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post op acdf

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:29 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Iam now 3.5 weeks post op for acdf c5-C7 and can anyone that has had this tell me when they were able to get out of the collar and start driving? I am in the soft collar and with my check up next week I am hoping to get rid of it. I have been taking it off for about 30 minutes while I sit in the chair but I found that I feel like I have a lump in my throat and sometimes my ear feels like it is under water. Then I put the collar back on and they go away? Has anyone else had those symptoms? Also every now and then I get this burning down the back of my left arm and sometimes numbness in the back of my hand. Any info on post op would be greatly appreciated. I just want to get back to normal. I am finding that the rest of my back hurts and cracks and crunches from the sitting around doing nothing. Thanks


  • p.m. me. patsy
  • I started weaning myself off my hard collar after 2 weeks. NS said no driving unless absolutely necessary until about 5 weeks.

    The throat lump lasted almost 3 months for me, remember, the doc has to move all kinds of things around to get to your spine! :D I also had bouts of tingling and a little pain, I chalked it up to my nerves getting back to normal. I'm now 5 months post-op, and I feel almost normal. (Although my friends would tell you I've never been normal....)
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  • Sounds like you are doing great snapdragon. I will be 4 weeks next week and going for an xray and hoping to loose the soft collar and start driving. (hope I am right). How long did you go before you had no restrictions? I am dying to get out and bike and golf now that the weather is turning nicer. You give me hope. Thanks and take care.
  • I had ACDF of 2levels btw. C5-C7, w/o screws 1 year ago..Only small piece of titanium is put instead of discs.(no HW)Ive learnt that according to statistics, 80% of the surgeries are done in those 2 levels.So I was hoping to be 90% free of pain.
    Since this surgey makes this section "fixed", the existing tension in those sections distributes to the neighbour secitons.And although just before the surgery my C7-C8 was perfect, now I feel pain in my arm and fingers, so that according to the figure, I can see that this comes from C7-C8, + sometims I have pain in my triceps although surgery is already done in there. So in short,
    now I am afraid to have another MR and I dont think ACDF is a very good technique....Sirdalud MR, keeping neck muscles hot,making everyday exercise, trying to have good posture, same life as before.
  • ACDF C5-6-7
    My surgeon doesn't advise wearing a soft collar, but I did use one only to help keep ice packs in place in the hospital.
    I am allowed to drive 20-30 min at a time after 2 week post-op check-up.
    My pre-op symptoms are gone! Still have some swelling that interferes with swallowing, but it is improving every day.
    Good luck to all of you who are going to have this surgery.

    Helpful post-op hints:
    1) Crush several doses of your larger meds (Calcium) before surgery (Can smash them inside plastic baseball card sleeves and label them.) Mix the powder in applesauce to make swallowing easier.
    2) Make sure NO ONE leaves the toilet seat UP. Leave a light on in the bathroom at night. You can't turn your head to check it easily before sitting down. To fall in the commode would be a disaster.
    3) COLPAC makes awesome reusable ice packs in different shapes that last a long time.
    4) Make a couple flat little pillows to use under your head, in the car, wherever.
    5) For women, buy bras that hook in the front.
    6) Teach your significant other how to dry your hair with your blow dryer before surgery.
    7) Carry straws in your purse.
    8) Elevate everything you may need to chest height. (We put a board over the end of our separate bathtub for the laundry basket, cosmetics, etc.)
    9) Post your instructions on the shower door & kitchen cupboard as reminders.
    10) Buy some Tylenol. ANSAIDS (Motrin, Aleve, etc) are not allowed after surgery.

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  • I am having surgery next week. Thanks so much for the helpful hints! That is awesome. I have been so greatful for all the help I have gotten here.

    I am just wondering about post op and how long it will be before I can do things. I like to go listen to live music. I understand a crowded bar is not so good to be in but now that it is warmer the patios are opening and those are so much bigger and it is do-able, I think! My surgery is March 26. Does anyone think I should be able to go out to dinner etc after one month? I get cabin feever fairly easy.
  • Melswartz.....I totally can relate to you getting cabin fever. I had acdf C5-C7 and I still can't drive but I can go out to dinner and short trips to the grocery store. I am finding that after being out for a couple of hours I need to lay down and support my head and neck. I am still wearing the soft collar so I hate going out with that around my neck. I go Wed for my 4 week checkup and hopefully I can get the collar off and start to drive. I think I have to go to PT but wont know for sure still Wed. I have started to take off the collar when I am sitting and walking around the house but only keep it off for 20 minutes at a time then I am ready to put it back on. I want to be careful not to do too much too soon because I don't want to screw anything up. Now that the weather is changing I have been walking which my doctor said I could do as much as I wanted.
    Good luck with your surgery.....keep us posted on how you do.
    Take care
  • All the info here is great! To those of you recovering...keep up the great work and keep us posted. Melswartz, good luck next week. My surgery is 2 wks from today. I'm worried about cabin fever too. My sister will be here for a wk post op but then I'm on my own. I was told I'll be in a hard collar for 4-6 wks so no driving. I'm gonna go crazy. I don't know a lot of people in the area & I won't be able to drive to stay with friends...2-3 hrs away. It's getting humid here in Florida now so that collar is gonna get hot! Take care everyone.
  • Thanks so much everybody!
    Will let you know! I am just thrilled my NS uses soft collars. Phew!

    I am a little crafty so I have made covers for the soft collar. One has an American Flag, another has a little bling on it. Hey, if you are going to have to wear the darn thing, might as well have fun. :) One of these days I'll post a pic.

  • Hi all you fellow cervical spineys.

    As you can see by my signature, I had a pretty significant ACDF last October. I won't go into any details, but just want you to know that I've recovered very well and will be golfing soon. I've hit a couple of balls and know I can do it as soon as I get my strength up.

    There IS life after an ACDF, just give yourself some time.

    Melswartz, I had my surgery on a Tuesday and was out and about, hard collar and all, on the following Saturday. Went to the bar to visit some friends. Stamina will be the most difficult thing, as you'll tire very easily.

    Good luck to all of you.
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