In October 2013, I had ACDF surgery at c5-c7. I experienced swallowing issues subsequent to surgery, but was able to get down some solid food. My swallowing issues seemed to be improving as the weeks went by. About 5 weeks after the surgery, I suddenly developed severe swallowing issues. I am now only able to swallow/eat yogurt, creamed soups and protein shakes.
I had a barium swallow test that indicated a sluggish and weakened swallowing function. My surgeon seems stumped by this for someone my age (I'm 56). He's also never seen it where a person was able to eat some solids, and then suddenly regressed. He thinks it will resolve in the next month or so. However, I've seen absolutely no improvement. He's recommended swallowing therapy. I questioned whether it was the hardware (he uses the Medtronic Atlantis plate), but he said there is no data to support the hardware causes the problem and he's never had a problem that hasn't resolved. However, I found a few studies that indicate the Atlantis causes more dysphagia than the Zephyr
He sent me to an ENT and he was not as optimistic. He's indicating that this will take a year or more to resolve (if at all). He also does not think it is the hardware. He thinks its neurological He basically recommended me to swallowing therapy and said there is nothing more that he could do for me. My surgeon also recommended swallowing therapy. Of course, I am at my wits end and so I'm definitely going to go to therapy.
My question is: has anyone else ever heard of/experienced this--improving in swallowing and then all of a sudden backsliding to it being worse than right after the surgery. Any insight as to causes? Has anyone heard of it resolving within a reasonable timeframe. If so, how long?
Sorry for the long winded email, but as I stated I am very concerned about this.