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1 wk post-op C6/C7 ACDF and Corpectomy with a titanium cage... Normal?

earth2robineearth2robin Posts: 50
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am one week post-op from an ACDF and corpectomy with a titanium cage on the C6/C7 level and wanted to know if how I am feeling is normal. I feel like there is a baseball in my throat, it makes it so difficult to swallow [( . Also, while my balance problems from my cervical myelopathy have been resolved from the surgery, the numbness, neck pain, and arm pain seems to be worse. The tremors (my husband calls it my palsy) is slightly better. The doctor said before the surgery we were having surgery to halt the progression, that the surgery would not necessarily resolve everything due to the length of time my spinal cord was compressed. My husband thinks things will get better once the swelling goes down. How did everybody else feel after this procedure? Did your symptoms get better or worse? Does the baseball in the throat feeling go away or is that scar tissue now?

Robin :)))

For a laugh, I have to be the only patient that required stitches in the head before an ACDF from losing my balance 1 hour before checking in for surgery! =))


  • The baseball in your throat will dissolve to a golf ball size to a marble. I wonder if the marble ever goes away. Eat the things that feel ok - thick and smooth things are easiest. Funny but fries were easy for me to eat because they mush up easily.

    After the surgery I wound up with more pain down my arm and in my shoulder and shoulder blade. My surgeon said there was inflammation of the muscles pinching on the nerves in my shoulder - normal thing to happen. Maybe it's the same with you?

    It's great that your balance issues have resolved. I still can't walk in a straight line and occasionally bump into walls.

    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.

  • and congratulations on being this side of surgery!

    I haven't had cervical surgery yet, but my neurosurgeon has told me that surgery on me will be to halt the progression of my symptoms rather than to get rid of my symptoms. He did however say that 70% of patients will get some sort of improvement of their symptoms, but couldn't say to what degree 'nor in what sort of time scale.

    He told me that after surgery I would have a sore throat and problems with swallowing and possibly a hoarse voice. He said that this could last a few days of a few weeks. Only rarely would it be permanent. He also said that I would have pain in the back of my neck and across my shoulders, again for a few days or a few weeks.

    All in all, bearing in mind that you are only one week into your recovery, it seems that things are going as to be expected for you.

    Oh and something else my surgeon said, was that we wouldn't be able to tell how much surgery had helped until 6 to 12 months after surgery.

    I hope that you will soon feel that things are disappearing and that you will be happy with the results of your surgery.

    Take care.

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  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,786
    Welcome to S.H.

    Sorry that you needed this procedure.

    Corpectomies (with cage) happen. I am unsure how often they are required. I guess it depends on the condition of the vertabrea(s)& disc(s)involved.

    See my little picture at the left. I have been where you are at more than once.

    I will keep positive thoughts for you,

  • Thanks everybody for your posts. They give me hope that my arm, neck, and back pain will go away soon. The pain is so great now I don't even want to brush my own hair, which never hapened pre-surgery. Immediately after surgery I did not hurt this bad so it makes me wonder if another level needed to be decompressed or if they missed a nerve somewhere. Did anybody else experience greater pain after surgery than before?

  • Hi all !
    Was suffering from funny burning sensation in the RIGHT leg on neck extension and intermittent neck pain radiating to the LEFT arm. Diagnosed on MRI to be having Cervical disc prolapse at C4-5 and C5-6. CT revealed Segmental OPLL at C4, 5 and 6 levels.
    2 weeks post ACDF with partial inferior corpectomy of C4, total midline corpectomy of C5, patial superior corpectomy of C6 with cage and plate fusing C4 to C6. Burning disappeared, doing well, joined work 3 days back. Off collar. Contacted URTi - coughing for last 1 week causing excruciating piercing pain on the left arm travelling from the neck - shoulder blade to upper arm. Post operative new symptom of numbness on the left thumb. Swallowing was a problem for 3-4 days after surgery. Any of our gropu members have any experience about this numbness and the pain and the course of it in following days / weeks. My surgeon says it to be because of blood clots in the vicinity of nerve roots causing these problems which should settle in a few weeks. I do not want to take analgesics, any home remedy for the same?
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  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I had the same surgery and I can tell you once the swelling goes down there will be a big difference. At least for me it did. That was a rough surgery and I dont think I began to feel better until three to four weeks after surgery. The positions we are put in during the surgery can aggravate all the muscles so that also takes time to heal. Hopefully in time you will begin to feel better
  • Just an update. I saw my surgeon yesterday. He was very disappointed that my voice is still very hoarse and that I am still having difficulties swallowing. I think mainly because it messes with his stats as one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the US ;-). Seriously though, he was truly concerned and told me to keep talking, that the more I use the muscles the better my voice will get and swallowing easier.

    He was not that surprised that I still have a high amount of pain in places, but a lot of my symptoms have at least gotten better. My arm, neck, and back pain on the right side is still worse than before surgery, especially with activity like using my laptop. My left side is completely better, though there is some neck pain and muscle pain. Numbness is 90% better, balance 80% better, strength 95-100%, and my limp is gone. Still have the palsy though, which is really annoying when following difficult recipes ;-). I still have the tinnitus and get headaches as well.

    Additionally, my doctor said the surgery went really well and that he was very surprised that I was even able to move around and walk before the surgery because the compression was so bad. They gave me copies of the surgery notes, which is an interesting read although I could not understand some of it. It was nice to see what my doctor thinks of me, though reading about how my long neck helped them with pin placement was a first , lol :))(

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