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c4 c5 single level ACDF scheduled for thursday

Hello everyone I am new to this forum I was introduced to it by a friend of mine. Here is my situation, I was rear ended last year and have been having neck, shoulder, arm pains and finger tingling. I have seen 3 neurosurgeons and an othropedic surgeon within the past year. All of which have said that I have a severe herniation between my c4c5 disc and bone spur formation which will require surgery. I have gone throught 3 epidural shots, PT and massage therapy not have helped. I spoke to 3 chiropractors and 2 out of the 3 said they wont touch me because they dont want to furthur risk injury. The 3rd said he would try using the traction to decompress the disc and try to suck the herniation back into the disc using a vaccum like pressure from the traction machine. I really didnot follow what he was talking about. When I asked him about the bone spurs and how he would help with that issue, he said when he gets the fluids back in the disc the bone spurs will go away like a bad callus. I am in limbo right now and nervous about the surgery. My surgeon also said that future adjacent surgeries maybe required. Has anyone gone through with a single level ACDF and had to go in for others?



  • Hi Bernie. I have never heard of the bone spurs being abosrbed back into your system. Fom all of what I have been told, once they are formed, they have to be shaved off if you want to get rid of them. I had a 5 level ACDF last week. It is a lot more painful than I had thought, but the recovery pain I have now is very different than the pain I had before. My surgeon was going to do 4 levels, but he said one was very very near time for surgery. When I asked him hoow long it would be before he would have to add the other he said 3-5 years. So we made the decision to add it in this time and get it over with. My experience (I have a previous TLIF-2011) is that I need to have the next level added to the fusion within two years. so I got 3 years before the level above went.
    I dont know if this helps you, but good luck. This is a great place to come to find out that what you are experiencing is normal, there are others of us out here that have been there!
    Best of luck!
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  • Bernie N.BBernie N. Posts: 73
    edited 03/11/2014 - 4:01 PM
    Pascoflguy and Liz. Thank you for your inputs. I read all the forums you sent liz and that helped out alot. I was researching what the chiropractor said and I cant seem to find any scientific backing that supports his case. I will give updates after the surgery
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 03/11/2014 - 5:05 PM
    I had a multi level ACDF 3 years ago and in spite of my name, I would recommend it to anyone who has symptoms and the recommendation of a neurosurgeon. I have seen with my own eyes several people do absolutely great with the single and multiple level ACDF. My problem was I already had permanent nerve damage because I tried so many alternatives that it was too late for me.
  • Thank you for the words of encouragement. I'm assuming you are no longer in pain. My PC doctor today said to not worry because the surgical team has had a great track record for the past 10 years.
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  • No I am still in pain but it is about nerve damage plus I still have a herniated disk that they left in there, so I still struggle. That being said I would still have the surgery because I can use my arms. I am not paralyzed which was a real possibility before the surgery.
  • They left a herniated disc in after your ACDF or is it a new herniatied disc? Im glad you had the surgery before having to go through paralysis. I would consider that a successful surgery.
  • What are theother levels surrounding the one you are haveing done like? Is there any damage yet? Are there any herniations right above or below the site you are having done?
  • All discs above and below are within normal ranges and no herniations. NS said it will be between 10-15 years depending on daily activity and wear and tear on the adjacent discs. I'm going to try and live life normally but with a cautious mindset that I may herniate other adjacent discs in the future.
  • There is no way for your body to reabsorb a bonespur, it's made of bone and as I understand it it's your bodies way of trying to fix instability.
    Hopefully your surgeon told you there is no guarantee of being pain free. While we all hope to get pain relief from surgery that isn't the reason to do surgery. Surgery is done to stabilize the spine and stop or slow down degeneration.
    I am 7 weeks out of a 3 level fusion with the understanding that down the road there may be more surgeries above or below due to added stress. I was loosing the use of my left arm so I had to have surgery. I have already regained a lot of strength in my left arm and no longer have numbness and tingling. I do still have significant pain and muscle spasms in my upper back, hopefully those will calm down eventually.
    Good luck on your surgery.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
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