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ACDF Scheduled - my fears

I know that it is in my best interest to have a 2-level ACDF to stabilize my neck, and to stop the progression of further nerve damage and prevent spinal cord injury. But I am so worried I will have new symptoms after surgery.

I currently have deltoid paralysis, positional intermittent numbness in my hands, and a generally sore neck.

My goal is to be able to swim again, and I know that will not be possible unless I have the surgery. There are no guarantees that my deltoid function will come back, and I am ok with that. I am just so worried that with all the surgeon has to do, i will have to deal with new symptoms. I am working very hard to deal with this possibility.

I have my pre-op appt with my surgeon this Tuesday, and I have a list of questions to ask. He has a very straightforward soothing demeanor, and I am grateful for that. I feel very confident in my choice of surgeons. My surgery is the following Tuesday the 24th.

Any advice or experiences anyone can share?
ACDF C5/6 & C67 scheduled for 02/24/2015


  • As long as you have chose a competent, experienced surgeon, there's a high chance you'll be fine. Is it possible that you could get a complication of surgery? Sure, but less likely. I was sent to an ER to see a neurosurgeon as recommended by my GP because of the severe compression on my MRI. My friend convinced me to leave the hospital for a second opinion. The way he spoke, the first doctor had never done a corpectomy, and I learned he wasn't board certified yet (he just graduated 4 months earlier). I can't even imagine what could've happened if my friend didn't urge me to get a second opinion.
    Most of the time, with surgical decompression, you shouldn't get worse. I think it's something like 1-4% get worse, a very low number. Most improve, that's when it becomes a guessing game of how much you'll improve.
    Hopefully, you'll be back swimming in no time. Well, maybe closer to 6 months when you're fused!
    Good luck!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • Thank you for the encouragement. Sounds like you have a valued friend that really came through for you at the right time. And I hope you are doing well in your recovery.

    I guess I need to focus on deep breathing and soothing thoughts. It's hard, though, thinking about someone digging around my spinal cord. But I have every faith in my surgeon's abilities.
    ACDF C5/6 & C67 scheduled for 02/24/2015
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  • Agree that you have to be brave and calm. But things are manageable. It takes about three months to feel more near to normal. Be patient.
  • Knowing how I need to be and what I am actually feeling are quite different. But I guess Brave anxiety is better than total anarchy. Lol

    ACDF C5/6 & C67 scheduled for 02/24/2015
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    If it helps ACDF is a relatively easy surgery. Usually one night in the hospital, minimal post op incisions pain, and often you wake up and immediately notice you feel much better especially if you are experiencing nerve pain down the arms.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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