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very nercous upcoming acdf surgery

kimmeamkkimmeam Posts: 149
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello to all
I am finally scheduled for my acdf surgery on the 8th. I am hoping to be pain free & the nubness gone. I am concerned with the whole recovery & healing process.
The surgeon tells me that I should be able to return to work for a couple hours at a time in 3 to 4 weeks. This is good as no work no pay. I am hoping to go back sooner. Is that possible?
I have 3 bad discs & he is fusing just 1. I asked why he couldn't fix them all at once. I didn't understand completely but something like a 3 level fusion would leave my neck very stiff & limited movement. Does this mean I'll have to have the others fixed in the future. I've heard that fusion can weaken the discs abouve & below.
What do I do when I get home?
Any supplies I should have on hand?
What was helpful to you?
How were you able to sleep?
Medications? They do send you home with something? I have vicodin 7.25 that doesn't cut it now.
Sorry for the ramble, just very nervous & lots of ?s. Never had a surgery before.


  • Which levels are you going to have fused?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • Thanks for your reply. I am having c56 fused.
    I work for an Optometrist as Office Manager. Will be able to "take it easy" at the office.
  • about how many levels they think should be fused. One neuro told my husband he needed FOUR done, whereas he had it done by a guy who thought that wasn't a good idea, and fused 2 levels. My husband wasn't having pain symptoms, but numbness due to severe compression. That was fixed. Lots of people do live with herniated discs, so I guess it's a trade off. If you are young, you might not want a multi level fusion.

    BTW, except for having to go back to the hospital for a bladder infection, Dave is fine---a week after surgery. He is off pain meds.You will do great. One surgeon said he had a patient(another Dr.) go back to work in 2 weeks.

    Linda MI
  • My DO won't let anyone go back to work until at least the 6 week mark. But as Linda above said, it depends on the doctor.

    I guess the biggest concern my doctor has is driving and wanting to make sure you actually do start to fuse before he lets you back to work. I know I'd be a little afraid to drive and try to bend my neck and not have a good ROM.

    I will admit, I've had a few days where I get the numbness, but nothing compared to before the surgery. I have been in an Aspen collar 23 hours a day too. UGH...can't wait til I can take it off.
  • Thanks for the info. It's comforting to know you are doing well post op. I wouldn't be driving, I could get a ride to come in for a while. I will wear a collar as long as I feel I should per DR.
    5 weeks after surgery you sometimes have numbness, is the arm & neck pain gone?
    I do not have my MRI report in front of me (at work)but the words, mylepothy, stenosis, bone spurs & herniation appear consistantly.
    What about the cut in your neck? How big? Painful?
    Thanks again for all experience & advice & words of wisdom
  • Yes, my doctor did say it could take a while sometimes up to a year for everything to feel better. The nerve apparently is trying to figure out what happened and is healing so that's the kind of cool part about our bodies.

    As far as the incision..mine is about 3" long and was done in a natural fold in my neck so it's really not too noticeable. Painful? Not really at all. I did find out that there were sutures underneath when one of them started sticking out and I called the doctor's office panicking thinking they forgot something. These do dissolve after 3 weeks.

    My DO's office nurse has been the best...every time I have a question, she's there to call me back within at least 2 hours.
  • Hi Kim, I just had c5/6-c6/7 fused on 7/22/08, with bone grafts from my hip. All went well and had/have some minor discomfort of various types. Hip is sore mostly but I think it was the right decision given the higher rate of fusion success. Had some spasms and severe neck pain that has been manageable with muscle-relaxants. Taking Hydrocodone for pain which makes the hip pain tolerable. I'm two weeks post-op and have begun working from home - I too have an administrative job so you'll just have to do what you can - if you don't have the auto-graft you should be in much better shape. The incision in the neck is a minor nuisance and there is only minor discomfort. The neck is a little stiff but that gets better each day. The severe arm pain/numbness down my arm has totally resolved so all in all I'd say it was a success. You just have to take it slow. Get several ice packs, and some waterproof bandages. You might need somebody to help you get around the first couple of days. I was up and walking with assistance the next day, and by day 7 I was out on the sidewalk by myself. Had some issues with swallowing for about 5 days after surgery, just be careful and get some popsicles and you'll get through it. Two weeks later it feels like my throat is swollen but it gets better each day. Just drink ice water slowly and that helps with the swelling. Hope this helps and good luck!!
  • You should be home and starting to feel a little bit better by now, so....how did it go???
  • I had mine done on 18 July with titanium plate at C 6/7. Since has been on hospital leave till Aug 5 and had a 2nd review on that day and then asked to stay at home and rest till Aug 26 and then have another review on Aug 26.

    The importat is rest well and if given the neck brace, use it. the neck brace help to restrict the range of motion of the neck for a period to allow the ingrwoth of the bone. Listen to the doctor.

    Stay positive. Hope all is well with you.

    Cheers !

  • I am home! Came home late monday afternoon. After 3 days in the hospital I was ready. My oxygen level was much to low 73 resting to come home on Sunday as planned.
    Everyday is getting better. The pain & numbness in my right side is much better. Now I have moderate to severe pain on my left side! Hoping it is just the healing process. The golf ball I thought I swallowed has shrunk to a marble. Getting easier to swallow. Above the incission is still numb as well as part of my tongue. I have my 1 week post op today. Optimistic that all is well, as I feel a bit better & get around more each day.
    I had acdf c 5/6 with titanium plate & screws & bone spurs removed on 08/08/08.
    Thank you for your thoughts & well wishes. Much appreciated!
  • Please let us know how your follow up goes.
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