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Having an Anterior Cervical Discectomy 4/1 - Will I be home for Easter?

sparkledctssparkledct Posts: 120
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Good Morning All. My surgery is fast approaching for an ACD on C6/C7. My doctor told me 1-5 days in hospital stay. I am hoping for no more than 2 so I can be home for Easter morning with my 3 children. Is this realistic? Please anyone who had this can you let me know how many days you were actually in the hospial and what deterimines the 1-5 day span?? I am super nervous so info would be appreciated. Thanks so much!


  • Someone was nice enough to correct my error. It is cervical so they said c6/7. Sorry everyone I do not know much about this stuff.
  • I had a 3-lvl ACDF on a Tuesday and came home on Wednesday. If you have no complications, then the decision to release you is generally based on your being able to control you pain with oral medications rather than a pain pump, and being able to pass the various tests with the PT person (climbing stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub on your own, etc.).

    Be sure to have all the post-op stuff ready for when you get home, like straws, soft foods in case you have a sore throat or trouble swallowing for a bit, a grabber tool, maybe some premade meals in the freezer, etc. You can check the post-op must-haves sticky in the surgery section. You won't need everything there as some are specific to lumbar surgery, but we can all help you with what you might need also.

    Do you know if you'll be wearing a brace?

    Take care and don't hesitate to ask more questions or PM me if you'd like.

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  • I saw the list they had for things I will need and it wa a bit overwhelming. Cause I have no idea what I will really need and what was back related. How long were you really laying in bed and such? I have already heard about being able to eat afterwards and it sounds like a bit of a challenge. I feel like I am going to freak out half the time cause my nerves are just shot at this point. I want to just cry.
    I want to be home and be able to take care of my kids and go back to work etc.. Any more info you have to share with me would be great. Was your surgery recent? Thanks, I need someone that can ease my mind a bit cause I think I am close to loosing it.
  • Awww, Sparkle, I totally understand how terrifying it is to be facing cervical spine surgery. It's something that I'll never forget and that's why I like being here to try and help someone like you. I have truly walked in your shoes and I can tell you that the anticipation is often worse than the surgery itself. It was for me and many members here. I also know that it's no comfort to hear that now, but I'm going to bet that you'll say that when come back here after your surgery. :-)

    My surgery was on Oct. 21, 2008. I was up and moving just a few hours after I was brought to my room. I didn't have a catheter, so I had to walk to the bathroom and for some reason, I had to go about every 45 min (quite annoying).

    You'll need the things I listed above. Do you have a recliner? Most neckies live in them for the first few weeks because laying flat when you get home can be difficult. Mine is still my home base. You'll want to set up an area where you'll be "parked" when you get home and have a table near to keep your pills, a drink, magazines, games, etc.

    I didn't have a big problem with swallowing after my surgery. I was eating pork chops the night I came home (my hubby makes perfect pork chops - yum). I was wearing a hard brace, so the bendy straws were a big help because I couldn't tip my head back.

    A shower seat is also very helpful as you shouldn't put your head back when you take a shower and wash your hair. My hubby helped me with my showers for the first couple of weeks, so I'd sit on the stool and he'd wash my hair and help me wash.

    You'll want to be up and walking as soon as you can after you get home. Start with short walks and keep increasing the distance as you can. Walking is great exercise for recovering spineys. What you might find difficult after the first couple of weeks is the boredom. You'll have restrictions (no BLT - bending, lifting or twisting), and after a while you'll feel like you can do more than you should. If you do that, then you'll learn the hard way and pay for it by having increased pain. So make sure you have things you can do within your restrictions. I have a Nintendo DS my hubby bought me and that helped keep me busy. I also joined Netflix and watched a bunch of movies.

    Do you have plans to have someone with you 24/7 after your surgery? Are you going to wear a brace?


    PS If you're really freaking out, like I did, call your surgeon and see if he'll prescribe something to help keep your nerves calmer, like xanax. My surgeon had no problem before either of my surgeries doing that.
  • Also, when you're in the hospital, if you're in pain tell the nurse. They may want to change the med or increase it, but there's no reason to suffer while at the hospital. Make sure they keep you comfortable.

    And when you get home, take your meds as prescribed to stay ahead of the pain. Don't let it get ahead of you by missing a dose because it's difficult to get it back under control.

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  • I have my pre-op appointment with my family doc tomorrow so that she will release me for surgery so I was thinking about telling her about my mental discomfort.. I am itching and have headaches and am just a mess. I do look forward to coming back to the boards and being a help to someone else after my surgery like so many people here have been for me. I do have a recliner in the corner of my living room that no one has ever used so I guess I can camp out on that for a while. As far as the neck brace if I remember right he was saying I would not have one so I guess I am not really sure. And I wont see the surgeon again till the actualy surgery so who knows. Still feel sick to my stomache thinking about it, but I know it has to be done and wonderful people like you guys help us new ones get through it. Thank you so much!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    In the U.S.A. the stay for a 1-2 level ACDF is usually 1-2 days at the most, more than that requires insurance company approval. I was offered a second night and took it as I wanted the comfortable nature of the adjustable hospital bed.

    With my ACDF I did have to find a comfortable chair at home as that's where I spend most of the time during the day. I'd say the first week at home I was in bed a few hours a day. For me comfort was based on my Aspen Collar. One of our reclining chairs just hit the collar in the right place so I spent most of every day there for the first few weeks. I have no kids so it was all just about my recovery. I don't know how you moms and dads do it.

    I do have a shower chair (had that for years and it's been helpful so many times). I had swallowing problems for about 4-6 hours after surgery. Cepacol lozenges helped and by the next morning that was no longer a concern.

    If it helps, I am a veteran of a ton of surgeries from orthopedic (knees, back, neck , foot) to some abdominal stuff (gallbladder removal, ovary removal, tubes tied, etc). Of ALL the spine surgeries I've had the ACDF was the least painful and easiest to recover from!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • It sure does help, thank you. Two days tops and I would be home to see them hunt for eggs. Already told my teenager he is playing easter bunny this year (hiding the eggs for the other two) I am a single mom with 3 kids but I will have good support from my Mom, Dad and Ex hopefully enough to get me through this and back to work in 2-3 weeks. I appreciate all the comments and help you are all just the best.
  • I'm just wondering how your pre-op went. Please let us know what happened.

  • Hi Sparkle,

    Hopefully your appointment went well today. Don't worry to much that your surgeon doesn't have you in a brace. Depending on why the surgery is being done typically refers to why a collar is worn or not. We have had plenty of members who didn't need a collar or brace. The good thing about not needing one is you won't have as many muscle issues as with those who need them. They typically will weaken the muscles. I lived alone at the time of my surgery and only spent 18 hours at the surgery center. I also had used my bone and I did ok by myself. One thing you might want to do is have some meals all ready made and frozen so they can just be microwaved. You will be able to sit with your teenager and direct him on the meal prep and it will be easy on him. Walking is going to be your best friend. You might want to look on the internet and find a walking program that will have some measurable goals. You may want to invest in a pedometer to measure your distances. I hope all goes well with surgery and let us know how the appointment went today. Take care.
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