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anyone have combined anterior/posterior cervical revision surgery?

Hello, I am a new member and this is my first post, but have read posting for a good while on this site.
About me: acdf c5/6-c6/7 12/2013 with cages and plate; 6/2014 long thoracic nerve decompression surgery; bells palsy 1/2015.
I am currently waiting for surgeries to be scheduled very soon. Took a good while to find the right doctor to diagnose constant right shoulder blade pain, neck pain, shooting pain both arms but worse in right, constant pins and needles both arms and hands.  These problems got worse after my acdf and know after numerous tests including discogram found out I never fused, have problems with adjacent levels and need 2 surgeries in 2 days. I will also add I have DDD, osteoarthritis, foraminal narrowing.  I will have anterior surgery the first day to remove hardware and reconstruct then the following morning posterior surgery to finish up. At least 4 levels will be done, possibly more, surgeon will determine when he gets in there.  
Sorry for length but haven't found anyone that went through both approaches basically at the same time and what recovery was like?  I know every experience is different along with outcomes!  Trying to prepare meals to freeze ahead of surgery. Recovery from first surgery was brutal but especially swallowing pain but it did get better with time although I remained numb from incision site to jaw line and that will never come back. Any experiences with recovery would be greatly appreciated,  I know to expect a longer more painful recovery. Did you need help dressing, showering, walking once home? What about sleeping?  I can do very little now, just cooking one meal puts me in bed for 2 days.  


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Just a reminder, that there are monthly surgery buddy support threads. You may find it a benefit to you.
    If you are interested, you can find by using the on site search, upper right on page.

    There is also a post, Post op Must Haves...although I realize you have had surgery before, it may still be useful.
    And also a post, Recovery the most important phase....or worded closely to that.

    Again, both could be found by using the on site search!

    I have never been a candidate for surgery, so I can not relate...however I wish you the very best!
    And will be interested in reading other members' responses with shared experiences and how you are doing!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • ArtsygalAArtsygal Kentucky Posts: 27
    Hello Savage and Mp3, thank you for your well wishes and as soon as I get the surgery date I plan to look into the surgery buddy forum. I got a call yesterday morning that my PCP missed the request for an EKG as part of my surgical clearance check up 2 weeks ago..so made the 2 hour drive to have that done. Apparently according to anesthesiology department at hospital where surgeries will be done I am considered an old patient at 52 haha! They wanted an EKG before the one that will be done at pre-op testing (what can you do but laugh).
    I will meet with surgeon to go over all the details of surgery then go for pre-op test about a week before surgery and for me sooner the better!
    I know c4/5 - t1 will be fused for sure and likely c2/3. Surgeon told me possibly more but he won't know til he gets in there as I have a complicated case.
    My husband is here to help me which is great. But he can't cook, so I am preparing as many meals as I'm able to make and freeze for recovery.
    Recovery from first acdf was rough to put it mildly and to have 2 surgeries in 2 days especially to be intubated twice has me a little nervous. I have no idea if I'll be able to shower without help or even get in and out of a recliner (I could do for myself pretty much after first surgery ) I also have herniated discs at L3 -S1 that causes constant pain and a weak right leg that shakes uncontrollably when I bear weight on it or sit and extend it out from the knee! Those issues will make recovery even harder and surgery on lumbar spine likely after I get through recovery on the neck surgeries! Just wondering how bad and long I can expect pain to be after this double surgery before I start to feel human again? It helps to read other members experiences as it's hard to talk to people that haven't been through the battle of spine issues as they don't understand the pain.....you don't look sick on the outside. I want to thank you all for responding! !!!!
  • Artsygal, if you search around, there's a few people that have had this surgery. Some on the same day, some a few days apart.

    Not to scare you, but the ACDF is nothing compared to the posterior, which is supposed to be incredibly painful.  But, I've always heard very good results from the posterior, so worth the initial pain. 

    Good luck and keep us posted!

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

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  • ArtsygalAArtsygal Kentucky Posts: 27
    Thanks TWynnB,  I will definitely post updates.  It's not really scared I know to expect more pain and a longer recovery but I  have very high confidence in my surgeon this time around as compared to the first surgery and keeping a positive attitude that after recovery I'll be able to be active again.  Probably not completely pain free but if it's reduced to a manageable level where I can do simple activities without having to lay down and stay still,  I will be thrilled. ....baby steps!  I saw an older post from "metalneck" that mentioned having both surgeries together so I posted questions  to that thread.  I think throat issues concern me the most, with scar tissue to go through and then muscles cut on the back side. My sister had an acdf years ago and ended up with vocal cord damage and can only speak in a whisper. 
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 606
    I had ACDF on c4-5 & found out I never fused, so 9 months later, I had posterior surgery. My surgeon did not remove my old hardware? He just added more from the back side. 
    I can tell you that the posterior surgery was way worse as far as pain & recovery goes. 
    Thank goodness for my husband! He had to help me do everything! 
    Good luck with your surgery & let us know how it goes. 
  • ArtsygalAArtsygal Kentucky Posts: 27
    Thanks for sharing, I've read stories of the posterior being so much worse and I had a lot of problems with the original acdf, while still on bed rest 9 days post-op had the worst pain ever. Ended up being a complete nerve injury to the long thoracic nerve and a winged scapula. I did get that resolved with another surgery out of state.  Thank goodness, I couldn't raise right arm to shoulder height and I'm right handed. Pain has been constant 8 since the acdf while at rest and only goes up from there when I move around. 
    My husband is very helpful and will get me anything I need during recovery, so glad I don't have to go it alone as some have.
    I only imagine  2 surgeries in 2 days will be double the pain!
    Do you Remer how long after your posterior surgery before you could do for yourself? 
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