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What to expect after a Anterior Cervical Discectomy

monchandmmonchand Posts: 2
edited 07/26/2015 - 10:28 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm due a ACD next week on C3-C5, with then cages put in and plates. Does anyone know what I should expect when I come out of hospital?
Will I have a coller, what movement will I have and will I be able to do the basic things like washing and dressing myself straight after?

Many Thanks


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    It seems like every doctor is different on their restrictions after surgery. Some patients wear a soft collar, some wear a hard collar. Some don't wear any? My first neck surgery, I didn't wear any collar. My second one, I wore a soft collar for about 2 months?
    I would call your doctor & ask these questions. That way, you can be prepared once you get home.
    There's a forum on here with "must haves" after surgery. There are some great tips for people having surgery.
    Good luck with your surgery & let us know how you're doing.
  • Motor1, thanks for that I'll have a look
  • Hi Monchand,

    Just thought I would give you my experience regarding surgery 3 weeks after the fact. I was having terrible shoulder, arm and finger pain with numbness, tingling and arm weakness. The surgery went well as my surgeon said it was a success. Bear in mind that from what I've read here that everyone's experience is different as most folks problems are less or more advanced.

    For the first week and a half I thought I was in trouble because the pain was worse, the weakness was worse and the numbness and tingling were more pronounced. Add to the fact that was sore and hurting from the surgery itself (pain meds were a necessity for me). However, after a week and a half I started to see improvement, especially with the pain. Little by little I needed less pain meds along with less muscle relaxers (I was having bad muscle spasms in my shoulder) the spasms got better with these as well as 5 days of steroids for the amount of inflammation I was experiencing.

    Regarding your question, I did need help from my wife for the first couple of days to a week to wash and dress myself as I was still in a lot of pain and stiff. As far as mobility, I can move my neck some but they don't want me doing much at this time. I will find out more on my next follow up next month.

    The mental hurdle was difficult to overcome but I was encouraged when I started making progress. Today, 3 weeks later the pain is significantly better than before the surgery. This in itself made it a success as far as I'm concerned. My arm is still weak, and 3 of my fingers are numb and still feel asleep but I can move them just fine as well as some numbness on my arm. There is now virtually no tingling. I have not taken pain meds or relaxers for 4-5 days. I still have the numbness and weakness but I've been told it takes a while for nerve damage to heal and even a chance it may not get better. However, like I said, it was worth it to have such an improvement in pain and tingling.

    I hope in the coming weeks as my neck continues to heal that the residual pain in my fingers will leave and the numbness will get better. As far as the collar, I wore the soft collar for most of the time per doctors instructions for the first week and a half. Now I only wear it when riding in a car or sleeping. I was told I wouldn't need it anymore in two more weeks when I can start driving again. Again, most folks instructions with a collar are specific to their doctors instructions.

    Anyhow, just thought I would share my personal experience if it could be of help somehow. I'm sure everything will go ok for you and wish you well.
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