I know I had many questions before my C7 root nerve decompression via the Jho's Procedure. I still have questions about post-op symptoms. I am writing this for others-maybe I can help them-maybe you can help me.
I saw a local neurosurgeon after a severe flare up of left arm and hand pain, weakness and numbness. An MRI was taken and I was told I had a herniated disk at C7 and needed to have it removed and a fusion preformed. I wasn't ready to have something so permanent, so I got a second opinion at a teaching hospital.
I had an anterior cervial foraminotomy which removed bone spurs and part of the offending herniated disk which were causing the pain and spasms in my left arm and hand. No fusion was preformed-this is called Jho's Procedure. Research has shown that fusion may not be necessary for all cervical patients, especially those without neck pain.
I had the operation 6 days ago. During the 1st day in the hospital I only took Tylenol for a headache and heat packs for muscle pain in the rigth shoulder. I asked why I was having right shoulder pain and the surgeon said it was likely from the way I was placed on the operation table for the operation. It still hurts-you'd think they could have used a soft pillow.
Once home I had to take Vicodin and Hydrocodone for pain in my back and both shoulders and for left arm tingling. I think I felt better in the hospital because of residule anesthetics.
I woke up from the operation with numbness on the tip of my tonuge. Nurse said it was likely from the stuff they put in your mouth during the operation, but I now know that isn't likely. If it does't go away after a few more days I'll be calling the neurosurgeon. I think it's an surgery effect.
I was warned I may have hard time swallowing and that was an understatment. The incision was done on the right side of my neck even though the compressed nerve was/is on the left. Apparently my surgeon prefers not to deal with the lymph stuctures that are present on the right, but that means the esophogus must be moved over more for access to the spine. My throat feel like it's out of place but the surgeon said most patients get over the discomfort-he's only had to refer a few to an ENT. Isn't that comforting to know?
I have probably been doing more than I should because it is a relief to have less pain, but I have read here and on other forums where patients have done too much, too fast, so I am going to slow down. I have a soft neck brace, but was not told I had to restrict movement of my neck. I will try not to bend over to pick things up or put pressure on my neck for at least 2 weeks. I think it takes that long for the skin to heal. It's just patched with steri-strips and not sutures.
One other concern I have is heartburn. It's pretty bad and was wondering if anyone else with neck surgery has had it.
The best thing I can recommend is to get an experienced surgeon. I had to go to three before I found the one I thought was the best one for me. For those going for their own operation-best of luck! To the others who have had one-please share with me your recovery stories. I will keep this updated until I see my doctor in 5 weeks.