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ACDF c5-c7

I had a PLIF in Sept/2010 and this forum was the BOMB-DIGGITY! Now I am back with the neck giving me problems and needing surgery. ACDF at c5-c7 (two levels) I said that I would have no more surgeries after the PLIF. I had not problems with the surgery or anything out of the ordinary with the recovery but boy was it hard! What are y'alls thoughts on this ACDF. The surgeon is the same on that did the back surgery. Great surgeon. He says that I have to wear the hard brace in public and in the car for 4 months and the soft collar around the house and in the bed for 4 months. Seems like a long time. Has anyone on here wore one for that long? I am feeling antsy about the whole thing and put it off until 7/24/2013. This is a workers comp injury from 2008. I am retired now (after back surgery) because of how physical my job was. I have gained weight and become sedentary for a couple of reasons. I feel pooped on by my job for retiring me and just depressed in general. Pain meds add to the depression. Do you all think that after this surgery that I will be able to wean off the meds. I am on Roxicodin 15 and soma. I need some of everyone's opinions. Thanks


  • Maybe my question was too long...I just wondered what y'alls opinion of 4 months of the collar and if anyone had gotten off all pain meds after having had a back surgery (2010) and a neck surgery (in the future 7/24/2013), Thanks
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    Personally for me the neck surgery was easier to recover from. One of my neck surgeries which was the c5-c7 I was back to work in 2 weeks. I wore the collar for 3 months and trust me you will be ready to get out of it!!!! Take my advice the thing starts stinking after about a month. I would put odor eater foot inserts in the back of the collar to take away the smell.lol. As far as pain meds go I will be on them I assume for the rest of my life. Ive had 5 cervical surgeries and all my damage is structural so that will never get better. good luck and keep us posted
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  • Hi Traci,
    I also found the neck surgery easier to recover from.
    I had a PLIF in March 2010 and then an ACDF of C3/4/5 in November 2012.
    I do still have some nerve pain but it is being quite well controlled with nerve pain tablets - Nortriptyline which is like a refined version of Amitriptyline.

    My pain level was much higher from my lumbar spine before surgery and the relief after surgery was wonderful.
    With my neck I had so many symptoms that I was referred to a neurologist for testing to rule out MS and some other conditions that they didn't name. It was decided that all my symptoms could be coming from my neck and the cord compression that I had. After surgery I have been left with many of my pre-surgery symptoms. My surgeon says it is possible that I could still get improvement up to 12 months after surgery. I am staying hopeful, but was told before my surgery that it was being done to get the pressure off my cord and stop the progression of damage to that, not to relieve my symptoms.

    I never had to wear a brace for either surgery. Each surgeon has different rules for their patients and they are the ones who know what is going on inside us, so we just have to follow their advice. :-)

    I have also had to leave my job where they were not being at all supportive. I must say that I do feel a lot better since giving up. :-)
  • I have had 3 ACDF's. I only wore a brace for one, the last one, for maybe 8 or so weeks due to previous complication.

    Doctors generally do not prescribe cervical braces these days, which really shocked me. I think perhaps your doctor is being ultra conservative.

    My first surgery was c5-c7, healed great, nearly all my pain was alleviated and then a lady rear ended me while I was at a standstill and broke a screw and did a lot of muscle damage.

    My second one was c4-5 which barely healed 50% and did not alleviate much pain at all.

    My third was c3-c4 and replating at c4-c5 since it did not heal properly so the plate is from C3-C5. I was given a bone growth stimulator and my fusion completely failed, 0% fusion and it's been 3 years. I'm now looking at a posterior fusion for C2-T2.

    As for weaning of medications, work with your doctor to do so, it will take probably at least 2 months to be completely free of medications. On the other hand I would wait things out to see if your surgery is successful or not a number of months at least. Hopefully things will work out well for you
  • bookcatbbookcat United States Posts: 66
    I wore my collar post-2 level ACDF (C5-7) for 9 weeks. My surgeon was concerned about possible fusion failure die to some risk factors I have. A strong word of advice: after wearing the collar put on me after the surgery for 2 weeks, my neurologist saw me. Not only was the collar too big, my head wasn't being held at the appropriate angle. He prescribed a custom collar. It made a night and day difference. The custom collar was comfortable and much easier to wear 24-7.

    As for the pain meds, I was taking 240 mg of oxycontin a day plus break-thru Nucynta just before and for the first two weeks after surgery. I was able to go to 180 after that. I was entirely off the oxy by 8 months post-surgery. I followed the taper set out by my pain management doc and he based that on my symptoms. It took about 8 months post-surgery to stop. NSAIDS were not an option due to the fusing process. I started wearing a bone growth stimulator 3 months post and was completely fused by 9 months post. Unfortunately, 10 months post, I need an urgent lumbar laminectomy so have resumed some pain meds. I'm not yet on oxy but would not hesitate to start again.

    Good luck!

    PLIF L1-3 6/13
    ACDF (C5-7) 8/12
    PLIF (L2-5) 2003/05/08
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