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Any good outcomes of Anterior Cervical Discectomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi I'm new here and my Dr. wants me to have an Anterior Cervical Discectomy. I've been reading up on it and it sounds scary but I either do it or face future problems down the road which can be irreversibal. I have spinal stenosis at C 3-4 C 5-6 a buldging disk at C 3-4 and a herniated disk abutting the ventrial cord at C 5-6 have some numbness in my right arm not really pain but a lot of discomfort after I do anything. My neck aches and I get the occasional headache. I have been going to physcial therapy since Dec.2007 and it seemed to help a little but I've plateaued and i'm pretty much not getting any better and thats way my Dr. wants to do the surgery. Is there anybody out there that has had this surgery with success? I'm worried that it may not fuse together ok. Also the possibility of more nerve damage plus the fact that they want to use a bone from the bone bank and I could end up with an infection. Any answers to my question please this really scares me and I'm very much having second thoughts. But I don't want to become paralized either.



  • but, being scared is very normal. Have you had a couple more opinions? Did your Dr. actually tell you you could be paralyzed? That is a good reason in itself for having it done.

    I can't say I have heard of anyone getting an infection from the cadaver bone, but I guess anything is possible. My husband had an infection from the catheter, which has made our life difficult for the moment. His neck surgery was a piece of cake, compared to that experience. But, most people get through the surgery without a hitch, it seems.

    You will know when the decision is right for you!

    Linda MI
  • I would get at least one more opinion,and by a reputable Dr.,not that yours is not reputable-but surgery cannot be undone and this is the spine we are talking about.

    I'm in the same situation as you,but I have not had surgery and I hope not to.I have decided only to do it as a last resort(Just my opinion).I'm 48 yrs. of age,and have already had numerous operations.They take a toll.

    Many people here have had them,you can read about them in the surgery threads.Maybe if you ask a question there you will get more replies :/

    Welcome to S-H... :H
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  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hey Ginger,
    Just about a year ago to this date I had a corpectomy, discectomy, multi-level
    fusion of C3 thru C6 with hardware including a strut, cage, plates, rods, and screws that was approached both posterior and anterior. My symptoms pre-op were tingling & numbness in my left arm and hand, arm, neck, and shoulder pain especially during sleep.
    What helped me choose to have surgery is that if I did not I would risk the possibility of paralysis and/or incontinence.
    My surgery was a success as I still lead a very active and busy lifestyle. The nerve damage to my left arm and hand may be permanent but it may still get
    better over time. To me that is just a minor inconvenience.
    I understand that this may be a frightening decision on your part, ask a lot of
    questions, and do a lot of research. For me I really had no choice, it was that
    bad. I would go thru it again in a heartbeat if I had to and with my health issues I will most likely have more spinal surgery.
    I wish you the best, keep us posted here on your decision, and PM me if I can be of any help or share any info with you.
    Take care,
  • I had a discectomy and fusion on C5-6 in June, 07. They used cadaver bone. I was told that cadaver bone is sterilized, so there is no risk of infection. Also, there is no pain from harvesting bone from your thigh. Many pts. complain that hurts worse than the neck surgery site. If you have been doing conservative therapy since Dec 07 without major improvments in your pain level, numbness, etc. Then it does seem like it is time to take a more active approach to treating this, and healing. Good luck. If you have any doubts about your surgeon, get a second opinion.
  • Hi Ginger,
    I had ACDF surgery last Tuesday. Mine was at 6/7. I had been dealing with neck/back issues for years, but never thought there was a real problem until they came in April and stayed. I tried all of the conservative treatments but nothing helped. finally it came down to surgery. I was so nervous & scared, but I have to tell you-one week out anyway-that the waiting was by far the worst part. I woke up in recovery & realized 1st thing that my arm didn't hurt anymore-yay! I was in the hospital overnight & went home the next morning. The hardest part was that my surgeon used my own bone from my hip. That made it hard to walk, but now after a week it barely hurts at all. I have to wear a soft collar, which is annoying, but do-able, and I use a "bone stimulator" 4 hours a day-just a thing that hangs around your neck-no big deal. I have been on vicodin non stop since April-having to increase my dosage frequently to control the pain (and I'm sure the addiction as well). I have been weaning myself off them & am down to 3 per day-I'm so excited to be drug & pain free.
    Now I know it has only been a week, but I would do it again in a second. I truly wish I hadn't waited as long as I did. I would have already been fixed!
    Anyway, just some reassurance for you. When I say the waiting is the worst-I REALLY mean it. The anticipation was far worse than the surgery itself!
    Good luck in making your decision-I know it is a tough one & no surgery is fun, but I can say that living with out daily pain is worth it!
    Kim in Cincinnati
    PS-My dad is 69-he had the exact same surgery 2 years ago-no collar, no bone stimulator, donar bone, and he fused perfectly & is fine today :)))
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  • I had c5/c6 done on 8/19, I did not have to stay in the hospital. The left arm pain went away. I did have some pain after surgery but the doctor put me on a stronger viccodone, muscle relaxant and a bone stimulator. The worse part of after the surgery is when the muscles started to wake up., My doctor has now put me on Soma which does the trick. I have been on pain pills and muscle relaxants since the pain all came to ahead in April. So the doctors had to put me on something I was not taking before. The bone stimulator I can wear as long as I want during waking hours so it no big deal. The worse thing I can say that has happened to me since surgery is the constipation and I have been eating bran cereal and taking laxities to solve that. I wish I would have had the surgery right away when it was suggested in May. Today I go for a wound check. Oh and by the way I am only 43. Just remember any surgery can take a toll on you physically and mentally
  • Ginger,
    I have to say that at this point in time things have gone rather well for me after my ACDF surgeries. I am 10 months post op on surgery 1, and 5 months post op on surgery 2. I needed 2 surgeriers to correct all the damage done to my spine, hence the second surgery. I did not have a choice about surgery, if it wasn't done things would have gone down hill fast. If you are worried about bone from the bone bank, there are other options, you can use your own bone, they used Trabecular Metal for my fusion. You may want to get another opinion about the need for surgery from another NS or OS to help with your decision. Only you and your surgeon can make that choice for you. I have been very pleased with the outcome of my surgery, the not having surgery option was just not that attractive for me in my case. The waiting can be bothersome and scarry, but once you have made up your mind things will pass rather quickly and you will be on your way to recovering. Good luck and hope things go well for you.

  • Ginger,

    I had an ACDF C6-C7 in 1993, and it relieved my weak tricep. My neck has been sore ever since, but manageable and I have remained very active. Over time my c-spine has gotten worse, and I've had a couple of rounds of PT that have helped. My spondylosis is now severe at all levels and 18 days ago I had a posterior foraminotomy and foreminectomy at three levels. This hopefully will correct the extreme weakness in my left hand.

    They always recommend conservative therapy unless there is risk of permanent nerve or spinal injury. In my case, surgery was done one week after my NS consult.

    Kim, I'm in Cincinnati as well. Who did your surgery?

  • Hey neighbor!
    Dr. ***EDITED*** did mine. I really liked him. I had a regular ortho, as I have had a couple shoulder surgeries, but he did not do any spine at all so he referred me. So far so good!
    How about you? Who did yours & where in Cincy do you live? I actually live in West Chester.

    Doctors name and contact details removed by forum Moderator (paulgla). We do not permit publishing specific doctor's or institution names and contact details
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