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Hello and thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. I had ACDF in 1996 (c5-6-7) No hardware just bone. It went great. in 1999 I herniated c4-5, but did not require surgery. Last year i started having shoulder issues, so they wanted to check my neck. It turns out that the c6-7 fusion broke at some time. I went to the surgeon who told me it absolutely had to be fixed and that he would use hardware. He also said that since he was in there there was no point in not also repairing c4-5. He said I would probably have some trouble swallowing for a week to 10 days after the surgery. He was dead on...I couldn't drink or eat anything including water for 7 days. On the 7th day I was able to drink. By the 10th day I could eat soup. Now 16 months later, I can still eat soup,and ice cream and can literally choke down mashed potatoes or well cooked pasta.
At my 3 month follow up he said "well that wouldn't be from the surgery" at which point I lost faith in him of course. My PCP sent me to an ENT, a Neuro, and a speech pathologist as well as for a barium swallow test. The swallow test and ENT scope show that my epiglottis is paralyzed and only goes to horizontal which blocks the food from going into my esophagus. The left side of my esophagus is numb, so the working theory by all the specialists is that a nerve was cut or damaged and that my recovery is complete.
I have lost 65 pounds (which is not a bad thing) but i have to force myself to choke down food to try to keep from losing too much, because otherwise they are threatening a feeding tube.
I have read similar posts in the forums, but most are old, and none seemed to match my test results specifically. My question would be ..has anyone else had similar symptoms and test results and recovered? I haven't eaten in front of anyone since the surgery. When we go out with friends, I sit at the table like an idiot because I can't be choking and coughing up food. It would be nice to hear that improvement is possible, no matter how unlikely. Thanks for allowing me to vent, and I look forward to any responses.