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C4 to c6 Neck Fusion (front and back) new member

ckmerccckmerc Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Has anyone had something similar to what I am having done? Having a fusion from c4 to c6 and they are taking out c5 and using a cadaver bone...then putting a plate and screws in the front.

Then two days later they are going in the back of my neck to put rods, screws and bone fusion in the back (c4 to c6) to help stabilize. This second fusion will also help correct the "swan" neck curve condition I have.

So two surgeries in three days... Dec 5th and then again on Dec 7th. DR. in Appleton with is going to be the surgeon....

Just wondering what I can expect in terms of recovery.....have had a neck fusion previously when I was 15 (c3 to c4)....am now 38 and not sure what things will be like with both front and back being worked on...

Appreciate any replies....many thanks! Chuck


  • Welcome to the site. Look around and you'll find a lot of useful information. I had an ACDF 3-7earlier this year. I had artificial discs with a plate and titanium screws, but mine was all through the front. I think I have seen others who have had front and back. My pain was pretty well controlled, and my recovery pretty much as they explained. I was told every day my family could see my progress. After the first couple of weeks I felt human. You do have to be careful not to overdo because you pay for it the next day. Just follow doctor's orders.

    Take care.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Hi Chuck,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. About a year and half ago, I had a posterior/anterior surgery. I had already, like you, had prior surgery and they needed to remove the anterior plate and put a new one in, then did the posterior with new rods. The only difference it was all done in one day. I was home the next day following surgery, and while the posterior does cause more pain, I did okay. The biggest issue with the surgery is the muscle spasms so be sure they are giving you a good muscle relaxer. Stay on top of your pain meds, so you don't play catch up.

    My best guess on recovery is about 3 months, still you start feeling better from surgery, but a total of a year for fusion. That was my experience you may heal quicker. Do you know what type of grafting material they will be using? I used my own bone so recovery was a little longer.

    Just thought i would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted on how you do.
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  • Wow! You had a fusion when you were fifteen? Everyone thought it was strange that I had one at 23. I am not sure how your recovery will be with the anterior and posterior approach. It sounds rough though! Have you gotten a second opinion just in case?
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I have had the posterior and anterior approach and along with Tamtam it was done on the same day. I cant remember if I was in the hospital 2 or 3 days . Like she mentioned in the post above the posterior approach is hard on the muscles. Take your meds as prescribed and not when you feel like you need them. Stay ahead of the spasms. The first week I wasnt able to do much but after that I was walking daily and back to work in 4 weeks. The posterior approach is a harder surgery and a longer recovery then the anterior approach but for me it did the trick of stabilizing my neck after 4 failed surgeries. The one thing I found I could not live without was a hospital bed during recovery. Raising up out of the bed in the morning was a real struggle for me. If you are given the option of having one I would take it. Keep us posted and good luck
  • Thanks for the replies...I did ask my surgeon (and others as well) about artificial cervical disks.. guess the trials have not been going well...slipping, wearing out early..etc. I was bummed to learn this as I would rather have this vs a fusion... they will be using a cadaver bone to fuse vertebre. So I will have three though six fused...(three and four were fused when I was 15 - diving accident)

    Not looking forward to being in a lot of pain....but raher this than not being able to walk someday.. a few questions...

    - my surgeries are Dec 5th and again on the 7th...will I be able to snowblow my driveway come late January?

    When will I be able to pick up and play with my son....35lbs

    Also...how would I post a pick of my mri...so everyone can see? Many thanks!
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  • Honestly as far as what you will be able to do will be dependent on how well the surgery goes. As far as picking up your son, well that might not happen till spring. I was on a 10lb weight restriction for 6 months. I also was in a miami j for three months. I doubt that snow blowing your driveway this winter would be a good idea, but then again, your surgeon might say otherwise. You need to follow your restrictions to the T, as you don't want to have to go through all of this again. Myself having some of the worst luck and 6 surgeries latter none of that is worth the risk if you ask me.

  • Its been 13 months since my life as I feel ended. On march 9th 2011 I was hit from behind ,a hit and run while driving 65mpr+ on my motorcycle. The impact was so hard that my helmet flew off shoes got kicked off as well as both socks
    I suffer from really bad lower back tightness so bad to where at times when I stand my body jerks. My right leg is useless I can move it and stand on it but it exhausts me. It feels tight as well. My left leg is the great one no problems. So Idont know what to make of it. I am on the highest does of baclofen, lyrica,tizanide,nucynta and 100mcg fentanyl.

    Want I want to know is what causing my left left to not be cooperating will it ever get better. I truly cannot see myself living this way for the rest of my life. Oh i must say I was paralyzed chest down for 5 months and told I was never ever gonna walk again and now if u see me I'm able in the house with no aid and long walks with a cane but my right leg hyper extends. Does that ever go away. Newbie here
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