
    It is a long recovery, but if it gives you a stable neck, then it will be worth it.
    Good luck & keep in touch.
  • Hi, Sorry to hear you are going through this. I had C4-C7 fused 2 years ago. At the time it was emergency surgery as my cord was being crushed. Additionally I had lost all the curve in my spine. For me it all happened so fast I didn't have much time to prepare or to think about what I was about to go through. I can tell you that I have had 5 spine surgeries (severe DDD) and this one in terms of pain was the easiest. But pain control is the key. I had a pain pump in the hospital and when I came home I had plenty of long acting ER opioids with IR opioids for breakthrough. That is key to recovery. Pain is not your friend and can prolong healing. I suggest that you have all your post drugs arranged with your doc before the surgery. As Motor1 suggested Colace is great too. I took it 3x per day (100mg) and didn't have an issue most of the time. Sometimes I would increase to 400 mgs per day if needed but never had a problem with constipation.

    I was in the hard collar for 4 months and that was trying.

    I wish you the best of luck. Lisa

  • biergottbbiergott Posts: 3
    edited 05/22/2015 - 5:43 PM
    Thanks for the info, kinda what I feared. But thanks for the tip on the pain meds. I won't mess around.
  • OI8T12OOI8T12 Posts: 44
    edited 05/23/2015 - 9:41 AM
    Hi biergott I'm going in the day before you, Tuesday, May 26th for a 4-level fusion of C3-C7. Like you I'm also excited and nervous. This will be my first neck surgery, but I have had lower back surgery 24 years ago. Good luck with your surgery, and please keep us posted on how you're doing. Good luck. :)

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I like you was scared to death of all the horror stories and yes even warning of the surgeon that I could wake up on a vent if I swell too much and the pain will be bad. I can give you my story, when I woke up in my room my surgeon was sitting in a chair waiting on me to wake up and the first thing that came out of my mouth was what the H##l did you do to me? He stated just as we discussed and upped my meds. One word of advice ask for a prescription for a hospital bed for home. The first day was tough but I was up walking every hour that night. Getting up from a lying down position is what gets you. I would yell out a warrior cry for about the first week trying to get up. Once I was up I was good. It is the muscles that get so angry during this surgery so make sure you take them as prescribed for the first few weeks. I went back to work at week 4. FYI I did end up getting a prescription for a hospital bed and it did help getting up tremendously. Good luck
  • Thanks for all of the comments. Surgery is in 10 hours. Have to be to the hospital at 5:30 am so a little less than 8 hours. Looking forward to the hibiclens shower at 4am. Not sure why, but I am extremely nervous right now, actually have the shakes. Never before have I had any issues with surgery, and I've had quite a few. Hopefully I'll be able to get some sleep tonight. Anyway, thank you all again for the comments and info!
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    Keep us posted & let us know how your surgery went.
  • Please let us know how you are. Can't wait to hear from you.

  • Biergott will be praying for you tomorrow . Please let us know in a few days how things went.
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