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Cervical surgery with ADR at C6/7 done

KayanoKKayano Posts: 31
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:21 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi All,

I am new here. Kayano from Singapore. I male 46 yrs old, non-smoker and non-drinker. An avid runner and completed 5 marathons and 3 ultramarathons. The latest being the 84km Ultramarathon.

Recalling the whole ordeal, I had a fall during my 84km run. Protruded on the floor and twisted my head and neck. Hard knock on both knee and had a bruised left elbow as I used it to block my landing on the hard ground. Went for an X-Ray two days later on my knee, right foot. No internal bone crack. This is good news. Since then was having pain at the right back shoulder blade and occasional sharp pain on the right back shoulder blade. Didn't think much of it and thought it was just muscle ache or spasm due to the long running and will go away. I was very wrong.

So one fine morning after my overseas business trip, got a sudden pain in the neck, right shoulder and right arm. Constant pain throughout the whole arm. It was just out of the blue one fine morning. I couln't get up of bed and the constant pain was very painful on the whole right arm and shoulder. Something was very wrong so suddenly.

Before that few days, I was out of country on a business trip and I was perfectly alright except the nagging pain on the right back shoulder blade. Return back to Singapore and rested at home that day and the next morning, it just happened for no apparent reason. As a runner, listening to my body and knew for sure something was very wrong. What could it be? No ideal at all. I had no answer to the pain. This is more than muscle ache and spasm.

Admitted to the hospital and doctor suspected the nerve being pinched. I didn't even know what was that and no idea about such condition nor have a chance to google for details.

To relieve the pain, I have to place my right arm upon my head and this relieved the pain on the right arm. Once I put the right arm down, the pain will start again. Discovered placing the arm on the head by chance as I was trying to find a position to relieve the pain. The spine consultant(my surgeon) at the hospital told me that it was the right way to relieve the nerve pain. Hurray ! But I can't go round walking with one arm placing on top of my head. During my stay in the hospital, it raised some curious looks from other people and some took a second hard look at me. I just smiled.

During my stay in the hospital, I received some 12 injections of pain killer (pethidine). Actually it just made me sleepy. My left arm and right arm muscles were sored due to the injections. On the first day in the hospital, I had 5 injections of pain killer and the pain just couldn't go away. Finally, they administered pethidine and that make me very sleepy. So each night before I sleep, I will call the nurse and they will give a shot of pethiline. Each night the arm will take turn to receive the injection. The most injections I had in my whole life !

PT can't do much to the neck. They put a soft collar guard to prevent further movement of the neck after they discovered it was a disc pressing the nerve root at C6/7 through the MRI scan. Beautiful. Now I know what in the world is going on and what cause of the pain.

The Senior Surgeon recommended surgery and presented with the option of materials to use.

Discussed with my wife and also seek another medical spine surgeon from another hospital for a 2nd opinion. Both spine surgeons gave the same view. The decision lies with me.

I opted for surgery with a metal titanium coated disc over bone grafting fusion. The metal disc is very expensive and cost some S$8000. The next few days of waiting for my name to be listed for surgery, it was really a mental marathon of my life.

Finally, the day came. I told my Surgeon that we will run this marathon race together and finish the race together with a "sub-4 timing".

Surgery done on 18 July. Went into OT at 3pm and woke up at 8pm. Was awaken when they did the fibertube insertion into my nose and after that, I couldn't remember a thing. The anterior surgey was a "sub-3 hour" despite the long wait and preparation. I was in the recovery room for 1 hour. My surgeon told me that the surgery started at 5pm and ended at 7pm. Wow...2 hours. A "sub-3 timing" beating the best marathon runner in the world and not even Paula Radcliff nor the Kenyan runner can come near that. May be in the Olympic. Ha...Ha...

Back to my ward room at 9pm. The pain was gone and the numbness on the right ring finger and thumb were gone with the exception of the right index and middle fingers. I was alert and talking to my wife and daughter. Next the ward doctor came and checked on me. The next day mornn=ing at 5am, I was pushed with the whole bed for a cervial spine X-ray. My surgeon visited me the morning and viewed the X-Ray and was very happy with the outcome. I too was very happy as the pain was gone.

Was discharged on 22 July and now back home. During my time at home, the numbness on the right index and middle fingers gradually going off.

Back to the hospital on 5 Aug for a 2nd review and X-Ray. The new disc set very well with the rest of the vertebral and the alignment was great. The surgeon was very pleased with my progress and the outcome of the surgery. The next review is on 26 Aug. According to my surgeon, it takes 6 weeks for the new disc implant to settle well and for the surrounding bone to growth into the new disc.

The new disc is cobalt chrome alloy with titanium coating something like that. On the X-ray I can see 3 sharp teeth on the top and bottom plate. No screw used at all. Next visit I will get the exact name of the disc implant. The stitching was done inside out on the neck and no need to remove the stitches. It will dissolve over time. Cool ! The wound was healing well. Eventually I will see a line on the front of the neck just near the throat on the rigth side. This beautiful.

Yes. I need to wear the Aspen Collar guard to keep my head and neck straight and upright. Not allow to turn my head and neck and cannot carry anything more than 5kg.

No more pain. The numbness on the right index and middle fingers is getting lesser and lesser. Thank God for a successful surgery. My two weeks stay in the hospital was a delighted experience. I was a delighted patient and customer !

I am recovery well and wearing the Aspen collar guard and walking around the house.

It was after all this ordeal and I wanted to find out more that I googled the net and found this nice and wonderful forum. Was reading through and realised I am not alone and this is something not new in the medical areana and decided to sign up to learn and share.

In medical term, this is called degenerative disease of the spine (spondylosis). It just happened to me too fast if not for the trauma fall that I sustained during the run. Over period, it is also due to wear and tear of the spine resulting in the degeneration which the disc may cause it to bulge and compress spinal cord or nerves which will produce pain in the neck, back, arm or leg, and even numbness or weakness.

Cheers !
Kayano (my nickname and my running friends called me by this)



  • what a story! I am very happy things are going so good.
  • Hope you are healing well. I read your post, and I am also a runner with cervical problems. I have not had surgery. Do you think you will be able to return to running in the future? Have you received any advice from your docs on this? (I take it your nickname is after the Asics shoe hee hee?) ;) --Mazy
  • Mazy,

    Dave quit running----what was thought to be a knee issue was really from C5,6,7. Who would have known??? His neuro said he would run again!! Of course, this Dr. ran the Boston. I hope he is right. I run, too. I'm not fast but it keeps me young!

    Linda MI
  • Hey Linda, good to hear from you!! How is Dave doing? All the years I have been running, and I never had any knee problems. So lucky! I'm 54,so I've had aches and pains. I've seen two N/S that said running didn't cause my cervical probs, and I need to live my life and run! It's good to hear other docs agree. Keep us posted on Dave's progress. ---Mazy
  • Dave just turned 57 and I am 56. This goes to show that we don't have to completely fall apart after 50!! I am on my way to aerobics this morning. All of this keeps me from getting stiff. I am lucky my knees are still fine. Actually, Dave got an elliptical after he started having back problems (which he thought was a knee problem). But, it's not the same as running outside!

    He is doing great. No problems (knock on wood)! I have to drive of course, but he has been living his life ---going out to eat, the movies, walking etc. The collar is a great conversation starter. I am a newly retired teacher, so I will not be bored when school starts---thinking of things for us to do, to get him out of the house!

  • What an ordeal and story. I am so very glad that your surgery and recovery is going so well!!! Please keep us all posted. Oh yeah by the way welcome to spinehealth!!! :) Here is a big ole hug from me in Texas to you in Singapore!! >:D< .
  • Welcome to SH. What a story you have. My ordeal all started suddenly too. Can't really pinpoint any one thing that might have caused my problems, but I knew I had to have something done. In June I had ACDF surgery, two levels. Has taken away all of my symptoms that I went in with. I now think I'm having some arthritis going on in my thumbs. Not really sure, but it's new and different from the reasons for my surgery.

    I'm also a runner. I'm really missing running. Tomorrow is my 8 week checkup, so hope to get a good report and start working out like I used to and at least running a little. But of course I will follow doctor's orders so as not to mess up anything or risk the fusion taking place.

    Well, again welcome to the group and keep us posted on your recovery.

  • Hi Patsy, Mazy, DaveM1652, Terri72, moni608,

    Thanks for writing and cheering. I'm into the4th week of the post-op. So far so good. The numbness is gradually going away except the stubborn on the index and middle finger tips.

    Before the ops, I asked my surgeon whether I will be able to go back running like running 5k, 10k, 21k and even a marathon. He said you will be able. Guess it is a matter of time to let the new disc settle down with the ingrowth of bones on the disc. Surprising till now eversince the surgery, there is no surgerical wound pain though they cut some 3 to 4 inches length at the front of the neck near the throat on the right side. This is surprising and amazing.

    Already get use to sleeping on the bed straight with the Aspen collar guard and taking my medicine(neurontin, ultracet and Daneuron)accordingly.

    Yep...Asics Kayano shoe is where I got the nick. Before this happened, I ran 3 times a week. The LSD is for weekend of 25km to 30km run. Mileage colock per week is between 35km to 40km. My last run was 10km and this happened. Now I have to take a break. I had to let go a few furture runs like this month end half-marathon and yearend full marathon. Just need to take a break now and I shall return to running once I am certified to run again by my doctor. My dream is to run the Mongolia sunrise-to-sunset 100km. I hope one day that dream will come for me.

    Cheers !

  • Keep us posted on your progress. I'm sure your fitness level will help speed up your recovery! We're pulling for you!---Mazy
  • Kayano,

    I just returned from my eight week checkup this morning and have the all-clear to return to all my normal activities including working out, weights, etc., and best of all no Aspen collar. No running yet or cycling outdoors until my next recheck and x-ray in 3 months. My doctor said if everything keeps going as good as it is now, then probably will be able to add running and cycling back then. I can't wait!

    I'm actually registered to run the Rock-n-Roll Marathon here in San Antonio in November but instead will be walking it, or at least the half. Don't want to let my registration go to waste and if walking is all I can do as far as being able to participate, then that's what I'll do.

    Keep on your good recovery and let us hear from you from time to time.

  • I think it's great that you are planning to walk the RnR in SA this November! It's the inaugural RnR in SA, right? That will be a great accomplishment considering you have had surgery. How did your symptoms begin? BTW--my hubby and I got married on Marriage Island in S.A. Please keep posting your progress or PM me. Good luck!--Mazy
  • I didn't journal much on the hospital stay however I do have some digital pictures that was taken with my hanphone and my wife's handphone. Enjoy the picture by clicking on the link. Let me know if it works.


  • Hi Kayano. Great pictures! I am living in Singapore and had both my spine surgeries here, but not at CGH.

    Your running is inspirational and I hope that you can get back into it soon! The Mongolia sunrise-to-sunset sounds cool. I am not into running but my wife and I are into trekking - we climbed kinabalu 3 months after my second lumbar surgery last year and we want to go to nepal or tibet and do some trekking there next year.

    All the best to you... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Nice pic,s,it worked great,glad your on the road to recovery!
  • Those are very good pictures. Thanks for sharing your experience with us all. You have a beautiful family as well. Keep on getting better and please keep us posted as you progress.
  • Thank you for posting this! YOU are an inspiration! What a great family! The pics of your little girl imitating your arm position are so cute! I'm not much of a traveler, so it's fun to see pics of different places. And, you look so cheerful! You are obviously much loved--God Bless YOU! and thank you for posting and helping others!--Mazy
  • Thanks for sharing. You have some very cool photo albums on line. Your daughter is adorable.

  • Hi Uncle Bruce,

    I read your story and also took a peek at your mountain climbing website. Wonderful pictures you have there !

    I met Dr Eddie Chang for a 2nd opinion on the option for surgery after showing him my MRI scan images on the CD.

    Fully agreed that we need to have a positive attitude when we go into the OT. I was in positive moods. As I await in the preparation, I sensed as if I was in heaven and the people are like angels and I told myself that God is using the angels to prepare a new spare parts for me. I just relax. Until now, there is no surgery wound pain at all. Wonderful !

    Thanks haglandc, Mazy, Terri72 and Patsy for your kind words. Glad you enjoy the pictures. >:D<

    Cheers !

  • Hey kayano, please don't call me Uncle - I am only a year or 2 older than you! haha. We have wonderful doctors and facilities in Singapore and I think that you and I had 2 of the best docs in the business!

    I like your analogy with angels preparing new spare parts for you :) Please keep posting here about your progress - it gives hope to others who are considering similar surgery.

    All the best!

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • ...ha..ha... bro Bruce,

    agreed we are blessed to have such wonderful docs in Singapore.

    Cheers !
  • This week marks 6 weeks POST-OP since July 18.

    Met my surgeon this morning and had an x-ray and review. All is ok so far.

    I asked about the name of the implant used and here it is :

    DISCOVER from DePuy Johnson & Johnson.



    I will be back to work after Sep 14. My next review will be in October.

    Cheers !

  • Thank you for posting your story and pictures! It makes me not feel so alone in having the disc replacement surgery. My surgery was on my C5-6! I had it done on August 18th. I had shoulder pain and numbness that went down my left arm. My surgical cut is more on the left side of my neck..so I wonder if the cut has anything to do with what side you have numbness down your arm!! :? Did your hospital bed automatically adjust to you?? I had this bed that even if you pressed the buttons to adjust it would adjust to your body even after that, which always made me uncomfortable!! I only stayed in the hospital for one day, that also being part of my motivation to leave. Your disc looks much more comfortable than mine, I have the Prestige Disc:

    Did the morphine help you at all?? I had this wonderful nurse who spoke to one of the doctors for me. I talked to her about the fact that this is the day after my surgery and morphine wasn't working for me. She mentioned combining medications and I mentioned that my take home medicine was percocet. It was like a miricle. They let me take the percocet with the morphine and I could finally move easier and get up to walk without being offbalance and pain free. Convincing enough to be able to go home!! :D Was your chin down to your cut numb? Mine is. I don't notice much because of the soft collar I have to wear, so maybe it's a good thing since I won't be as irritated I guess.

    I know how you feel about getting back out there and running again. By everyone else here who has the same problems and running you would think running is bad for you...hahaha. I was recently running 5 days a week. I had begun training for a 6miler at a marathon coming up at the end of October. :( Well that is out the window now. So far they have told me I am only going to be able to do walking at my own pace and own distance until mid November. I hope I will recovery better than expected since I am so young (24) and might be able to start up a little sooner than that.

    Well I guess I should stop for now, I have written a novel here!! Sorry about that, I just have questions I guess for someone who is further up there on recovery than me being only a week post-op. Thanks Again!! :)
  • Hi SweetyG
    I guessed they cut according to which side that was affected by the herniated disc.

    Mine was on the right and yours was on the left.

    The morphine was taken off me the next day after surgery.

    Doctor said that I can return back to running 3 months after POST-OP. I guess I will lay low for the time being and return to running next year. PerhapsI will try Aqua Running in the swimming pool and also take up swimming from my 9 years old girl. She can dive into a 1.8m pool and I am not even dare to go under the water. During this Olympics, I was motivated and inspired by Michael Phelps's swimming exploits. Ha...Ha.... You guess right. Next for me is swimming lesson.

    I am glad you are doing great after the surgery.

    Upon my discharge from hospital, my doctor advised me not to carry any load more than 5kg.

    Are you on any Aspen Cervical Collar guard?

    I am wearing them since my 18 July surgery. Yesterday Doctor said I can take them off progressively over two hours and to increase by an hour as the day progresses through the weeks.

    Wishing you speedy recovery and use the time to rest and relax. The road and marathon are always there for us to run.

    Cheers !

  • I don't think it is an Aspen collar. If there is a Brand name, I'm sure I have the cheaper version. I saw the pictures you had, it was like the soft collar you had before, not the one with the more plastic look to it. (Was it the same one, am I that confused?) The doctors had told me lifting no more than 5-10lbs. Using a gallon of milk as an example. But, my cats are about 11lbs., and more evenly distributed than a gallon of milk, so I'm ok there! :D Now that you mention it about the removal of the collar, I think in my Pre-op Appointment they mentioned that, but had said that I have to wear the collar for 4-6weeks, slowly taking it off for the last 2 weeks. I am at least allowed to take it off to shower. I like being able to get my face and neck wet, it feels so good to air out my neck after being locked in this foam thing all day and night long! I am trying so hard to rest and relax but I keep feeling like I am being lazy and I should be doing things around the house to help out. I get aggervated with myself just lying around I guess. But hey, at least it lead me back to this website where I got to discover the forum and I am getting such wonderful stories and get to interact with fellow neck pain and surgery junkies! :D

    I am happy to see that your using this time to do something new! I'm sure your daughter will :X LOVE :X the fact that Daddy is getting involved in what she likes to do! Just remember to start slow also. You may be a marathon runner but swimming is not only new, but excersize with a new neck is!:) Take Care and hope to hear more of your experiences soon!! :H
  • Yes...I am off the Aspen collar. My neck is turning well and the range of motion is not affected. I can look to the right, look to the left and up and down.

    On a conservative side, I still don't want a sudden turn of the head in either direction or all direction. Turn my head when I feel I like to turn. No more radiating pain.

    The numbling feeling on the right index and middle fingers will take times to go away. Atleast I have the strength in both hands and fingers.

    Thanks SweetyG for the reply.

    Cheers !
  • Hi Kayano and SweetyG,

    I am very impressed with your posts, and it is making me feel a little more comfortable about the possibilty of having ADR on C5/6

    I do have a couple of questions for the two of you if you don't mind.

    Did your pain in the neck area come and go? And did the numbness in your arm come and go?
    I do not have constant pain in my neck, but when it does come it is unbearable for a short while then usually fades off to a nagging pain that basically won't allow me to turn my head in any direction but down. And this is the same with the numbness, I have certain motions/positions that will trigger my entire outside portion of my arm and my thumb and pointy finger to go numb, then other times it just goes for no reason???

    I just finished up with physical therapy with no success, and from what the NS told me this is the last ditch effort to avoid surgery. I will still need to get a 2nd opinion, but from what I have been hearing it sounds more and more like surgery will be the only choice to achieve relief.

    Kayano I know you said that the numbness has not went away as of yet, but how about the neck pain? has that gotten better?

    SweetyG how about you, have you had relief from your pain and numbness?

    I am a golf professional so I am very intrigued with how the ADR works out for the two of you, my NS told me that because of what I do he would only recommend ADR and not fusion.

    Here is another concern after reading your posts, my NS said that I could be back playing golf 6 weeks after surgery, does this even seem possible at all to the two of you? He would be using the Prestige Disc.

    Thank You Very much!!

  • That is incredible! So glad to hear that the ROM is so perfect. And no more needing to hold your arm up to ease the pain. That's fantastic.

    Double fantastic that you and Bruce are neighbors! Well close enough anyways. :-)

    You will be running on a treadmill soon, I can just "feel" it!

  • Good to hear from you again and great to hear that you are doing so well at the 6 week mark. No doubt you miss your running but certainly not rush back into things - just take it easy for a bit. Aqua aerobics, aqua running, swimming are all good for us. Plus in Singapore with the heat and humidity it's great to be able to cool off in the water!

    Take care my friend and all the best going back to work!
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • the neck pain was gone since surgery.
    the numbness is left with the pointy fingers of the index and middle fingers.

    The pain that I was experiencing pre-op was that it was a constant pain and does go away. Immediatley after the surgery, it was gone.

    I can now turn my neck fully.

    This morning, I was able to make a head rotation.

    You need to go with confident and no fear at all. Have a positive attitude towards the surgery. I was telling myself that God is using the angels to prepare a new spare parts for me.

    I will be back to work next week.

    Cheers !
  • Thank you to Bruce and haglandc.

    I will resume running next year. Meantime, I will just take it easy and perhaps just help around with my running buddies.

    Cheers !
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