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ACCF Corpectomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My name is Brenda and I live in California. I am 57 years old, divorced and have a 17 year old son still at home. I have a desk job working on a computer. My symptoms include both hands and forearm numbness and right leg weakness that makes it difficult to walk. I walk very slowly but experience no pain.

I had an EMG to rule out the return of carpel tunnel syndrome. I had both hands done in 2006. The EMG indicated no nerve damage.

My MRI says there is a a large paracentral disk extrusion at the C3-4 level resulting in severe spinal stenosis and cord compression, both increased in severity since prior MRI (2005). Moderate Degenerative disk disease at C5-6 and C4-5 resulting in mild stenosis. There is multiple level uncinate joint hypertrophy.

My neurologist told me that I need to have surgery since we are dealing with a severely compressed spinal cord and given my symptoms.

I had my apt with a neurosurgeon on Friday and he agreed with the neurologist and said 99% of doctors reviewing my MRI would agree.
Unfortunately I am not a candidate for a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure. I asked if the procedure I need is like an ACDF and he said mine is a ACCF (Anterior Cervical Corpectomy & Fusion) which is the removal of the vertebral body as well as the disc spaces at each end to completely decompress the cervical canal. He said he will insert a cage. I have a lot of confidence in the neurosurgeon as he has a fine reputation at an academic medical center.

I mentioned to the neurosurgeon that I feel no pain. He said that if my only symptoms were pain he would recommend physical therapy, and other conservative treatments. He said pain indicates nerve roots are involved. He said my symptoms of numbness in my hands and leg weakness are consistent with spinal cord compression.

I am now waiting for a surgery date.

Has anyone on the board had a corepectomy procedure? If so, I would like to hear about your experience, symptoms, recovery time, pain, physical therapy, etc. I’m thinking I may need someone other than my 17 year old son to help me out through my recovery.

I am really thankful for this board as I am learning a lot from all of your shared experiences.
Thanks, Brenda


  • Hi Brenda,
    I had a c-5 corpectomy in 2003 for multi-level stenosis. I had similar symptoms, but also had (have) a lot of pain, because I also have foraminal stenosis. My MRI showed cord compression as well, but it wasn't caused by a disc, but by bone spurs. I had 3 surgical opinions and all agreed that I needed surgery because I had developed myelopathy, and all said that if I had even a minor accident (like a fall or whiplash) that I could be paralyzed. I couldn't live with that possibliity.
    The surgery itself wasn't too bad, but recovery wasn't fun. I went back to work about 6 weeks later and tried acupuncture for a while (it didn't help). Although the surgery didn't help the pain, I did have improvement in how long I could stand and walk. But I am so glad I had it because my cord has been decompressed and I don't have to worry so much about falling. By the way, my twin sister had the same procedure the year after I did. Although we live in different cities, at least we can commiserate with each other.
    I hope your surgery goes well. You might need someone to stay with you for a few days. Good luck!
  • Hi Anne,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with your corpectomy.

    My procedure will be a C-4 corpectomy with instrumentation.

    My doctor also told me that I am vulnerable to paralysis if I fall or have whiplash. I am not willing to take that risk either.

    Did you wear a collar or neck brace? If so, for how long?
    Were you able to sleep in your bed or did you sleep reclining?
    Also, do you recall how long before you were able to drive?
    Thanks, Brenda
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  • Brenda,
    I did wear a collar after surgery, and that was bad. They put the wrong size on me in the OR and I wore it for several days before comparing it to the one they fitted me for pre-op. I have a short neck, and the one they put on me was too long, which caused me severe pain.
    I slept in my recliner for several days, if not longer (it's been so long I forget). I don't remember exactly how long it was before I drove, but it had to be several weeks. It wasn't bad, but even now I try to park head-in so I don't have to turn my neck too much.
    Surgery is never fun, but I had a wonderful neurosurgeon and the nurses at the hospital were great.

  • Hi everyone ! My doctor wants to remove t11 and replace it with nothing !! Has anyone ever heard about a Corpectomy done this way ?! Please help !!!

  • I had a C5 Corpectomy 2 weeks ago. Had been advised 5 years ago that my 5th lumbar was dangerously close to spinal column and could take me out if I were to fall. Also had chronic pain in right shoulder area.

    Instead of surgery right away, I had an epidural in the neck 2006 and 2008. This took the pain away. Now when it came back my husband and I decided it was time for surgery. Advised i would need 4-8 weeks off from work.

    Had the surgery two weeks ago. At home recovering. Wear cervical collar day and night for two weeks now. One more week to go. Pain with right side close to collapse has gone away. My neurosurgeon put in a spacer.

    So far I am very pleased with results. I go back in two weeks for an xray. If someone suggests cervical surgery, certainly get an MRI. Don't wait for the damage to be done in your nerves. Make sure you have a good neurosurgeon who has done many of these.
    You will definately want someone to stay with you first week after surgery. You should not be lifting anything. Good luck!

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