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Is an ACCF much more risky than an ACDF?

BrihtwulfBBrihtwulf Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello Everyone,

I have some more questions to throw at those who have had neck surgeries, particularly if you've had an ACCF. I've already had two spinal surgeries (a discectomy, then fusion at L5-S1), but now it seems I have problems in my neck as well. And this time, it's at multiple levels with multiple problems. Blah! Here's the current situation:

I have an "osteophyte complex" i.e. various bone spurs on my C5 vertebra causing spinal stenosis. Additionally, both discs at C5-C6, and C6-C7 are ruptured. There is spinal stenosis at both those levels. There are also some bone abnormalities with C6, but they weren't causing any stenosis. There wasn't any sign of foraminal narrowing, so at least that's good.

After getting some input from a few medical professional friends (doctors and nurses but NOT NS's), it has been suggested that I "could" be looking at an ACCF surgery to fix the problems. However, after reading what they do it sounds pretty damn scary (even more so than spinal surgery in the first place). The consensus from those I've talked to seems to be that the surgery recommended could be anything from a 2-level ACDF to a 4-level ACCF with removal of C5-C6. I wonder what might be the "worst case scenario".

So, I'm wondering how much more dangerous this surgery is than the more commonly performed ACDF. I see my neurosurgeon on Thursday to discuss the situation, but I want to make sure I know as much as possible before going in. Does anyone have advice good or bad regarding the corpectomy?

Does it hurt a lot more?
Is there a bigger scar?
Is the recovery a lot longer?
Is the risk of paralysis very high?

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but for some reason the idea of a neck surgery scares the hell out of me a lot more than it did when they needed to operate on my lower back. At least then if I was paralyzed I could still use my arms, right? Anyway, thanks everyone!



  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I had the removal of c5-6 due to the disc being so diseased. I am not going to lie, this was a rough surgery for me but I also had alot of other issues going on that needed repaired. I had older fusions that needed broken out because of the way it healed, removal of plate and 2 broken screws That recovery was harder then the posterior fusion I had at a later date.
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