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Corpectomy completed

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Good Morning,
New here, and just wanted to post my experience..
Had my corpectomy on 7/28/08 for C4-C7. Symptoms included pins and needles in my right thumb, and first two fingers. More pain in my left shoulder, and slight pain in my right shoulder. Only relief from the pain was to hang my head so that it almost touched my chest. When being domestic, had sharp stabs on left side of neck when bending over to fill or empty dishwasher and clothes washer/dryer.
Last year, had laminectomy with triple fusion starting at S1, lot of arthritis in spine, and basically not much holding it together, stenosis, and other degenerative issues. (BTW, I'm 52) My 3 MRI's (Cervical, Lumbar and Sacral) generated nearly 25 pages of notes. Hmmmm, and I do not have osteo - which saved me. Go figure. At the end of the 2007 surgery, Neuro noted that C4 through C7 may be my next issue, but thought I'd be okay. Hence, the surgery this year.
I have my follow up today. Neck steri strips still on, and hopefully they come off. Still in a hard neck brace and not driving, until I find out today.
Basically, I did okay. Only in one night at hospital -- good thing, seeing my surgery was at 5:30p, and didn't get to a room until midnight!! As anesthesia and surgery drugs wore off, the subsequent pain from the actual surgery struck, like pain from shoulder to shoulder. Only because the muscles were finally able to relax after holding my neck to my ears for so long. I really didn't have any pain from my incision either. And, I was able to talk!!!
My biggest issue was with sneezing, coughing and laughing. Man did that hurt. Swallowing was an issue. Unfortunately, I had digestive issues -- food was not getting down past my breast bone, and for someone who never suffered heartburn before, was ready to lash out at anything and anyone!! Flaming knives in my chest stopping me cold in mid stride is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Then I had issues with constipation. Fortunately, it is all much better today. Correctol and Prilosec did the trick.
I eventually just took Tylenol Extra Strength Rapid Release instead of Vicodin. Vicodin doesn't do anything. Because I was allowed to work from home (data entry) (had to, in order to get paid), I did not want some pain medication that would make me stupid. I was only home for two weeks, returning to work on 8/11.
So all in all, I think I am doing very well. One note of advise is to keep your spirits up. For some, this is only a short-lived issue, and the long-term results helped me cope and keep my daily whining to a minimum. I only wish that some of you were not as pain ridden. I am grateful for my recuperation and subsequent quality of life being improved.



  • Hi Ellen,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm so glad to hear that things are going well with your recovery. And you are back to work, no less! Wow!

    I had a corpectomy on August 13th, so I'm a little behind you on recovery. I am having a little difficulty swallowing, but it's not bad and getting better each day. Sometimes I have to lift my head off the bed but not all the time.

    Keep us posted on your progress and post op visits. Are you driving? And if so, how is it going? Also, are you noticing any improvement on the finger numbness since your surgery?
  • It is 5 weeks today. Have been at work since 8/11. Today, I only have slight issues with the inside of my neck, still feeling like everything is bunched up. No problems swallowing, just a slight problem with food going all the way down. Eventually it does. Cut regular meal portions in half, chew extra long, therefore eating slower.
    Sides of my neck bother me the most. Feels like bungy cords being snapped back to regular length. Switch between Advil and Tylenol, with longer time periods in between taking them. Driving is no so bad, but I have an easy route. Can't back up unless I use only the mirrors. No turning around to look behind me. Reaching inside the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer puts strain on neck. No vacuuming either. Follow-up is 10/10 to make sure fusion is still fusing. Then I can get exercises to improve rotation mobility.
    Good Luck to all who have issues.
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  • Hi Ellen,
    Good to hear your update. I've been wondering how you are doing.

    You didn't say if you have noticed improvement of your thumb and finger numbness. I'm curious as it is also a symptom that I have. Mine is improved but not gone.

    I have the same issue of food going all the way down even after chewing a long time.

    I find myself doing full body turns to see when driving. But it is getting better all the time.

    I hope the issue with your neck feeling bunched up resolves over time. I will be interested in hearing about the exercises they give you to improve rotation mobility. So far, I have not heard about any physical therapy for me. My six week post op visit is Sept 30th.

    Keep us posted of your progress.

    Best wishes, Brenda
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