questions regarding post op after anterior cervical fusion/discectomy C3-C6

questions regarding post op after anterior cervical fusion/discectomy C3-C6

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Anonymous (not verified)
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questions regarding post op after anterior cervical fusion/discectomy C3-C6

Hi, I'm new to this site. Am having anterior cervical fusion/discectomy surgery in March from C3-4,C4-5,C5-6. Will have to wear collar and bone stimulator for a month. Am having cages instead of bone grafts. Am concerned about post op recovery time and specific limitations during my recovery. Can anyone help me with this info?

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sems0611 (not verified)
Title: Member
Hope this helps

I had bone graph on C5 in 1994 and just had C4 removed last Aug but this time he used screws......Recovery varies. I had very little pain and went to therapy twice a week for 1 month. I had to have C4 done due to pressure from C5 surgery in 1994. Make sure You get a second opinion, I did. One Dr wanted to do a C4, C5, C6. C7 replacement and I would lose some left to right movement and would have to have special mirrors when I drove. I said no and got a 2nd opinion and went with him. Hope this helps

Ranger
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Joined: 07/01/2008 - 10:13am
hey Edie,

I am 18 months post-op of a discectomy, corpectomy, multi-level fusion that
was done both anterior and posterior. I had a strut, a cage with my own bone,
plates, rods, and screws installed from C3 thru C6. I wore a collar for more than a month and a bone growth stimulator for approx 4 months. My recovery time was rather quick, I was out of the hospital in less than 36 hours after the surgery was complete. Weight and driving restrictions were as expected not lifting more than a gallon of milk for a while and no driving for
aout a month. It seems as though it was a quicker recovery than my lumbar surgery as that part of my vertabrae only has to support my head.
Take care, wish you the best, and keep us all posted here.
Ranger

sems0611 (not verified)
Title: Member
ranger, do u hv any

ranger, do u hv any limitations on turning your head to the left and right.............that's one thing that scared me.....

Cindee (not verified)
Title: Member
I had a ACDF 5-6-7 in 2005.

I had a ACDF 5-6-7 in 2005. Seven weeks ago I added 4-5 and had my hardware removed from prior fusion.

I already have 80 percent or so of my left to right movement.

With first surgery the up and down was the biggest difference. Adding one more level didn't affect that this time.

Driving isn't bad but looking up in the stores like Home Depot is a little difficult. I lean to the right and sorta look up. LOL

Cindee

Neck of Steel Cindy
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Eddie

Welcome to spine-health. Are you sure you aren't having bone grafts inside of the cages? I haven't heard of it being done without a graft, but I could be wrong.

A lot of your recovery time will depend on your own individual circumstances. how much cord compression you have now, if any, etc. Some are up and going fairly quickly, others aren't as lucky and fight recovery for a very long time. Your range of motion will be limited initially, but once you are able to get started in PT, that will help you to loosen things up a bit. I have significant range of motion issues this go round, but really only notice it when looking down or up, or trying to look over my shoulder when driving.

You'll want to make sure you are off of all pain meds before driving, as even if you are on prescription narcotics, you could still be charged with a DUI, especially if involved in an accident.
Sleeping will take a bit of getting used to, and some people end up sleeping in a recliner for a while, while others can tolerate laying flat in bed. For me the reclined position was much better initially. Other restrictions you'll want to follow would be a lifting weight limit prescribed by your doctor. This is important because you don't want the muscles to pull things out of alignment. I have heard of a fusion graft site being broken from lifting something way too heavy. Just take it easy and follow your doctor's instructions. Good luck.
Cindy

Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!

Edie54 (not verified)
Title: Member
Thank you Ranger

Thank you for responding. I'm also told that I can't lift my arms above my waist for a month. Did you have this restriction? How did you cope with eating,etc. Did you have to sleep with the collar? They said I have to wear mine 23 hours a day. Sorry about your lumbar surgery. Glad to hear about the recovery for that, too, as I'm pretty sure I have to have that surgery sometime later. Thanks for your help.

Moonbaby
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Joined: 02/09/2009 - 5:54pm
C5-6 Burning

I'm scheduled for an anterior disc fusion with donor bone and plate in late March. I think I'm fairly ready ... plus I used to work as a surgical nurse, so I know what to expect. Well..... to a point, anyway.

I haven't seen much on the internet about finger tingling or pain/burning. My neck hurts, but my symptoms are more about my left thumb and first 2 fingers. They started tingling ... then went to itching and pain... then to severe burning.

Has anyone else had these symptoms?

--Moonbaby

Oops! Looks like I posted in the wrong spot. I'll repost a new thread. Sorry for the hijack!

Ranger
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Joined: 07/01/2008 - 10:13am
Edie54 questions

Edie54 wrote:
Thank you for responding. I'm also told that I can't lift my arms above my waist for a month. Did you have this restriction? How did you cope with eating,etc. Did you have to sleep with the collar? They said I have to wear mine 23 hours a day. Sorry about your lumbar surgery. Glad to hear about the recovery for that, too, as I'm pretty sure I have to have that surgery sometime later. Thanks for your help.

No restriction from my N/S about arms above waist just no lifting of any more than a gallon jug of milk. Eating was a little uncomfortable at first I believe because of the respirator tube installed during surgery. I did have to sleep with the collar, as time went on I was allowed to remove it while sitting still like watching TV, showering, etc... The collar does give you a little security
especially when you are tired.
Hope I helped answer some of your questions.
Ranger

Ranger
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range of motion

hey sems,

I thought I would have had less range of motion than I do. I notice when I drive and pass a car I have to turn my whole body a little more to check the
blind spots but I am surprised how much I can turn my head both up and down and side to side.
Ranger

dinky
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Joined: 02/10/2009 - 12:18am
New Here

Post ACDF eleven days now. Double disc, I believe was c6 & c7. Bone bank donor. I was scared for so long, as I have not had any major surgeries. Only hospital time for me was giving birth twice. This forum was a life-saver. When I found it I felt so much at ease because of hearing about real life experiences with real people!
Also I have plate & screws. Surgery was less than 2 hours, had a great surgeon, was out of the hospital in about 30 hours. I feel SOOOO much better except fighting migraine headaches. Getting that under better control with meds.
I take Soma muscle relaxer and Hydrocodone 650mg every 6 hours, and pop a couple of Tylenol inbetween time.
I have a soft collar I wear about 23 hrs. I wear a bone stimulator 4 hrs daily. I think that stimulator causes alot of the neck and head pain... anyone else experience headaches? ~X(

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