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Throat Pain following ACDF fusion surgery

I had a multi-level fusion surgery (ACDF) 3 months ago at the C6/C5/C4 level.  I consider it successful, and the recovery has been very close to what the surgeon told me to expect (quite remarkable, actually). I talked to the nurse today about some lingering shoulder pain and forgot to ask about residual throat pain.  I had the expected sore throat and hoarseness for about a week following the surgery.  They push your throat around during the surgery, and I guess intubation can be irritating, too. Now 3 months out I still have a mild sensation of pressure right over my adam's apple area.  It is a little tender when touched, bumped, or pressed.  It isn't severe, but I'm wondering if other people have experienced this at this point in time?  Ironically, I never had a stitch of pain at the actual incision site (pun intended)!



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,270
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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 947
    KittyLiz -  Has there been any imaging taken of your neck since you ACDF?  I've had two ACDFs.  I can identify with the pain you are describing.  The first question that comes to mind is to be on the "look-out" for osteophytes developing.  Also, please remember that the fusion process is an inflammatory process, hence can cause swelling in the fused area.  The movement of soft tissue during the fusion surgery takes time to reset.  Hopefully, it is a matter of time, but please be on the look-out for possible osteophytes.     
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  • The only imaging I had was an x-ray to make sure the plate and screws were okay - they were great.  The pressure is very close to the surface, not deep into my neck.  I think there is still some mild inflammation, but I will not let it go too long without attention.  Thanks  for responding.
  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 947
    KittyLiz - Glad to hear that the x-rays were performed and you had good results.  That is standard procedure.  I tend to agree with you that you are likely having some post inflammation, given that you are only three months post surgery.  In my own case with multiple ACDFs, I had soft tissue swelling.  Don't be surprised if you have some mild inflammation for another three months.  I hope things continue to improve for you.       
  • nutcase007 Thanks for helping me set my expectations. The discomfort really is minor compared to my pre-surgery pain. Understandably, I have little doubts at times that the surgery success might turn into a failure at some point. It's hard to draw the line between being over-concerned about every little twinge and ignoring signs of issues that should be addressed. Story of my life.
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