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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
:S Hello, I am in England and next Friday I am having C3/4 ACDF surgery. I don't know what to expect after surgery. Will I be able to move my neck, will I have to wear a collar, will I be able to swallow? Has anyone had this surgery, I can't sleep properly because I am so worried. Apparently the spinal cord is bulging out between the two vertebrae and the sugery is being done to release the cord and fuse, with a metal plate, the two together. How will it affect movement? Any advise from anyone would be so welcome. Thank you.


  • Yes alot of us on here have already had our surgeries. I am 4 weeks post op today. I had my ACDF with plate and use of my own bone on July 23,2008. You will be able to move your neck, but it may be stiff. I did have pain, but they immediately addressed that while I was in recovery. I was able to swallow, but after a few days my throat did swell some and I had problems swallowing foods and pills and I still have that problem. I have to wear a soft collar while sleeping, in the car(as a passenger since I am not allowed to drive yet.), while outside, and out and about shopping. You need to ask your doctor what he/she will require of you though. My suggestions to you for after surgery have flexible straws to use at home, soft foods such as soups, mashed potatoes, popsicles, pudding/jello cups, and I even drank like the slim fast shakes and V8 drinks that way you are still getting vitamins and minerals in your body. Put things that you may use everyday where they will be easy for you to get to. Oh and Mitch welcome to spine health!!! Please keep us posted on how everything is going for you. There is a wealth of knowledge floating around on these boards because everyone here understands exactly what you are feeling!!! Any other questions or concerns you have please post them. >:D<
  • shouldn't affect your movement too much. I had to wear a soft collar 24/7 for about 8 weeks the first time, and a hard collar 24/7 for 6 weeks the second time around and then weaned off of it for the next 2-3 weeks. There is a huge difference in doctor preference about the use of a collar. Some don't have you wear one at all, others do the 24/7 thing. I'm sure they have their reasons, so just follow whatever your doctors tell you.

    Swallowing wasn't a big deal for me, but your throat will definitely be sore. Again, it varies case by case, so there really isn't a good answer. Don't be surprised if your throat feels like you have swallowed a golf ball for a while.

    Welcome to spine health, and good luck with your surgery.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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  • Thanks to Terri72 & Neck of Steel for your advise and encouragement. Will let you know how it goes. :SS
  • I am 2 weeks c 5/6 acdf post op. I had to stay at the hospital 3 nights.
    The swalloing was very hard. It did feel like I swallowed a golf ball & my voice was very weak. I lived on mashed potatoes, pudding & Starbucks white chocolate caramel fraps. Bendy straws are a must.
    My neck is tight. I only have to wear the soft collar as needed, as Terri sleeping & in the car. I have not been out of the house yet. Today I will venture to the grocery store. My son will reluctanly take me. After 2 weeks I am finding the swallowing issue is much better, I am eating regular food. Small bites & well chewed.
    Keep us posted. I wish you well & a smooth recovery :)
  • :D 3 days posy op. I had c5-c6. No hospital stay came out of recovery fine. Flex straws a must. I do not need to wear my soft collar unless outside and in the car. Very hard time swalloing and now I am coughing up flem. Voice was weak at first, but the more I talk the better it get, and the more I talk the more I cough up junk. I ate like a pig the night before surgery and I am glad I did because now it is soft food. Stalk up on soup, icecream, jello, pudding and just about anything else you can think of that is soft. It takes me over a half an hour to eat a bowl of soup, because it hurts to swallow. Neck is stiff but my left arm doesn't hurt and that is what hurt before the surgery. If you have a recliner that will be the best place to sleep. Try to get yourself a pillow wedge for your bed. I got one today and I can't wait to try it out. Remember do not rush your recovery and let people help you do stuff. I do not do anything at all. My big thing I do is shower and go for my walk. No house work, the house doesn't look like I keep it but at this point I do not care til I am better. Good Luck :D
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  • Ice bags for the front and the back of your neck. It will help with the swelling
  • Hi Mitch,

    I will be having an ACDF next week as well. My surgery date is September the 3rd. What is your date?

    I have also started a thread in the Spinal Sugery topic area for those who will have surgery at the end od Aug and in September. You might want to pop in and check out who else is having surgery. I started the thread so we all will know we are not alone in this thing!!

    I will be thinking of yo and wishing you well!!(( >:D< ))

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