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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index


ACDF on Sept. 8
Aug 29, 2008
Greetings!

Newbie to the board, and to ACDF...

Back in November of 2007, I began experiencing fairly severe neck pain. Tried everything for relief (chiro, massage, acupuncture, traction), but relief was only temporary. Finally had a cervical MRI done in January - results indicated that I had fairly severe degeneration of all the disks (from C1 to T1), but that C5-C6 and C6-C7 were the worst, and based on the pain I had, that made sense. Went the ESI route in both C5-C6 and C6-C7, but after three rounds, no relief. I was referred to a neurosurgeon, who suggested, after seeing the MRI scans, that I needed 3 level ACDF (C4-C7). Started doing research to see what this spinal fusion was all about, which brought about a fair amount of anxiety (scared!). Scheduled the ACDF for Sept. 8th, which is fast approaching...

Any advice/comments/suggestions/positive reinforcement from the "veterans" on this board would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Steve
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Soon to have ACDF C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7 with cadaver bone and titanium plates.
Re: ACDF on Sept. 8
Sep 11, 2008
Three days post-op, and I'm feeling pretty darn good! The surgery went off without a hitch, except that it took about an hour longer than the neurosurgeon expected. Apparently, there was some difficulty accessing C4-C5 as he made his way up my cervical spine from C6-C7, but no issues, just extra time. He said lots of osteophytes (bone spurs) on both sides, which he removed...I was up walking the evening of the surgery, and have been walking increasingly each day for exercise while healing.

I had much apprehension going into this surgery, as I lead a fairly active life (type-A personality, software engineer in hi-tech, drummer in a power-trio original rock band, dirt-track sprint car/midget photographer, mountain biker, and dad to an active 16-year old daughter). Things seem to be going as predicted by my neurosurgeon - he said he was "very certain" he could relieve my pain and restore strength to my left arm. Too early to know if my strength is back, but the pain is gone. I have fairly steady pain in the back of my neck (just below where the back of my head and neck meet), which causes a low-grade headache, but this, too, was predicted by the Doc, as this is a direct result of the procedure, which requires the patients neck to be hyper-extended back to provide easier access to the vertebrae in the front of the neck.Plus, they strap on a 10-pound weight to your head for traction to open up the vertebrae for discectomy (removal of the funky, worn-out discs). That's why the back of my neck is sore. What's nice is, the original pain is gone!! That's a good thing. ;)

Let the healing begin! I'm on Norco for pain, and trying to keep myself pain free during the first part of my recovery. Aspen neck brace 24-7, except to shower, for at least the next 4 weeks, and probably longer - probably the hardest part of this recovery for me will be the rest and relaxation part, as I already feel I should be doing something instead of lying around and healing. But I must force myself to just kick back and take it easy for a while...

Thanks again to the few who have responded with advice and positive reinforcement!

Regards,
Steve
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ACDF, C4-C7, with cadaver bone and hardware, 09/08/08





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