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C-Spine surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:29 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I just returned from the doctor who said that I have three disks in my cervical spine and need to have them fused. Can someone tell me about this and what I can expect? I am 59 years old and scared. Thanks.


  • Really? I hope you have more than that! There, I hope I made you laugh, if only for a moment. Welcome to Spine-Health. Fusion surgery can be really scary. There is a lot of information about cervical fusion, and other treatments on the different forums. You can look up different diseases affecting the spine. It can be scary at first, but the more you are armed with information, and questions to ask your surgeon, the more you will feel in control. This forum is so important to ask questions, and just to hang out with others who have the same problems. Lots of times families and friends don't understand what you are going through. Everyone here does. Can you give us a little more information? Accident or disease? Symptoms? How soon does he want you to have surgery? Stay around, get a cold drink or cup of coffee, and learn.The surgery forums have lots of great people who can tell you the practical things you need to know before your surgery. Again, welcome.


    PS Hope I didn't offend you with my joke, it just struck me funny.
  • LOL. And no offense. Sometimes I get ahead of myself. I don't know how to put all that information you and other post-ers have put at the bottoms of your posts so I'll just briefly tell you what my recent MRI says. C3-4 - disk space narrowing and posterior disk bulge. C4-5, posteromedian disk herniation. Thecal sac is effaced. C5-6, bilateral posterior facet hypertrophy and uncovertebral joint hypertrophy causes bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis, spinal canal to 1 cm. Posterior and Anterior osteophytes demonstrated. C6-7, disk space narrowing to 1 cm., dessicated. Anterior and posterior osteophytes, bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy and posterior facet hypertrophy. Bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis. I don't know what most of that means except that my left arm falls asleep at night, my neck and back hurt between my shoulder blades and into my right shoulder, and often into my left shoulder. I can't pick up anything heavy without pain. I have had the neck pain for about 3 years. No accident unless getting older is an accident. The doctor talked about physical therapy and injections but mostly about an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion on three levels. I worry about loss of range of motion. I have done yoga for many many years and wonder what PT would do that yoga hasn't and realize that a fusion on three levels would be the end of most of my yoga poses. I would like to know - in English - what to expect before, during and after all of this and if I should just wait until the pain is absolutely unbearable. Thanks for any advice you can give me.
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  • Perhaps artificial disc replacement is a possibility for you. I don't know if they are doing multilevel ADR in this country but at least it's worth looking into. With ADR you don't lose range motion. Good luck to you. I had 1 level ADR and can't praise it enough.
  • luvaul

    I had a 3 level ACDF in January (which is what you will be having). What I can tell you is my experience and everyone is different. My neck and arm pain that I had before surgery were gone on day one. So that has not been a problem. I had to wear a hard collar for 6 weeks (you may want to ask you Dr if you have to not all do), and that was a pain...literally!!

    I still have not gone back to work full time (well I tried but then I was in too much pain had to go back part time)but only working from home. I was unable to drive until I got my collar off. I can drive now but only short distances.

    I don't really have Pain at the moment but by the end of the day I usally have stiffness and tightness in my neck and back, thats when I get out the heating pad. I am still unable to do too much without easily getting tired.

    So that is my experience hope it helps you.

  • I was off work for 3 months, part of that was because of the holidays. I couldn't get into PT until after the New Year, my doc wouldn't release me until I'd had at least 4 weeks of PT. Once I got back to work, it took me a month to get back in the swing of things. I still take break and do my stretches. I find if I don't keep moving, stretch, etc, I get stiff and sore.

    I'm not sure having surgery will end your ability to do yoga. You may have to modify some positions, or you may not. My range of motion is about 90% of normal, prior to surgery I'd say it was 85%, so it was an improvement for me.

    Talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you do have surgery, there are a lot of folks here that can give you suggestions and helpful hints for both pre and post op.
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