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C5-C6 acdf surgery tips

Monica0305MMonica0305 Posts: 12
edited 05/25/2015 - 7:42 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi this is my first time posting something on a site like this. I am going to have my C5-C6 acdf surgery in 21 days and I am really scared. I have heard many positive stories but you still have all the worries in your mind! I wanted to know how much time people usually take off work for this. I work with babies 0-3 with special needs. I lift them and carry them and help them walk, lots of physical activity. My doctor said 3-4 months but I sometimes feel that may not be enough. Also has anyone got a hard Collar for just a level 1 C5-C6. I feel I need a hard one so I don't move my neck as much. I have been reading that people are using the soft collars. I will be spending 1 day in the hospital, if there is any things or tips that could help me please send them my way. I am very worried and would appreciate any info I can get about time off of work, equipment like a collar that will be worn, and about the pain level you felt after surgery! Thanks so much in advanced and wishe me luck!
Monica Gomez :)


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Monica,
    I had one level ACDF (C6/7) done 6 weeks ago and was required to wear a hard collar 24/7 (except for showering) for the 6 weeks - no work as couldn't drive, but doctor cleared me to work from home (desk job) half days for the last two weeks. Don't underestimate recovery needs. I thought at 3 weeks I was pretty well bullet proof - this surgery has a way of letting you know you have a ride ahead of you!
    I kept a pretty comprehensive day by day, blow by blow thread under the Surgery Recovery forum (My C6/7 Pre and Post Op Journey...might be a good read as some seriously beautiful people joined in on it and we shared a lot.
    Take care and good luck!
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • Thanks for the info and I will check out your posts. I feel so overwhelmed! I just want to get better and not hurt anymore! All the info I have read has been helpful and I am counting down scared and excited at the same time! This site is great and helps out with so many questions! Thanks again for the support!
    Monica Gomez :)
  • I had a 2 level ACDF C5 C6 7 weeks ago. hard collar for 6 weeks, now soft collar for a few more weeks. My lifting limit increased to 20 pounds after 6 weeks, the limitation stays until my August Appointment. I took 2 months off, my job is mostly standing, some walking and sitting, lift only minor things (laptops)

    If I were you, I would take as much time off as you are allowed / able / afford to! Like Rich said, the recovery is full of ups and downs, a small hick up or accident can set you back a few weeks. Lifting babies and kids are different than laptops... the kids move around and you might need to turn your head more often to avoid those little hands. (you move your head a LOT more than you think)

    Here is a link to Rich's recovery, very good read.

    All of us here went through the surgery understand what you going through, we are here to support you.
  • You are right! I am going to try to take as much off as I can! Babies are unpredictable so I am better safe than sorry! I have had so much anxiety lately is that normal do others feel that way? The support from people is amazing cause I feel like everyone here knows what it is like and understands! Thanks so everyone in advanced for responding and providing support to me! Good luck to anyone else having the surgery!
    Monica Gomez :)
  • Asil65AAsil65 Posts: 112
    edited 05/28/2015 - 6:23 PM
    Did not have to wear a collar- did buy one when I drove 8 hours to Virginia in back for a wedding 1 1/2 weeks post surgery.
    Could not lift anything greater than 12 pounds - doc just upped it to 15
    Was just told not to do chin tucks anymore
    Take the pain meds but definitely the stool softeners and laxatives. Those meds bind you up.
    Got a cervical bone stimulator today at my post op visit. I think because I am a diabetic I am at risk for not fusing. I have to wear it daily for four hours. It is a collar that goes around your neck and is supposed to assist in the healing process of the fusion. You will do awesome. Very sore for first few days but will fell so much better after that.
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