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Post 2 Level c56- 67 ACDF Recovery

Redmon81RRedmon81 Posts: 1
edited 10/15/2015 - 8:12 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone,

My name is Jason and I am 2 weeks post op on 2 level fusion of the c5-6 & c6-7 with plating. I have some questions about the recovery process.

Some background info for me: 33 years old, 5'9", ~295 lbs, muscular build, former powerlifter, 420 bench press, 500+ deadlift and squat, 19 inch neck, 9 years Army service, 3 tours in Iraq, 6 years of neck issues, pain in both arms, loss of strength mostly in left hand and forearm.

My surgery was on September 30th, 2015. I spent one night in the hospital. My surgeon said I did not need a collar. I was up and walking the night of surgery. I was eating with some pain in the throat. I have not taken any pain meds since the night of surgery. I have taken 1 Flexiril about 1 week ago because of muscle spasms in the shoulder blade area. No advil or tylenol either. I returned to work 6 days after surgery to my desk job.

My questions are:

Is it normal to be about 90% + pain free after surgery? I was only feeling pain if I had a quick movement or rotation of head. I am feeling almost 100% now in most conditions/positions. I do notice some discomfort in extreme rotation/flexion.

Roughly how long until fusion happens? I realize this is dependent on the individual but looking for some people that have had similar experience.

When do you think I can start lifting more than 5-10 lbs? Not talking about at the gym, just every day activity.

Exercise possibilities? I have been walking daily but I get bored. Could I jog if I am not in any pain or feeling discomfort? Bike riding?

Will it be possible to powerlift again? I am not expecting to jump right back in. I know it will be slow going and I need to build back up at a gradual, easy pace to not hurt myself further. I also realize it will be months from know before I could/should go back to lifting like this.

What is the possibility of damage to neighboring discs? I have read some things that say there is a greater risk of damage, especially to discs above the fusion in the neck. Any links to good articles?

So far the surgery and recovery have been great. My surgeon at the 1 week post op reacted like this is expected when I talked to him about it. I have my 6 week post op scheduled with an x-ray scheduled for the 19th of November.

I must say I was scared to the point I was giving myself the bubble guts prior to surgery but I am glad to say it was all for naught. :-) If people are on the fence I say go for it. It has been great for me. If anyone has had similar experiences it would be awesome to hear. I feel that hearing positive things helps with the recovery process and gives you a positive outlook.

Sorry for the long post,

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Liz ...Spine-health moderator



  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • From my own surgeon - I was moved from 5 lb limit to 15-20 lbs at about a month. It was supposed to be earlier than that, but I had a set back initially. I was personally told no jogging until fused, which I am not fused yet but my surgery was much more extensive than yours. From what I have researched, most fuse before 6 months (some at 3!), but up to one year. I would think no heavy lifting either until fusion, but that's definitely something your doc would tell you. It would be interesting to hear what he says on the bike riding - recumbent might be better, because you don't have to extend your neck to look up.
    On the adjacent disease syndrome, I believe it's close to 3% per year for 10 years - so close to 30% of patients in 10 years need another surgery (which is why heavy lifting might be scary, but ask your doc...)
    Good luck! Glad to hear you're doing so well!

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

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  • LauralauraLLauralaura Posts: 27
    edited 10/28/2015 - 3:05 AM
    Am active female athlete 16 days post op Acdf multilevel. Under a 10 lb weight lifting restriction. Feel good, am so far happy with results, and there is no way after I feel surgeons did their part, I will not listen and do my part despite how well I may function and feel. Have had successful rotator cuff/labrum surgery before and I could not have gotten back to doing what I loved had it not been for my listening and working closely with my surgeon, physical therapist after and reporting on the results of what he let me do. I want another great result and fusion and acdf surgery is not my area of expertice, so no matter how well I might feel, I am getting clearance before I move past the 10 lb weight limit restriction, as well as any others. Good luck to you and yes, I know how stubborn athletes can be firsthand. A little age helps control the stubbornness though.
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