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ACDF or not? Help please



  • Nearly everyone on this post is giving medical advice and I don't see and MD behind your names. The proper advice is for the original poster to either take the advice of one of their consultants, or go for a third opinion if they are still unsure. None of us on this site are qualified to give out medical advice, even though we may have seen a lot of doctors and had many surgeries, you really should make this decision between yourself and a physician.
  • please note that forum members give their opinions based on their own personal experiences. it is important to differentiate between that and peer reviewed medical advice from experienced physicians. spine health is more than just a member forum. it also has a vast amount of information provided by participating physicians who write articles for all of us to gather information from. this is a short quote from one that i have linked below. it should help provide the op with a bit more insight and also set the discussion back on track.

    richard stahler m.d. said:
    treatments for a cervical herniated disc

    the majority of the time, the arm pain from a cervical herniated disc can be controlled with medication, and conservative (non-surgical) treatments alone are enough to resolve the condition.

    once the arm pain does start to improve it is unlikely to return, although it may take longer for the weakness and numbness/tingling to improve. if the arm pain gets better it is acceptable to continue with conservative treatment, as there really is no literature that supports the theory that surgery for cervical disc herniation helps the nerve root heal quicker.

    all treatments for a cervical herniated disc are essentially designed to help resolve the arm pain, and usually the weakness and numbness/tingling will resolve with time.
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  • Maybe the fact that you seem very unsure about having surgery, mean that you are not quite ready mentally to do it?
    I do believe that most of us have a certain level of hesitation all the way up to surgery, its a life changing thing, for better or worse. However, once you are mentally ready for surgery, you can be scared and hesitant towards what will be, but you also know that you cannot keep on living like you are now.

    My 2 level ACDF is in 3 weeks, Im scared as h... and at least once everyday I think puh, I still have time to cancel. Before I got booked a few weeks ago, I was a basket case and so confused, but still, I just knew I had to do it because I cannot live like this anymore. I have gone for 5 years with conservative treatment, but pain has gotten greater, more loss of mobility and numbness and weakness progresses.

    A year ago I was not ready, now I am.
    You will know when you are ready.

    Best of luck with any descicion you go with, as well as recovery,
    Cause: car accident & genetics
    Effect: herniations C4-7, stenosis, osteoarthritis, myelopathy, neuropathy
    Non-invasive Treatment: everything under the sun
    Invasive Treatment: 2 level ACDF, C5 & C6, May 2012
    Moving Forward: SCS
  • I appreciate all of your comments and understand that this isn't medical advice but rather the anecdotal experiences and/or opinions of people that have gone through the same thing.

    Ms. Pixie: no, I'm not ready for surgery yet, despite having two neurosurgeons recommend surgery. I guess I'll know when I'm ready.

    Is there anyone here that has had that surgery when they weren't in intense pain?
  • I can honestly say that I was not in intense pain when I had my ACDF surgery last week. Burning pain behind my left shoulder and numbness in both hands, but my symptoms usually presented themselves late in the day when I was using the computer (similar to carpal tunnel symptoms) and when I was looking up to watch tv (mounted to the wall), putting pressure on the area. I saw my surgeon on the 10th and had the ACDF on the 11th. I knew that surgery was eventually coming and I didn't want to chance permanent nerve damage by waiting. I am now 11 days out of surgery and I feel fine. The surgery only required one stitch on the front of my neck and there is no visible scar now. Mine was a multi-level fusion of C5 to C6 and C6 to C7. My only complaint is my lifting restrictions. My suggestion is that you not suffer needlessly, but listen to your body.
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  • I met with my NS two days ago and he recommended that I wait. I was in severe pain in my right arm and had severe numbness in my right thumb and index finger from Sep 2011-Jan 2012. Since that time, the pain and numbness has subsided. Both he and another NS tell me that I need surgery. The only question is, when. kbswinger gives good advice (listen to your body) as that is exactly what my NS told me. If the pain comes back with a vengence, it's time for me. Good luck.
  • Can't tell you which way to go. I had neck/shoulder/arm issues for a couple of years before being diagnosed with two herniated discs and the C5-C6, C6-C7 being bone-to-bone with bone spurs...had surgery in 2010, two discs removed or what was left of them...3 vertebrae fused...with chip of bone from my hip. The pain was a lot easier to tolerate after the surgery, in the level 1-2 range after therapy. I returned to work in 2 months...a year later, appears one of the fused vertebrae didn't take. Had trigger point injections, cervical steroid injections, and going back to see the doc again to see what if anything can be done. Good luck on whatever you decide. It worked pretty well for a while. Will see what the doctor finds in the next few weeks...
  • I am not qualified to tell you what choice to make but I do think having trust in your doctor might help. I had my surgery last Tuesday and i am already feeling much better and hoping that it was a success.

    I decided that there was no way I was going to get better without surgery and I had 3 doctors telling me there was really no other choice.

    So, I asked around about my neurosurgeon and everyone told me he was the best in town.

    I finally felt at easy when he came to talk to me just before surgery and looked over to my mother who seemed more afraid than me and said. " I am going to do the best I can, the rest we will leave to the Lord."
    Right at that moment I felt at peace with it and just put my faith and trust into the Doctors hands.

    I hope whatever decision you make that you will get better,
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