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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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Hello to all. Sorry I have been absent a few months. Today I had my 6 month follow up after my 2 level ACDF (C5 & 6, C6 & 7) in September. (Herniated Discs were Caused by Degenerative Bone Disease)
Today's Xrays look good. Doc is pleased with the fusion. :bouncing:

I feel no pain and have gone back to almost all of my normal everyday activities including gardening which means digging new rose beds and spreading compost. Doc said try not to over do it.. but that is difficult with my type A personality. I still get tired in I am not raring to go 24/7 like before surgery

I want to report to all that I really have NOT noticed a reduction in range of motion. I was reallly worried about this issue prior to surgery as Doc indicated one usually sees a reduction in range of motion equal to 15% per level which meant a 30% reduction for me. When I asked Doc about this he said that sometimes you are in so much pain for so long before the surgery that your range of motion is already reduce and therefore you don't notice it that much and that I am not causing additional stress to adjacent levels.
I do have degenerative bone disease so I do have to be careful as with this disease I may need future surgeries. I do sometimes feel a "pulling sensation" when turning my head all the way around over the shoulder on each side and if I bend my chin to my chest.. but nothing painful or problematic.

My hip (from the bone graft) gives me no problems at all anymore and the lump in my throat feeling has been gone for several months. I still have a small scar at the throat but it too is fading away. I still put cocoa butter with Vit E on it twice a day.

If I had to do it all over again I would have the surgery in a heartbeat.

I did have some lingering problems with hand numbness that turned out to be carpal tunnel related. I had endoscopic surgery to correct this additional problem in December.. (Hey my major medical was already paid!!! Had to correct in December.) That too was successful and I have no problems with my hand & fingers falling asleep every time I grip something like a pen or steering wheel. I am still working on hand strength to get my hand back to regular hand strength.

Overall it has all been successful and I am thrilled with the results.

For those of you in pain.. please know there are some solutions that may help and hopefully you won't be in pain much longer. :wave:
Thanks for the report Deborah. I had the same two levels fused on 3/16/04 with cages. I'm really glad to hear you're doing so well.
I had a 4-5-6-7 ACDF and only saw about a 10 % reduction in motion :) Something tells me that over the years it may reduce further, however.
Thanks for posting your update. I was scheduled to have the same surgery on Tues of next week but a scheduling error was made so now I am bumped to Apr 27th. I also just found out that he will use a bone graft from me and I was not aware of that earlier. How was the bone graft? I have had bunion surgery on both feet so have had some dealings with bone stuff. I am hoping it wont be as painful as those were initially.

How long was it before you could drive? Now that things have been shifted time wise I have to start realigning my support resources and I am wondering what I am going to do. My original plan was to have help the first 3 weeks and then after that, my 17 year old would be doing the that wont work because she graduates and is going on a trip with her dad.

The driving part depends on your doctor... actually alot will depend on your doctor, what type of hardware is used, and what type of collar you wear. My doc said you don't need the collar unless you feel like you might turn your head.

I was allowed to drive 4 weeks after surgery. It was difficult to drive with out turning your head.. especially backing up. And even a trip to the grocery store required a long nap afterwards. Exhausting. No housework or lifting anything heavier than a carton of milk for 4 weeks also. It was 8 weeks before I went back to work. I still don't think I am in full swing yet. Have soup and jello on hand for the first week after surgery.

My hip was very sore and I used a cane for a couple of weeks after surgery.. and had lingering pain for several months. Others here have reported much less problems with the hip then I had. Using your own hip bone is the "gold standard" no chance of rejection and faster fusion. It is the best way to do it unless for some reason you can't.. My Doc will NOT use donor bank bone.. he worries about potential problems with the quality of donor bone and safety.. as in free of diseases. in addition to potential for rejection and slower fusion. Own bone is the way to go. Good luck with your surgery and keep us posted
Is it possible that they do your own bone without a plate. The tech showed me the model in the office this week and it shows the little things (look line metal tinkertoys!)that go between the vertebrae and where your bone goes. But when I asked about plates she said no. I just assumed they all used plates but guess I assumed wrong!


Deborah is correct, a lot depends on your doctor. I have had 3 surgeries over 9 years by 2 different doctors. Both doctors were pretty similar in do's and don'ts during recovery: I had to wear a hard collar for 4 weeks followed by a soft collar for 2 weeks, no heavy lifting for 2 months, then gradual increase in lifting, no driving for 4 weeks.

In all 3 surgeries they used bone graft from my hip. Only this last surgery required hardware. My hip was a bit sore after the 1st surgery. After my 3rd surgery I kept waiting for the pain medication to wear off and feel the pain on my hip. I never did feel any pain!! :D I did have a small area of numbness on my skin just below the incision for about 1 month but that has gone away. If any future surgeries are required I will still have them use my own bone.

Kathy, the tinkertoys think you mentioned sounds like the cage they used in my fusions. I have a cage at each level and did not have any plates at all. The cage is threaded and screws into the space where the disk was. It goes in flush and is stable enough by itself. The ones I have are called BAK/c by Zimmer. You might do a search and see if it looks like what they showed you. I had my surgery on 3/16 of this year, spent one night in the hospital and my husband went back to work the next day. I was alone from day 3 on and did fine. (In fact I spent the first day home alone with the A/C repairmen as mine went out). I mostly watched TV and slept. I took my pain medication and muscle relaxers every time it hurt (within the time limits) and rested a lot. By the second week, I was up doing some cooking and housework (nothing heavy and moving slow). I drove a little at about 10 days. I had my two week check up on Monday of this week and have been working 2-3 hours a day since then. If you have someone to help you for 3 weeks, you will do great. I wish I hadn't pushed myself so much to get better because now my family thinks I am completely well and I still get very tired just doing normal things. I think taking it easy and slow is the key.

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