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How do they determine if you have permanent nerve damage after ACDF surgery?

Cindyx3CCindyx3 Posts: 144
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm wondering how do they determine if you have permanent nerve damage. 5 months and I still have pain. I am fusing but OUCH!!!!! I have good and bad days and wonder when it gets better?????


  • They can also do a emg study and compare against the one you had prior to surgery if one was done and look at results. Also sometimes they can tell during surgery as well that the nerve is damaged. So best to check with your surgeon. As Paul said nerves can take a long time to heal.
  • Paul is right, you will know by 12 months post op if your going to have permanent damage. I had my surgery in March of this year and I still have severe pain in my neck. Everyone I go to is telling me that my spinal cord is permanently damaged and will not fix itself. I will have to live with this pain for the rest of my life. I was 100% fused at 5 months.
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  • It they tell you that you have 100percent fusion then that dosent mean that you may have damage to the nerves anyway? I've been confused over this issue. Welcome any clarification. Thanks
  • The doctors are telling me that my spinal cord is permanently damaged due to the disc pressing against it for too long even though the surgery was successful. The spinal cord will be unable to repair itself. I'm still praying for a miracle. This pain is much too severe to live with for the rest of my life.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    The pure medical way of determining the extent of nerve damage is through EMG Tests.

    Compliments of Spine-Health : EMG

    The practical easy way is to see how long the nerve pain and feelings last.
    Many times it can take up to a year to heal some nerve pain. At lot depends on what condition your nerves were in prior to surgery, how long was a disc pressing on a nerve, how involved was the surgery, etc.

    Then even after a year, you might feel nerve problems.

    For myself, the painful daily nerve pain after surgery stopped about 9 months after the actual procedure. But then I noticed that I had loss of feelings in part of my leg and foot. An EMG test indicated that I had some permanent nerve damage going from my right side of my leg (starting at knee level) down into my big toe. I have a classic drop foot. But the only times it really bothers me is if I dont pay attention to walking up stairs. When I dont I generally trip.

    But if you have doubts and want to know, talk to your doctor about their thoughts on setting up an EMG test for you.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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