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Whole body numb after ACDF

eRBeeRB Posts: 2
edited 10/21/2015 - 12:15 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi, I just had ACDF on C6-7 four days ago and I have a post op question about numbness. Unplanned surgery --heavy legs and coordination hit me suddenly. I had been doing PT for awhile for the arm pain but did not have any scans until symptoms suddenly got worse. Spinal cord had 75% impingement. I was very happy with how I felt after surgery as my wife had C5-7recently revised and recovery has been slow. I have no pain, but I am now numb from head to toe. It feels like I just rolled around in snow and jumped in hot tub. Surgeons are not surprised than nerves are agitated due to size of herniation.
Has anyone else had similar post op experience and how long should I expect this to last? I was athletic with no other risk factors. My wife is still recovering from her revision so I need to get on the mend. ******************************************************************************************************
My background

I am 45 years old. I was told I had arthritis and degenerative discs about 16 years ago and initially Handled with exercise and NSAIDs . Then I got busy w work and kids and put on 30 lbs. which led to herniated L4/5 10 years ago. After PT and epidural it was treated w micro-disectomy. Recovery was quick. I started exercising again and lost 25 lbs. but walking crooked had taken toll on right knee and wore away cartilage . They fixed that w high tibia osteotomy. That recovery went well after 3 months bed rest. I have been exercising routinely (mostly push-ups, pull-ups and elliptical). For past three years I had trigger points in left scapula and PCP prescribed Mobic, muscle relaxers and massage. Went away except for occasional numbness by scapula. If I kept up with my pull-ups , my neck would not ache. 2 months ago I woke with sharp pain down left arm. Saw PCP again and was given Mobic and muscle relaxers again. Started PT and pain went away for the most part. Was about to get discharged from PT as pain was under control. but Thursday night it started aching a bit again. Did my stretches and exercises and went to a volunteer event on Friday where I was doing light construction. Took Motrin and then Tylenol to muscle though day (not smartest move I admit). I was managing until after lunch when I started to feel numb and heavy in legs. I had trouble walking to car and decided to go to ER. While waiting for MRI sitting in bed with neck in neutral position , all they symptoms got better. But as soon as I laid flat for MRI, the pain escalated down both arms. The ER Doctor informed me that I had a large herniation at C6-7 and spinal cord was 75% compressed. By the morning I was having ACDF. Surgery was uneventful. Neurosurgeon said the herniation must have been gradually getting worse over time and body was compensating until it couldn't anymore. (The MRI Was first imaging of neck in 16 years). He remarked several times about size of herniation and said he removed 3 large pieces from canal and any one piece would have been considered large. I was happy to wake up pain free after surgery and told surgeon about numbness I was feeling from toes to fingers. He said he wasn't surprised due to the size of the herniation and spinal cord was adjusting to not being compressed . I know I should be happy to be pain free, but wonder how long to expect to remain numb. Fingers, arms, trunk, legs, toes are all numb and tingly. Walking feels odd. The numbness I felt the day before surgery went away when my neck was in neutral position before surgery. Now it is constant. the only med I am taking is muscle relaxer.

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 10/21/15 10:18 est

L4/5 disectomy 2005, HTO 2009, C6/7 ACDF 2015


  • ShelleyazSShelleyaz Posts: 63
    edited 10/21/2015 - 4:51 AM
    I had a little tingling (like before surgery) in my hand after surgery which went away within the first week (my immediate recovery has been amazing so don't judge my timeframe to yours, I was off narcotics at 1 week). If you feel your NS is not listening, you might want to call your primary doctor and go in for a chat.
    C4-C5 ACDF surgery with plating August 28.
    cord compression due to disc-osteophyte complex
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