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Going in for C-6 discectomy in 2 weeks

Prissy2PPrissy2 Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone I'm hoping to find out what's in store for me after this surgery.
I have a herniated disc at the C-6 levelalong with arthritis in C-4 & C-5 on both the right & left sides. I've been in physical therapy, epidural injections since my injury in Dec. of 2009. I have constant pain in left arm, neck,& shoulder. They tell me after the surgery all the pain will go away. But that I will never be able to deliver the mail again, which really sucks for me. Were any of you able to do all or almost all of the things you did before your injury. I'm also trying to see what to expect after the surgery they are going to use an prosthestic disc.
Worried sick about this.


  • Hi can anyone help me out with advice or comments. Surgery is less than 2 weeks away and am very scared & worried about the whole thing
  • first off, welcome to spine health!! there is a search box at the top of the web page that can help with lots of questions - the articles are written by doctors and endorsed by the owners of this site. they are very good. okay, with all that said...

    my apologies for not replying. i was reading your post earlier, and as i started to respond my hubby distracted me on one of his projects. so i apologize for that.

    i've had two fusion surgeries, but none for a prosthetic disc. or is that just a different word for a bone graph (yours or donor)? before my first fusion, i was in 'freak out' mode for months! like you i underwent all kinds of conservative treatment (medications, pt, shots, chiro etc.) which either didn't work, or made things worse. if you are getting an acdf (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion), here is a link from here that 'shows' you what they will do:


    as to whether you will be able to go back to your career, that may be true, but i wouldn't cancel my career or quit my job until the 'fat lady sings' as they say. after my first fusion, i did awake with almost zero pain! i was so happy i actually cried "happy tears" in the recovery room!

    as for recovery and such. you just need to follow your surgeon's orders to the "t". you will probably be told to walk as soon as you can (works all that junk they pumped into you from surgery out faster), rest when tired, eat properly, no loading (bending) on your neck, restrictive lifting - no heavier than a gallon of milk many of us are told. no sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, laundry etc. let your body heal.

    many of us find that after we wake after surgery, much of our stress, worry, anxiety etc., was worse than the surgery itself! i've added a link from here of "post surgery must haves" that might be of help. it is more geared for lumbar, but there's lots in there for cervical. hope it helps.


    please don't feel we didn't want to help, but sometimes things get slow, other times gang buster answers result. again welcome aboard!! if you have more questions, please ask away!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • Thank you for the links, and thank you for telling me it's not so scary afterwards.
    As to the prosthetic disc no not my bone or a donor it's made of plastic that they fill with my disc when they remove it. No I wouldn't quit my job I would just look for something else there to do.
    Thank you again you were so helpful
  • You will have a lot of prayers coming your way for a positive outcome to your surgery.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • You're very Welcome! That prosthetic disk sounds rather interesting. Please let us know how it all goes. I'll send you positive energy and thoughts that all will be fine.

    As for looking for different work, not a bad 'pre-strike', hopefully it won't be needed. Fingers staying crossed for ya!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • Thank you brenda & davrunner. I asked My NS's office to have my husbands FMLA papers filled out so he can take leave to help me after surgery they said not until after the surgery. I also asked them then how much care would I need afterwards the assistant told me that I would be able to do all everyday things after I get home. The other secretary told me yeah you should be able to go on to a regular life after my surgery. Then after arguing with me they proceeded to tell me well your restrictions will come after surgery. So I told them what I had been reading on this site about other patients. They then proceeded to tell me that everything I read on here was for lumbar patients. I'm just wondering if anyone else on here has dealt with this. I know everyone is different in healing but can anyone please tell me or give me an idea of what I am in for after this surgery. I really need an idea so I know how long my husband should possibly be looking at.
    Thank you in advance
  • My husband did not take any time off after my surgery. He did take the day off of my surgery and the day after because he had to drive me home, but went to work the following Monday. My surgery was done on a Thursday and I came home on Friday. He really didn't have a choice, but I was fine at home alone, resting and just letting my dogs in and out. I had two levels done (C5-C7). I really just wanted to be alone and quiet anyway. I didn't care to watch tv or read at that point, just rested. I stayed home for a week, working from my laptop and cell phone as I felt like it, then started going back to the office for a few hours every day during the second week.
    We just made sure that I had everything I needed close by the bed where I was most comfortable and I could easily get to the kitchen for food and drinks when I needed them. I walked a bit in the driveway and took longer walks when he was at home to walk with me.
    I'm sure you're going to be fine. I think the anticipation and worry is much worse prior to the surgery and then you can come home and allow yourself time to heal afterward.
  • I guess I should clarify that I had disk replacement (with donor bone) and titanium plate and screws at the two levels.
    Later had an SCS implanted and for me that recovery was much more restrictive than the first surgery.
  • I am 6 wks post op c-5, c-6 fusion with cadaver bones used to replace the discs. It was 3 to 4 weeks before I started feeling halfway decent. I still have trouble swallowing (smoothies for the first 2 wks). There was a LOT of pain at first. I had to stay an extra night because of it. If I did it over again, I would ask specifically what medication they are going to use post-op and I would make sure it is something strong like morphine or dilaudid. They gave me vicodin which did nothing. I was up and about after 4 days, walking and being active around the house. I sleep on my back with two pillows under my knees. I use a foam pillow for support. Early on it's hard to sleep. The doctor gave me xanax when i left the hospital which helped in conjunction with muscle relaxers and percocet. I find that herbal packs heated in the microwave that wrap around my neck and shoulders to give some relief - in the beginning I used ice too. Most of my pain at first was actually in my shoulders. It takes time to heal. I will be off of work (office) for another 3 to 4 wks. I tried going in to the office today for a couple of hours and was in a lot of pain. I feel MUCH better now than I did prior to the surgery, I am just not 100% yet. The last 20% seems to be taking the longest. My doc says it can take longer to heal afterwards if you are in a lot of pain prior to surgery. My husband stayed home with me the first three weeks which was awesome. Good luck to you - give yourself time to heal!

  • I guess that staff should *read* what is on here, because obviously they don't know this site is the trifecta!! Cervical, thoracic and Lumbar, plus other nerve related issues! Lumbar patients (for) Lol!!!

    I too like the other posters, my hubby took 2 days off for me sort of. He took me in for surgery, and once they took me away, he went back to work for a few hours, then came back when I was out of recovery. He then went to work in the morning as I wasn't going to be released until 1pm, so he did a half day there. He then took the full next day off to be sure me and my medications got along - I've had a few pretty severe reactions. Then I recovered, took my time getting around in the house, resting etc. You should find that you are pretty self sufficient when you come home. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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