C6 - C7 FUSION

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grahamkw
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C6 - C7 FUSION

I have read some articles on here on this but still do not have a warm and fuzzy so to speak. My surgery is on the 12th of this month and some of these post have me a little freaked out. Alot of questions I still have that are unanswered. Any suggestions on what someone wish they had at home after the surgery? I coach baseball, when could I start going out and practicing? Pain killers usually don't work for me any suggestions. I think I have tried them all over the past two years, just nothing seems to work. So, I'm a little scared that after the surgery nothing will help with the pain. Any help would be greatful. Thank you for your time and support in advance.

Respectfully,

Kris

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gethealthy
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Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
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Joined: 06/13/2009 - 9:01pm
one level

I had 3 levels done 3 years ago. I'm very glad I did the surgery. I'm not able to do a lot of things I use to but I have little to no pain. My neck is not as flexible as it was before but it still continues to improve.

I was an athlete before my surgery. The professional limits were one level could return to their sport. 2 level had restrictions and 3 level had to retire. You are having one level so chances are you will be back to your sport if you take good care of yourself. My recovery was slow due to how many levels I had done.

Having satin PJ's was the most helpful thing to me. I had trouble turning over and getting out of bed. The slide the satin provided allowed me to get out of bed by rolling to my side and sliding off the bed. I wish I would have learned about satin PJ's from the start. I struggled to get out of bed for a bit.

jlrfrye
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Straws

I could'nt live without them,trust me you will dribble all over yourself if you don't. This was the main thing I made sure I had with all of my 5 cervical surgeries. A good pillow with good support. You will also need to have soft foods on hand for your first week home as swallowing is difficult in the beginning due to the intubation tubes used during surgery for anesthesia. Make sure you take your meds as prescribed to prevent the muscle spasms that you will have following surgery. This is caused by the position you are put in during the surgery so stay ahead of the pain. The most important thing you can do during recovery is WALK. It is proven that it reduces pain and muscle spasms you will have. Good luck and keep us posted
Susan

Donnabe
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Joined: 05/09/2011 - 7:09pm
Things you may need: Straws

Things you may need:

Straws (or sippie cups)
Lots of pillows
A recliner (lazy boy chair)
Button up shirts
Soft foods
Someone to help you with baths/showers

It might be a while before you can go out and throw baseballs and swing bats, but I am sure you can go out and coach as long as you refrain from actually playing.

I was off work for 2 months but wish I had taken 3 months off. I work as a restaurant manager in a very fast paced restaurant.

Recovery is slow for me, but I am better off than I was pre op.

ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg

earth2robin
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Me too.

Hi Kris,

I am also having an ACDF this month, on March 21 at the C6/C7 level due to cervical myelopathy. My surgeon also thinks I might have OPLL, so we are having a CT scan the day before the surgery. I'm not really sure how that will affect my surgery though.

I am counting down the days until surgery. My quality of life these last months has been in a steady state of decline. I have a hard time even getting out of bed or off the couch these days to do anything like housework or care for my 5 kids (including 18 month twins). I am having to do this without the help of pain medicines from the doctor. Just counting the days!

I am worried about recovery as I am a graduate student who spends every bit of my free time on a laptop doing homework or research. If I were not unemployed, my job would also entail working on a computer constantly or walking outdoors on uneven ground usually carrying 25+ pounds of bulky equipment. I have presented signs of spinal cord compression for 5-6 months now, so I hope that does not mean my symptoms will never go away following surgery.

Good luck and let me know how your surgery goes!

Stay strong,
Robin Smile

Urbansprite
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Joined: 05/19/2010 - 10:53pm
C5-6-7 Fusion nearly 3 years ago

Hi Kris -

The end of this month will mark 3 years since I had two levels fused in my neck, C5-6-7. My surgery wasn't elective. My injury was caused by trauma and the pressure on my spinal cord by one of the discs was so severe that my surgeon was worried about potential paralysis if I even had a bad fall. Even if I had a choice, however, I'd be telling you how glad I am that I had the surgery. The relief from the spine pain, which was unbearable, was immediate. I was able to go home the next day and function in my place pretty well without help. This is what I did to prepare:

(1) I made sure that everywhere I would be walking in my place was clear of anything that I could trip or slip on (e.g., I tied up the ends of drapes, laid down extra bathmats in my bathroom so that I would have traction throughout).

(2) As others said, I bought straws - the bendy kind.

(3) I bought a ton of paper products so that I wouldn't have to do dishes for a while.

(4) I went to the drugstore and bought a couple packages of tegaderm so that I would have it handy to cover the incision for showers.

(5) I made jello, pudding, and other soft snacks in advance, and bought a bunch of soup and yogurt to have handy. I didn't end up needing to be easy on my throat, but some people expressed irritation after the surgery, so I had it on hand just in case.

(6) Stool softener. Some people have trouble going to the bathroom after anesthesia. I didn't, but I had some Colace on hand just in case, so I wouldn't have to go get some.

(7) Pillows to prop yourself up in bed to read or watch TV without having to crane your neck.

I had to do a lot more to prepare for my lumbar surgery later that year. For this one, it was mainly resting. I wouldn't do anything sports-related until you have your follow up with your surgeon and he/she gives you the green light.

That said, I overworried everything during my recovery - every time I felt a pain or jolted in any way, I was convinced I screwed up the whole thing. I didn't and I feel really good now. I definitely do not feel "normal," or like I did before I was injured, but I'm not in pain anymore. So, try to relax, get plenty of rest, eat well, and take care of yourself. Keep us posted on how it goes.

grahamkw
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Joined: 03/02/2012 - 4:07pm
A LITTLE MORE NEWS

First off thank you for the replies, very helpful. I went and saw the doc for my pre-op yesterday. They will be doing ACDF C6-C7 of course. This is the thing though, I havent heard of until I went and saw him. I will be getting something called a LDR/ ROI-c implant. It looks like a little plastic thing with metal teeth on the top and bottom. No bone graph, plate, or anything else that I have read on here. Does anyone else no a little bit about this or has had it done to them. As always thanks for your support and time in advance. I will try and keep a daily log as long as no one gets mad at me for doing it on here.
Also, I fly for the NAVY, anyone know when I can get back up in the air or know of any back door way to get up quicker.

Respectfully,

Kris

jellyhall
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Joined: 10/16/2009 - 5:38am
Hi Kris ...

I haven't had experience of ACDF, but I do have experience of neck problems.
I saw a neurosurgeon last week and he has recommended a 2 level ACDF at C3/4 and C4/5 for me due to cord compression.

He said he would use a titanium cage and showed me a model of a cervical spine with one of these implants in place. He surprised me when he said that he wouldn't use bone graft, plate or collar. He said that the top and bottom of the cage has teeth that will bite into the vertebrae and hold it in place and that my own bone would grow through the holes in the cage to fuse my spine.

I have posted a thread called ACDF with titanium cages?? in the hope that someone will appear who has had this same technique. I have done reading on the internet about it, and it does sound like it works!!

I will certainly keep an eye out for your daily log after your surgery. No-one will get mad, we will enjoy following your recovery and those of us who are waiting for surgery will use it as a learning experience!

As for when you can fly again, you will have to follow your surgeon's advice there.
I have been told I will be off work as a Teaching Assistant for 3 months - but that is a 2 level surgery.

Have you read the thread for ideas of items to help after surgery? It is at the top of the Back and Neck Surgery thread. Some of the items are for lumbar surgery, but it will give you lots of ideas of things that will be helpful. Also get your home prepared, with things that you use often at an accessible level (not high enough to make you reach and not to low to make you bend). Have lots of soft foods available in case you have problems swallowing or a sore throat. Bendy straws, a grabber to pick things up and laxatives!!! :jawdrop:

grahamkw
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Joined: 03/02/2012 - 4:07pm
BACK HOME

Well I have finally made it home. Went in on Monday and was supposed to be released on Tuesday (that did not happen). I woke up in the recovery room in alot of pain, stayed in there for about two hours until they got it under control. I got up to my room and everything felt right sort of. My right arm started killing me. Try to get me on an MRI table and couldn't do it. Went back up to my room gave me some more pain meds and tried it again. This is what I was told, when they removed the disc and went to file down the rest of the stuff a bone spur was missed. The implant (LDR) was pushed on top of it and then pressed again a nerve root and blood clots were in there as well. So just wanted to give an update on how my journey has gone so far. Any comments or suggestions are welcome and if you need anything for me to answer let me know. Take care.

Kris

grahamkw
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Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
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Joined: 03/02/2012 - 4:07pm
BACK HOME

Well I have finally made it home. Went in on Monday and was supposed to be released on Tuesday (that did not happen). I woke up in the recovery room in alot of pain, stayed in there for about two hours until they got it under control. I got up to my room and everything felt right sort of. My right arm started killing me. Try to get me on an MRI table and couldn't do it. Went back up to my room gave me some more pain meds and tried it again. This is what I was told, when they removed the disc and went to file down the rest of the stuff a bone spur was missed. The implant (LDR) was pushed on top of it and then pressed again a nerve root and blood clots were in there as well. So just wanted to give an update on how my journey has gone so far. Any comments or suggestions are welcome and if you need anything for me to answer let me know. Take care.

Kris

jellyhall
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Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
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Joined: 10/16/2009 - 5:38am
Welcome home Kris

Sorry that things didn't go smoothly for you. I hope that your pain levels have remained under control since you have got home. How is your right arm now?

What did they do about the missed bone spur and the compression on a nerve?

Hopefully they will take care of everything and get you underway in your recovery.

Feel better soon.

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