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3 weeks post op, ACDF

Hi all, I am new to this group. Nice to meet you all! I had a cervical decompression 3 weeks ago. (my second, 1st one was 11 years ago.) I am currently experiencing gagging, like something is in my throat. This has gotten worse over time since the surgery. At first I could not eat, but that seems to have been resolved. At my 2 week post check, the exrays revealed that all was fine. Has anyone else experienced this gage type of thing going on after ACDF surgery? I hear there is some sort of swallowing test that could be done? If anything, what might this show? Could more surgery result afterwards?

Thank you for your time!


  • Keep us posted.
    The swallowing issue after surgery has weighed more heavily on my mind more than anything.
    ACDF C6/C7 on 05/20/15
    ...and it was the best decision of my life :-)
  • Absolutely. If you dig around on here, a lot of people have it. One reason is they pull your esophagus and trachea one way (and your vessels the other). Never mind they put a metal plate behind your esophagus, that has got to be irritating as well. It is such a common side effect, I wouldn't think they'd do a swallow test this soon after surgery (unless you're like choking/aspiration pneumonia kind of thing).
    I still have it very mildly at 4.5 mos out, not that big of a deal to me.

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

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  • Oh no, TWynnB....sounds like I can expect this for a while. I guess I can certainly live with 'IT' instead of the pain I used to have prior to surgery. Only sometimes, I think I am going to gag until I throw up.
  • I still do that, albeit rarely. At least once a day, something (pill, snack, etc) gets "stuck" and I grab some water to swallow. It's pretty rare that I truly gag anymore though.
    I remember that 2 weeks out of surgery, he switched me from oxycodone to Percocet, since I was almost out. I laughed...those pills were HUGE!!! I had to quarter them to try and get them down. He just switched me back to oxycodone since they're so tiny.
    Yes, to me, in the big scheme of things, not a big deal. I wish it were the worst thing I was dealing with!

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

  • I am 4 1/2 weeks out from mine and have the same problem. I agree that although it can be very annoying, it's not painful, so I can live with it. The only thing that concerns me is that a few times, (twice with pills and once with food) thinks have gone into the part that branches in to lungs and caused massive and painful coughing fits. That is painful and a little scary because bad things can happen if you actually get foreign objects into your lungs.
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  • I have heard of this and thought it was from intubation not esophagus pulling.
  • I am 4 weeks post op tomorrow. The swallowing is gradually getting a little better. I don't choke near as often, so there IS hope. I am wondering if I will ever have feeling in my upper neck again on the left side. (nothing major....just curious)
  • I found that I struggled taking my meds because of the gagging. I am now about 7-8 months post surgery. I think it got better in about 4-5 weeks after surgery. I found that drinking milk to "push" down the meds and food worked best to keep from having them come back up. I also ate a pudding cup afterwards to aid the swallowing. I still need to do this to take the huge pills or the ones that are not coated.
    Tracie C
  • I am almost 4 weeks post op, C5 C6 ACDF. never had any swallowing issue right out of the surgery. I only noticed the past few days if I need to swallow 2 Tylenol (long) pills, I need to drink another sip of water to push them down, eating all kinds of food is fine. But I think my incision is still swollen inside my neck pressing everything around. I also heard the higher the ACDF ( C2, C3) the more you will notice the swallow issue. Just my $.0.02

  • Pamela9PPamela9 WashingtonPosts: 44
    edited 05/06/2015 - 9:15 AM
    I am now 7 months post ACDF. I had swallowing issues and many test s which finally revealed a too tight upper esophageal spincture, most likely slight nerve damage. Since we have been told many times, in many ways, that nerve healing takes at least a year, I was able to relax about it, with only occasional chokes. Some things are still impossible, like raw broccoli. Now, however, I have aspiration pneumonia and have choked on my saliva repeatedly. Hopefully will be well enough to see the NS for my over-due 6 month follow up on Monday. More frustrated with my body than anything. It took a very long time to work up to going for walks and the past month just bathing or dressing is exhausting. On the plus side, very little neck pain with this level of inactivity. So, do not ignore congestion after choking spells like I did....
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