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Bad Disc c-5/6

KarebearKKarebear Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Would love to hear from any people who have this and have had surgery, what to expect. thanks! :W


  • Hello Karen,

    Nice to see you back with us woman! My first disk to go was C5/6. Mine was herniated on the cord and the right exit nerve root. Due to risk of paralysis I underwent and ACDF (Anterior Cervical Disectomy & Fusion). The surgery for that level relieved all pain, numbness and restored function.

    For me, I checked into the hospital at 0500, was given another "little" pre op clearance from the surgical admittance doctor. Once cleared I was brought to the pre surgical ward to change into my lovely hospital attire and a final urinalysis. (pregnancy verification). After being put onto a gurney I was hooked up to IV's and a few more questions to include verification I was me, and I knew what surgery I was about to undertake.

    A short time after that the Anesthesiologist introduced himself, went over my records. My surgeon then checked in, reconfirmed the surgery we agreed upon. Shortly after that I was knocked out and off to surgery. Surgery was at 0700 (per the OR notes lasted 1:10), and I awoke in recovery around 2pm. Back in my room around 4, stayed overnight and was released at around 11am the next day wearing a hard collar (Aspen).

    I was given a weeks worth of Percocet and a muscle relaxer (can't recall what its name was - sorry). Recovery wasn't too bad - sore (lump like) throat, minor surgical pain, prior herniated disk symptoms gone. At day 10 I had my first post op with my surgeon. All was going per schedule and I was removed from the hard collar. I was given a soft collar for use in the car, or out and about - more so for *my* internal security as the hardware is pretty darn hardy. I was off all pain medication too after that.

    I found with that level it was more comfortable to sleep in a recliner for the first 2 months, then back into my regular bed. I was in law enforcement, so my surgeon didn't let me go back to work (light duty) until the end of week six. I was released for FULL duty at 4 months. Most people if in less aggressive jobs, the restrictions are far less. I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can help further. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • for response! just found it..having hard time finding my way around this website/etc. the info was helpful. hm..my dr told me theres a risk of paralysis...yet ive postponed my surgery as i have no sick time/and would have to pay my work for the cost of my ins and cant do that...so. do you think its ok im waiting to 6/20? I have a soft neck brace im wearing, and im not driving, having my hubby drop me at work...
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  • Karebear,

    None of us can tell you if delaying will cause problems, that will have to come from your surgeon. I know on my first fusion, I put it off for 2 years (regret that now) with the risk of paralysis. Fortunately for that level (C5/6) all turned out well - just had 2 years of ridiculous pain I didn't need to have! (G)

    Without knowing what you do for work, not driving, and having a supportive hubby is probably a win win you your situation. :) Please let us know how it goes. Gentle support *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Last August I had my c5/6 replaced. My surgeon recommended the "taking the bone from your hip" process so that's what I did. When I woke up from surgery, the pain in my neck, the headache, and the severe arm pain was gone. I did not realize until they moved me from the gurney to the bed that my hip hurt but I was up and moving around pretty quickly.

    I too slept in the recliner a few nights and was more living in fear of messing something up than in pain. I hobbled around for about six weeks on the hip but was back at work part time in two weeks and full time in four. Even hobbling, I could get my desk job done pretty well.

    A few weeks after my surgery, my husband had an MRI done and while his doctor- a different doctor was reviewing his MRI - I immediately recognized the disk and the problem...it was the same as mine. He had a cadaver bone and hardware placed during his surgery. He was home by 7:00 that evening and get this...in the bed. I could not lay down for a few days...my neck was just too tender. He was able to lay down without complaint. It could be the person or the process. I really do not know. He never had the severe symptoms I had so his herniation had not reached the level mine had so I wonder if he was simply not as aware of the problems to begin with thus the pain just never really set in. I do not know.

    Both of us have fully fused and recovered. I am having additional problems with c4/5 now but they were sort of there previously. I have been informed only recently that I have "congenital narrowing" of my cervical spinal canal...so I suppose I am going to face more issues in the future. In his case, he suffered a fall and hit his head which induced an injury.

    Two stories but both of us had positive outcomes.
  • Thaks all! Was not even aware where to find responses, lol. Just learning my away around this site. I have been approved for full pay and insurance, so my surgery may be moved up to June 14th..won't know until 6/6 when surgeon scheduler returns. I am anxious to get it done as i am in pain constantly, taking hydrocodone/acet. several times a day...hurts to move my head, constant neck and head pain...they never said anything to me aboutwhat was being put in my neck or harvesting from another part of my body-dont think thats happening...does that sound right?
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  • Haven't gotten alot of info on what to expect after surgery when you go home-do you need someone there for the first 24 hours or so? can you do most household things? How long before you can drive comfortably? I am a data entry operator...expecting to be out just four weeks, but have been told I can take as much as is needed.
    Thank you! :)
  • I think having someone there for the first 24 hours is probably good, but all you will want to do is sit or lie still. Milkshakes tasted wonderful, but I did not have much interest in eating for a week or so. My husband became an expert milkshake maker or he would stop and buy me one. I had two levels done (C5-C7) and the worst part of my rehab was the muscle spasms, but once I got on a muscle relaxer, I was much better. I was not pain free, but I did start driving after a week or two (with doctor's permission) and started going to work in week 3, but did not stay in the office for a full day until around week 5. I was not required to wear any kind of neck brace after that surgery. I think I was brought back 3 times over the next 4 months for xrays to make sure I was fusing, but had no problems with that either and was released at 6 months, again not pain free, but the arm and hand pain and weakness was completely gone.

    Best wishes on your surgery!
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