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ACDF & Plating C5-C6 C6-C7 Surgery

124

Comments

  • Pain in the Neck, sorry to hear you too are going though pain issues. I don't know if this helps or not? My NS said that if there is pain and or burning, there is a HIGH chance the nerve is still being irritated - possibly fixable? He mentioned to me that my weakness returning (I guess weakness is the biggy?) it is a possible sign of permanent damage! You might still have a chance of finding what the heck is going on as well!!! :-) If the pain is "in the neck" only, chances are (as he told me) the surgery might not relieve it, but extended out (shoulders, arms, hands, legs etc.) it will most likely go away if there is a complete freeing of the irritation. Please let me know how your progress comes along. Take care.

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda-
    Unfortunately, I'm not feeling very hopeful just yet. After so many attempts at relief, I had all but accepted that I would be living with pain for the rest of my life. Silly & stupid, though. I finally agreed to another MRI, because I've not had one since prior to my surgery in '04. It's only because of the postings on this web site that I realized there could be a different reason for the pain other than the nerve/muscle deterioration beginning at my neck and ending at my thumb & index finger of my right arm. I now realize that there is a good chance that either the upper or lower disc at the fusions could be problematic. If I find there "is" another disc problem, I could find relief with another surgery. We shall see. I will get at least 2 opinions after the MRI before proceeding with any type of procedure.

    Nice having someone with similar problems to talk to about this stuff!
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  • Pain in the Neck Woman said:
    Brenda-
    Unfortunately, I'm not feeling very hopeful just yet. After so many attempts at relief, I had all but accepted that I would be living with pain for the rest of my life. Silly & stupid, though. I finally agreed to another MRI, because I've not had one since prior to my surgery in '04. It's only because of the postings on this web site that I realized there could be a different reason for the pain other than the nerve/muscle deterioration beginning at my neck and ending at my thumb & index finger of my right arm. I now realize that there is a good chance that either the upper or lower disc at the fusions could be problematic. If I find there "is" another disc problem, I could find relief with another surgery. We shall see. I will get at least 2 opinions after the MRI before proceeding with any type of procedure.

    Nice having someone with similar problems to talk to about this stuff!

    Howdy Pain in the Neck Woman!,

    As I mentioned earlier, a LOT of my symptoms and such returned - nope, did not "make my day" for sure. I just went through another Stand up MRI yesterday. A bit painful on the flex and extend, but I already know with my lack of curve (lordosis) it is my best test for my doctor to "see" what is or isn't going on. I am now almost 8 weeks post op from the C6/7 fusion. Especially in the last week the pain has gotten ridiculous! A "good nights sleep" is 5 hour and a half naps! I'm not working now, so that isn't the end of the world, as I can "catch up" on sleep. :-)

    I won't have the radiologists report for a few days, but I pretty well know what isn't good on MRI's by now. On the one hand I am glad there IS something there, and of course on the other, I would love a perfect world, but a perfect world wouldn't give me such pain!?!?! You mentioned that it had been years since your last MRI....they are VERY important! I have had a dramatic change in my C7-T1 in just 8 weeks! Can you imagine what information you may have in YOUR NECK that your doctor might be able to not only give you the answers to, but too, to help/fix your pain? Until yesterday (short of impact damage from say a car accident), I would have *never* figured I would see such changes in such a short time. Basically my C7 vertebrae (the bone) is bright white. I had the bottom of my C6 do that, and my surgeon had to remove it as it was inflammation that would not go away on its own. I am not sure what his thoughts will be on this one - I should know within the week.

    Now back to you. :-) Thumb and Index? That would be for most people the C6/7 area. That is what I just went through. Any triceps weakness yet? You want to avoid the weakness symptom if you can!!! As for being silly & stupid, NOT!!! It is called HUMAN! Some will tell you that the images in a Stand Up MRI aren't as good - personally I haven't seen that much of a difference. The GOOD about it Pain?...your doctor can see what your spine looks like in a "loaded" position. Think about it, when we hurt, we are told to take a load off and lay down for relief. Well, recumbent MRI's put you in that position! If you have a Stand Up MRI in your area, I would go for that one. I wouldn't resign myself to a life of pain either. I at times think that as well, especially since a lot of my issues seem to be cascading of late. Keep positive until or UNLESS the doctor(s) tell you there is nothing more that they can do - and then I would seek another opinion at that stage!!! :-) Chat again soon. Don't give up woman!!!

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • After a body surfing accident in February spinal stenosis found on MRI...bad burning sensation in arms and hands. I had corpectomy and fusion on April 6th...4 weeks in hard collar so far, at least 2 more weeks...then "heavy duty" physical therapy. I have experienced some symptom relief, but not to my satisfaction. Have weaned myself down to a gram of Tylenol a couple times/day and a Percocet at bedtime. Swallowing o.k., but I'm worried about return to work. My job, ER nurse is very demanding. I'm hoping symptoms will continue to diminish once out of hard collar and resumption of normal activities. Would love to converse with others. Good luck to all! the cycle RN
  • Long story short I am having ACDF c 5/6 c 6/7 on Aug 3rd due to my spinal cord being compromised and impinged. In one area there is no spinal fluid any more and the NS told me that I needed this surgery or I run the risk of paralysis. I also have chronic pain issues in lower back due to three discs which also need surgery, but they both said this was more important due to the risks of permanent damage. They will be taking bone from the hip. I am quite nervous and I have chronic pain and nueropathy. I was told I could probably go home same day but I requested at least 1 night stay at the hospital and if I don't feel ready I will ask for two. He said fine on the first day already.I am just concerned about what life will be like after this and worry about the fushion working right. I keep telling my self there really is no choice due to the risks involve with doing nothing. I am 53 and I can'r bellieve how bad my back is. I hope I will at least have good pain meds while I am recovering as I don't need more long term pain issues. Anyone who can speak to any of these concerns I would appreciate it because as for now I am fairly nervous about it all. Your comments will all be appreciated greatly.
    AL S
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  • I have walked in your shoes, Al. I also had a sudden onset of cervical spine problems. My first symptoms began in May of 08, tried PT until finally an MRI was prescribed and my PCP told me I needed to find a surgeon. Luckily, I had a friend who worked with someone who had a multi-level cervical fusion and raved about his surgeon, so I went to him.

    I was told on my first visit with him that I needed surgery for the same reasons you state that you need surgery, it wasn't a matter of if, but when so I scheduled it right away. Mine was a 3-lvl at C4-7.

    It's true that the cervical problems are usually more emergent than the lumbar problems due to the risk of paralysis. The cord at the cervical level controls more functionality than at the lumbar level, so I understand why your surgeon wants to fix your cervical problems first.

    I stayed in the hospital one night and I was very ready to go home the next day. In fact, for the first two days I felt fine and my husband even told me on my first night home that he wished I'd act like I just had surgery. I was wearing an aspen brace and it was quite clear how serious the surgery was, but I felt good. However, two days later I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I'm told that this is due to the anesthetic they put in the surgical area that stays with you for a couple of days and once it wears off, the pain comes full on.

    With that said, however, I found that the recovery really wasn't too bad, relatively speaking. I've now fused at all three levels - that's always the biggest concern, so I understand yours - but now have issues above my fusion that we're not going to deal with now for various reasons, one being that I'm only having pain in my neck, no other radicular symptoms. The C6/7 is the most difficult to fuse due to the constant movement at that level, but mine finally fused after over a year.

    You should get some good pain and muscle relaxants for your home recovery and it's best to take them on schedule for at least the first week or two. It's important to stay ahead of the pain because once it gets too bad, it's hard to get under control. Only start tapering down when you're ready and are feeling better.

    Walking as soon as possible is important after you get home is imperative as well. Small walks around the house first and then longer as you are able, continuing to increase as time goes by.

    I've had both lumbar and cervical fusion and even though my cervical was 3-lvl and my lumbar was 1-lvl, the lumbar recovery was far worse than the cervical recovery.

    Oh, and one more thing - if you're getting really nervous, you can ask your surgeon to prescribe you some medication to help keep you calm until the big day, like Xanax. I was prescribed these before both surgeries. I can tell you that many here will tell you that the anticipation is oftentimes worse than the surgery itself. I found that to be the case with both of my surgeries.

    Hope some of this helps. Are you going to be wearing a brace?

    Take care and if I can help you in any way, don't hesitate to PM me.

    Cath
  • Thanks for your response and all the helpful experience you offer. I feel likke I'm being silly, but then I keep saying it is my spine which is serious. Just letting anxiety get the best of me about what if this or what if that happens. I will call and ask for something for my nerves sounds like a good idea. I have to be there 2 hours early and I have chronic lower back pain going to both legs so I hope they'll give me something for that as well. Bad beds seem to aggrivate it alot.

    thanks again

    AL S
  • Yes, it IS serious surgery and you can expect a long recovery. It's not all roses and champagne, that's for sure. Any time we have surgery on our spines it's very, very serious and you should take it as such.

    But with that said, I'm sure you're going to do fine and please come back when it's over so we can help you through your recovery.

    Also, be sure you get things ready at home for when you come back post-op, like bendy straws, a recliner, a rolling table next to your "station" (mine was a recliner), medical dressings to change, etc. I also hope that you plan on having someone with you for at least the first week, you'll be tired and having someone to help you with meds and food will be a god-send.

    Take care, Al. I'm glad you're going to call for some meds to help while you wait.

    Cath
  • It's been three months since my post to this site...I don't know much of the technical jargon and I was lucky not to have many chronic back problems...just lumbar pain with sciatica that's very well controlled with the "thomas stretch"...if you aren't familiar with it...Google it. Anyway, I'm back to work as an ER nurse...so, I guess anyone would call that a successful surgery. I take Aleve twice a day and Neurontin at bedtime. One night in the hospital was not enough for me, two was just right...I woke up from surgery feeling like a lineman for a pro football team...I needed iv dilaudid...lived on Percocet for several weeks...but did get walking quickly. I wore a Miami collar for 6 weeks (that's one of the reasons I needed all that Percocet)...had 6 weeks of physical therapy after that, now I'm back to working out and riding my bike, in addition to my job. One of the low points was the morning of surgery, xanax is probably a good idea. I'm using a bone growth stimulator...30 minutes every morning...the surgeon says I'm fusing well...will see him again in 2 months. Give yourself time to heal...it will pay off. Good luck! the cycle rn
  • can you move yr head up and down i need ACDF C-4 C-7
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