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Questions for up coming ACDF surgery

I am having Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion on C-5/6 in Nov 2016. Just found out I have moderate stenosis with spurs and nerve involvement at C5 C6 that I had no idea I had.  i have been off work for 19 months for severe leg pain and cramping  both upper & lower legs and being treated for low back issues that they keep telling me should not be causing my symptoms in legs according to the Lumbar MRI's.  They have also ruled out other disease such as MS or ALS. I have several questions for those who have had cervical issues.  I'm reading good , need to know information. I am a registered nurse so I am fortunately was able to understand what the surgeon explained to me but by no surprise he said nothing about the shoulder pain, nerve pain, ect.. stuff I'm reading about post surgery. Here are my questions, and THANK YOU in advance:

#1. Did anyone have severe leg pain and/or cramping prior to surgery that was helped by the cervical surgery?

#2. Was any prior suggestions given  to do prior to surgery (stretches or exercises) to help with these muscle issues I might experience after surgery?

#3. Even though symptoms of cervical usually are arm, neck, hands, my NS did say he has seen leg pain. Has anyone else been told this?  I'm praying my leg pain will let up as this is completely debilitating to me.

#4. What was worst part of surgery for you?

#5. With all the possible swallowing problems; what type of food worked best for you?

#6. How long unable to use NSAIDS?  (From what I'm told and read they want the inflammation process to happen to help graft grow so not allowed to us Motrin or steroids)

#7.  This is the BIG question.....Anyone on any kind of blood thinners after surgery, if so what kind?  (I take blood thinner for clotting issues and am concerned about resuming my thinner after surgery )

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Comments

  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    #1. Did anyone have severe leg pain and/or cramping prior to surgery that was helped by the cervical surgery?

          I had leg pain before surgery.  Stenosis can cause this as it affects the spinal cord itself.

    #2. Was any prior suggestions given  to do prior to surgery (stretches or exercises) to help with these muscle issues I might experience after surgery?

         Not about post surgery stretching, no.  That will come later.

    #3. Even though symptoms of cervical usually are arm, neck, hands, my NS did say he has seen leg pain. Has anyone else been told this?  I'm praying my leg pain will let up as this is completely debilitating to me.

          Yes

    #4. What was worst part of surgery for you?

          Waiting for surgery.  The surgery isn't that bad, if done well.

    #5. With all the possible swallowing problems; what type of food worked best for you?

          I did well with most foods - if I kept water handy to assist with swallowing.

    #6. How long unable to use NSAIDS?  (From what I'm told and read they want the inflammation process to happen to help graft grow so not allowed to us Motrin or steroids)

          Discuss this with your surgeon.  He won't directly answer it, but it will be tied to your bone actually fusing.

    #7.  This is the BIG question.....Anyone on any kind of blood thinners after surgery, if so what kind?  (I take blood thinner for clotting issues and am concerned about resuming my thinner after surgery )

          Absolutely discuss this with your surgeon and prescribing doctor before surgery.

    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • 1. Did anyone have severe leg pain and/or cramping prior to surgery that was helped by the cervical surgery?
    - Not specific pain, but my tolerance for walking distance was degraded a lot - maybe just from the general pain.  After surgery, my tolerance for walking increased rapidly.  Note that I had mild (not moderate) stenosis. Biggest problem was probably bone spurs.

    #2.
    Was any prior suggestions given  to do prior to surgery (stretches or
    exercises) to help with these muscle issues I might experience after
    surgery?
    - Nobody suggested anything, although I did PT before surgery hoping to avoid surgery.  It failed. I had no specific muscle problems following surgery.  They did suggest walking right away (more for blood clots than muscles I think).

    #3. Even though symptoms of cervical usually are arm,
    neck, hands, my NS did say he has seen leg pain. Has anyone else been
    told this?  I'm praying my leg pain will let up as this is completely
    debilitating to me.
    - I hope your leg pain is resolved, too.  But if it isn't, it's important to appreciate the symptoms it DOES take care of.  I had hoped to resolve migraines and bladder issues, but they are still around. I am super happy the arm problems are gone; it was worth it just for that.  Fewer symptoms means you are able to cope with remaining issues just a little more easily.  It's a percentages game.

    #4. What was worst part of surgery for you?
    - It was my easiest of 3 major surgeries (including lumbar laminectomy and appendectomy).  Worst part? Post-operative depression, which came as a complete surprise.

    #5. With all the possible swallowing problems; what type of food worked best for you?
    - I also was a little nerved up about the predicted swallowing problems, but it was much easier than I had expected.  Just a basic sore throat that eased up steadily over the next week.  I ate a full meal that night and the swallowing issues were minor.

    #6.
    How long unable to use NSAIDS?  (From what I'm told and read they want
    the inflammation process to happen to help graft grow so not allowed to
    us Motrin or steroids)
    - I was on NSAIDS and a medol pack immediately. If I remember correctly, avoiding NSAIDS is controversial and they no longer believe it is a big deal.  I could not tolerate opiods (migraines) so I started Tylenol immediately.  BTW - an intravenous dose of Tylenol worked better than ANY other pain treatment, including fixing my migraine.

    #7.  This is the BIG question.....Anyone
    on any kind of blood thinners after surgery, if so what kind?  (I take
    blood thinner for clotting issues and am concerned about resuming my
    thinner after surgery )
    - no blood thinners for me

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  • KittyLiz said:

    - I was on NSAIDS and a medol pack immediately. If I remember correctly, avoiding NSAIDS is controversial and they no longer believe it is a big deal.  I could not tolerate opiods (migraines) so I started Tylenol immediately.  BTW - an intravenous dose of Tylenol worked better than ANY other pain treatment, including fixing my migraine.



    I also don't tolerate opiods (dizziness, nausea and feeling like I will pass out) and so far this year, good 'ole Tylenol has gotten me through ACDF and  a shoulder surgery. 1300 mg. every 8 hours. I didn't know you could get Tylenol through an IV, although I did get Ativan through an IV after they gave me opiods in the PACU, which I later started vomiting up. Ativan controls nausea.

    I was told I could resume anti-inflammatories at my 12 week visit, but Tylenol has always worked better for me than anti-inflammatories for pain anyway, so I rarely take them.


    C6-C7 ACDF - January 20, 2016
    Shoulder surgery - August 2, 2016
    Interlaminar laminotomy, mesial facetectomy and foraminotomy bilateral at C5-C6 and unilateral left at C6-C7 and bilateral C6-C7 facet fusion - December 7, 2016

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