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ACDF while pregnant (2nd trimester)

I am in my second trimester (22 wks) and accidentally ruptured my C-7/T-1.  (I think picking up my toddler.)  I have a history of ACDF at C5-C7 which was successful (but obviously wasn't pregnant during that time).  My OB says I can have the procedure in my second trimester and the neurosurgeon is willing to do it.  BUT -  I am nervous about the safety of the baby as well as lying on my back for the procedure for 1.5 - 2 hours. 

I would prefer to hold off on surgery until the baby arrives but I do have weakness/numbness in my arm/fingers which is concerning.  I am worried if I don't do the surgery now I will regret it in my 3rd trimester and face serious neurological damage in my arm/hand. 

There isn't much out there on ACDF surgery while pregnant... any thoughts would be appreciated!



  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 451
    what about post-op pain management?  That would be a concern for me, too.  I am worried that the OB is not fully aware of the effect that particular surgery and recovery would have on the body, and that the neurosurgeon is not fully aware of the effect of it on a pregnant body & baby.  In my experience, specialists are knowledgeable in their area of expertise and let someone else worry about the other stuff.  I would get a few more opinions.  All the best to you!
  • My OB is telling me there could be narcotics post-op but it will be heavily monitored.  If it's only for a couple of weeks it shouldn't be an issue.  It was explained to me that pain management is important because if I am in pain my body will react and I could risk preterm labor.  I did have an ACDF in 2011 and was fortunate to have had a successful surgery and recovery.  I wasn't on pain meds too long and don't recall the recovery being that bad.   The OB seems to be taking this very seriously and my neurosurgeon is acting nonchalant right now, so I am going for a second opinion today.  I hate to have a different neuro do the surgery, but I feel there is an added and very serious component here which is this little baby growing inside of me!
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  • hello, knor12!

    have you had the opportunity to discuss any type of non-surgical interventions that might be able to help you not only avoid further damage, but also make it possible for you to wait until the baby is born to have your surgery?  that is such a tough spot to be in...by the sounds of it, there are heavy dues to be paid no matter which direction you take!!  i know epidural steroid injections are a "band-aid", but is that an option for you?  do those put pregnant women at increased risk for gestational diabetes?

    please let us all know how you make out with the second opinion today!     

    smartens--great point about the post-op pain management. 

    i'd also like to welcome you to spine-health!  please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

    welcome to spine-health 
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • MagistraMarlaMMagistraMarla San Antonio, TexasPosts: 217
    My daughter was on pain-management medication several times throughout her pregnancy because she had recurring kidney stones which were very, very painful to pass. (Still gets them on a regular basis.)  I was worried about the baby, but he seems to have not been affected.  Six years later, he's a bright and active little boy, who was near the top of his kindergarten class in reading and math.
    As a former midwife's assistant, I know that it isn't the optimal situation for the unborn baby to be exposed to narcotics, but my grandson is proof that they can do just fine when those medications are necessary for the safety of both Mom and baby.
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