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Cervical surgery with ADR at C6/7 done

KayanoKKayano Posts: 31
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:21 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi All,

I am new here. Kayano from Singapore. I male 46 yrs old, non-smoker and non-drinker. An avid runner and completed 5 marathons and 3 ultramarathons. The latest being the 84km Ultramarathon.

Recalling the whole ordeal, I had a fall during my 84km run. Protruded on the floor and twisted my head and neck. Hard knock on both knee and had a bruised left elbow as I used it to block my landing on the hard ground. Went for an X-Ray two days later on my knee, right foot. No internal bone crack. This is good news. Since then was having pain at the right back shoulder blade and occasional sharp pain on the right back shoulder blade. Didn't think much of it and thought it was just muscle ache or spasm due to the long running and will go away. I was very wrong.

So one fine morning after my overseas business trip, got a sudden pain in the neck, right shoulder and right arm. Constant pain throughout the whole arm. It was just out of the blue one fine morning. I couln't get up of bed and the constant pain was very painful on the whole right arm and shoulder. Something was very wrong so suddenly.

Before that few days, I was out of country on a business trip and I was perfectly alright except the nagging pain on the right back shoulder blade. Return back to Singapore and rested at home that day and the next morning, it just happened for no apparent reason. As a runner, listening to my body and knew for sure something was very wrong. What could it be? No ideal at all. I had no answer to the pain. This is more than muscle ache and spasm.

Admitted to the hospital and doctor suspected the nerve being pinched. I didn't even know what was that and no idea about such condition nor have a chance to google for details.

To relieve the pain, I have to place my right arm upon my head and this relieved the pain on the right arm. Once I put the right arm down, the pain will start again. Discovered placing the arm on the head by chance as I was trying to find a position to relieve the pain. The spine consultant(my surgeon) at the hospital told me that it was the right way to relieve the nerve pain. Hurray ! But I can't go round walking with one arm placing on top of my head. During my stay in the hospital, it raised some curious looks from other people and some took a second hard look at me. I just smiled.

During my stay in the hospital, I received some 12 injections of pain killer (pethidine). Actually it just made me sleepy. My left arm and right arm muscles were sored due to the injections. On the first day in the hospital, I had 5 injections of pain killer and the pain just couldn't go away. Finally, they administered pethidine and that make me very sleepy. So each night before I sleep, I will call the nurse and they will give a shot of pethiline. Each night the arm will take turn to receive the injection. The most injections I had in my whole life !

PT can't do much to the neck. They put a soft collar guard to prevent further movement of the neck after they discovered it was a disc pressing the nerve root at C6/7 through the MRI scan. Beautiful. Now I know what in the world is going on and what cause of the pain.

The Senior Surgeon recommended surgery and presented with the option of materials to use.

Discussed with my wife and also seek another medical spine surgeon from another hospital for a 2nd opinion. Both spine surgeons gave the same view. The decision lies with me.

I opted for surgery with a metal titanium coated disc over bone grafting fusion. The metal disc is very expensive and cost some S$8000. The next few days of waiting for my name to be listed for surgery, it was really a mental marathon of my life.

Finally, the day came. I told my Surgeon that we will run this marathon race together and finish the race together with a "sub-4 timing".

Surgery done on 18 July. Went into OT at 3pm and woke up at 8pm. Was awaken when they did the fibertube insertion into my nose and after that, I couldn't remember a thing. The anterior surgey was a "sub-3 hour" despite the long wait and preparation. I was in the recovery room for 1 hour. My surgeon told me that the surgery started at 5pm and ended at 7pm. Wow...2 hours. A "sub-3 timing" beating the best marathon runner in the world and not even Paula Radcliff nor the Kenyan runner can come near that. May be in the Olympic. Ha...Ha...

Back to my ward room at 9pm. The pain was gone and the numbness on the right ring finger and thumb were gone with the exception of the right index and middle fingers. I was alert and talking to my wife and daughter. Next the ward doctor came and checked on me. The next day mornn=ing at 5am, I was pushed with the whole bed for a cervial spine X-ray. My surgeon visited me the morning and viewed the X-Ray and was very happy with the outcome. I too was very happy as the pain was gone.

Was discharged on 22 July and now back home. During my time at home, the numbness on the right index and middle fingers gradually going off.

Back to the hospital on 5 Aug for a 2nd review and X-Ray. The new disc set very well with the rest of the vertebral and the alignment was great. The surgeon was very pleased with my progress and the outcome of the surgery. The next review is on 26 Aug. According to my surgeon, it takes 6 weeks for the new disc implant to settle well and for the surrounding bone to growth into the new disc.

The new disc is cobalt chrome alloy with titanium coating something like that. On the X-ray I can see 3 sharp teeth on the top and bottom plate. No screw used at all. Next visit I will get the exact name of the disc implant. The stitching was done inside out on the neck and no need to remove the stitches. It will dissolve over time. Cool ! The wound was healing well. Eventually I will see a line on the front of the neck just near the throat on the rigth side. This beautiful.

Yes. I need to wear the Aspen Collar guard to keep my head and neck straight and upright. Not allow to turn my head and neck and cannot carry anything more than 5kg.

No more pain. The numbness on the right index and middle fingers is getting lesser and lesser. Thank God for a successful surgery. My two weeks stay in the hospital was a delighted experience. I was a delighted patient and customer !

I am recovery well and wearing the Aspen collar guard and walking around the house.

It was after all this ordeal and I wanted to find out more that I googled the net and found this nice and wonderful forum. Was reading through and realised I am not alone and this is something not new in the medical areana and decided to sign up to learn and share.

In medical term, this is called degenerative disease of the spine (spondylosis). It just happened to me too fast if not for the trauma fall that I sustained during the run. Over period, it is also due to wear and tear of the spine resulting in the degeneration which the disc may cause it to bulge and compress spinal cord or nerves which will produce pain in the neck, back, arm or leg, and even numbness or weakness.

Cheers !
Kayano (my nickname and my running friends called me by this)



  • what a story! I am very happy things are going so good.
  • Hope you are healing well. I read your post, and I am also a runner with cervical problems. I have not had surgery. Do you think you will be able to return to running in the future? Have you received any advice from your docs on this? (I take it your nickname is after the Asics shoe hee hee?) ;) --Mazy
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  • Mazy,

    Dave quit running----what was thought to be a knee issue was really from C5,6,7. Who would have known??? His neuro said he would run again!! Of course, this Dr. ran the Boston. I hope he is right. I run, too. I'm not fast but it keeps me young!

    Linda MI
  • Hey Linda, good to hear from you!! How is Dave doing? All the years I have been running, and I never had any knee problems. So lucky! I'm 54,so I've had aches and pains. I've seen two N/S that said running didn't cause my cervical probs, and I need to live my life and run! It's good to hear other docs agree. Keep us posted on Dave's progress. ---Mazy
  • Dave just turned 57 and I am 56. This goes to show that we don't have to completely fall apart after 50!! I am on my way to aerobics this morning. All of this keeps me from getting stiff. I am lucky my knees are still fine. Actually, Dave got an elliptical after he started having back problems (which he thought was a knee problem). But, it's not the same as running outside!

    He is doing great. No problems (knock on wood)! I have to drive of course, but he has been living his life ---going out to eat, the movies, walking etc. The collar is a great conversation starter. I am a newly retired teacher, so I will not be bored when school starts---thinking of things for us to do, to get him out of the house!

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  • What an ordeal and story. I am so very glad that your surgery and recovery is going so well!!! Please keep us all posted. Oh yeah by the way welcome to spinehealth!!! :) Here is a big ole hug from me in Texas to you in Singapore!! >:D< .
  • Welcome to SH. What a story you have. My ordeal all started suddenly too. Can't really pinpoint any one thing that might have caused my problems, but I knew I had to have something done. In June I had ACDF surgery, two levels. Has taken away all of my symptoms that I went in with. I now think I'm having some arthritis going on in my thumbs. Not really sure, but it's new and different from the reasons for my surgery.

    I'm also a runner. I'm really missing running. Tomorrow is my 8 week checkup, so hope to get a good report and start working out like I used to and at least running a little. But of course I will follow doctor's orders so as not to mess up anything or risk the fusion taking place.

    Well, again welcome to the group and keep us posted on your recovery.

  • Hi Patsy, Mazy, DaveM1652, Terri72, moni608,

    Thanks for writing and cheering. I'm into the4th week of the post-op. So far so good. The numbness is gradually going away except the stubborn on the index and middle finger tips.

    Before the ops, I asked my surgeon whether I will be able to go back running like running 5k, 10k, 21k and even a marathon. He said you will be able. Guess it is a matter of time to let the new disc settle down with the ingrowth of bones on the disc. Surprising till now eversince the surgery, there is no surgerical wound pain though they cut some 3 to 4 inches length at the front of the neck near the throat on the right side. This is surprising and amazing.

    Already get use to sleeping on the bed straight with the Aspen collar guard and taking my medicine(neurontin, ultracet and Daneuron)accordingly.

    Yep...Asics Kayano shoe is where I got the nick. Before this happened, I ran 3 times a week. The LSD is for weekend of 25km to 30km run. Mileage colock per week is between 35km to 40km. My last run was 10km and this happened. Now I have to take a break. I had to let go a few furture runs like this month end half-marathon and yearend full marathon. Just need to take a break now and I shall return to running once I am certified to run again by my doctor. My dream is to run the Mongolia sunrise-to-sunset 100km. I hope one day that dream will come for me.

    Cheers !

  • Keep us posted on your progress. I'm sure your fitness level will help speed up your recovery! We're pulling for you!---Mazy
  • Kayano,

    I just returned from my eight week checkup this morning and have the all-clear to return to all my normal activities including working out, weights, etc., and best of all no Aspen collar. No running yet or cycling outdoors until my next recheck and x-ray in 3 months. My doctor said if everything keeps going as good as it is now, then probably will be able to add running and cycling back then. I can't wait!

    I'm actually registered to run the Rock-n-Roll Marathon here in San Antonio in November but instead will be walking it, or at least the half. Don't want to let my registration go to waste and if walking is all I can do as far as being able to participate, then that's what I'll do.

    Keep on your good recovery and let us hear from you from time to time.

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