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Trouble swallowing after neck fusion

I had my c4 5 fused two weeks ago.  I'm having a lot of trouble swallowing food. I choke.  The smallest of pills even. Has anyone else had this problem?


  • assuming your surgery was done from the front, they move your throat around a lot and then there is swelling and some scaring where the entry was done. i can only relate my own experience, had a full fusion don a year ago, still have trouble with swallowing, some foods and pills tend to get stuck and i have a very sensitive gagging reflex, that does not help when this happens. I find a sip of cola or other carbonated beverage helps a lot, it was about 6 or 7 months before i was comfortable swallowing, i see on the forums that some folks have no problem and others take quite a while to recover. I still have trouble with dry food like bread and crackers and pills. Dont know if this helps or not but be patient and hang in there. take care piperbill
  • Thanks for replying. It was from the front. My neck has auto fused everywhere but the c4 5 which is the level I had surgery on. I'm only 2 weeks out so hopefully this will get better. Thanks so much.
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  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    The swallowing thing is fairly common. After my second surgery I had to keep a glass of water handy for a little over a month, that and some throat lozenges.


    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.

  • seems that im my case, the first week or so was soup and liquids then softer foods that were moist as dry foods like bread and crackers tended to get caught in my throat. later crackers were good to scratch the itch but need a small sip of cola to keep things from hanging up. year later and still have some trouble with breads and pills.
  • Keep in mind that you were also untubated and that some pain meds and/or muscle relaxers can also cause trouble swallowing as a side effect.
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    hello care are12345 !

    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • VladVVlad CaliforniaPosts: 2
    My 1st ACDF I also had swallowing issues constantly choking I found by chew up some crushed ice prior to taking pills or eating the swallowing problems were eliminated
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