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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

[QUOTE=vaslugger;4332773]I am wondering if any who come to this site have had a successful ACDF surgery and are you glad you did it.I will have to get this surgery sometime in the next two to three weeks.The MRI showed I have three different nerves that the canal that they are in has narrowed pinching on the nerves.He said he would go in and open up the canals the nerves are in but after doing this it could make my spine some what unstable and that he would recommend a fusion from C3 to C6 which I think is a three tier I believe.The surgeon said if he did not do the fusion it could cause problems with other nerves if he just opened the nerve canals only.My discs are fine and that is what bothers me is it is nothing wrong with my discs but he said he would remove the discs and replace them with plastic wedges that have bone in them and that it will fuse with my own vertabrae.I am hurting extremely bad in my neck and have been off work for five months due to the pain.I absolutely know it has to be done as I do not want to damage the nerves as a EMG showed my nerves are still ok.My doctor is strictly a spine surgeon and does a lot of spine surgerys and is the number one spine surgeon at the hospital it will be done at.He has been doing spine surgerys for 18 years and for 7 years was the chief spine surgeon at a Naval Base were I live at.He told me he could get me back to work in 2 weeks which I find that hard to believe.He told me he has had fighter pilots flying after three months and could even stand ejection if needed.He does use hardware and screws to also hold it in place.I know people who he has done surgery on and they said that they would not let anyone else touch them.Also checking on the internet he is also rated excellent.Any information would be great especially your outcome.I have read a lot of things people complain about and know what they are but I also know thousands are done each year as my surgeon is doing 6 surgerys next week and 2 of them are ACDF.Thanks so much for any feedback![/QUOTE]
Well my suggestion is DONT do the surgery, try some alternative therapies, through physical therapy and pain management. I am 7 weeks post C5-C7 ACDF, with two tier titanium plates and screws and the plastic wedges to replace the discs. I had actually herniated one my discs and compressed the other. The pain in my Neck has been really bad since having surgery, and the pain that you will experience between your shoulder blades is really unbearable at times. My initial symptoms of left arm numbness and tingling are completely gone. It just seems I traded one pain for another. I had a appointment with the Neurosurgeon yesterday and a Cervical Xray. Everything looks fine from his stand point, but he says I should expect to have pain for 6 months and still need to be very cauious with turning my head. Turning my head from side to side can actually cause problems with the fixation occuring and cause me to have chronic pain for the rest of my life. Only being 33, this is not an option for me.

Expect to have to wear a rigid Cervical Collar for Two weeks solid and then intermitantly. The plates and screws actually cause the cervical spine to stretch and therefore the muscles from your neck to your shoulder blades will most likely be in constant spasm for up to 6 months post surgery.

Since your discs are not affected, as a Nurse and a fellow ACDF patient...I really would try to delay surgery as long as possible and try a conservative method. Not sure what type of work you do, but expect to be out for 6 to 8 weeks (even if you have a office job), and absolutely no heavy lifting for up to 6 months. The recovery time is very prolonged with this surgery.
I'm only 11 weeks post ACDF and I consider the surgery very successful. I update my recovery in the thread "ACDF Recovery Update". My biggest concerns are long term effects, but only time will tell what they are. Read my thread for all the details.

One word of caution for your situation, you seem to have more neck pain symptoms than arm/hand symptoms and ACDF is only about 60% effective for neck pain. ACDF is 95% effective for arm symptoms. These numbers are based on lots of research I did before my surgery. They might be slightly off because it's been a few months for me, but you get the basic idea. Hopefully you are part of the 60%; just wanted to warn you that it's no sure thing. You also seem to have issues at several locations and the success rates go down as the complexity goes up. Fortunately, mine was a simple one level. I don't mean to discourage you. Just realize that your recovery will be probably be long even with surgery.

On a different topic, I see you are from Crozet, VA. I've been to Crozet and ate at Crozet Pizza. Good times!
Thanks birdman for the information.Ihave done lots of research myself and have learned a lot.I think the thing I am confident the most about is my surgeon.Been doing spine surgery for 18 years and 7 years was the chief spine surgeon for the Navy at Portsmouth.He feels confident I will recover 100% and so do I.I do believe I will get better results from strictly a spine surgeon who that is his main speciality other than a Neurosurgeon who does no where as many spine surgerys.Mine is mainly arthritis that has narrowed three canals and he will open them up to relieve the nerves.He said I could maybe get by with a two level fusion but he said in his experience that if we did three levels that it would completely take care of my problems and not have to go back in for future surgerys.I do believe the surgeon that you chose is the most important decision of all.I sometimes believe that the surgery percentage rates when they are lower are caused by incompetent surgeons.My surgeon is the number one spine surgeon at the hospital where I am going and as long as I have to wait for him I believe it!Will pray your recovery continues to go well for you.And yes you were right Crozet Pizza is a great place to eat as I have been eating there since they opened.Thanks again!
[QUOTE=wrgil;4337428]I'm only a few days out from my 2 level ACDF but I'm considering it a success! Prior to surgery I had severe weakness in my left arm, burning pain down my arm, numbness in my upper back and fingertips. The pain was so bad I had stop working while waiting for surgery and was living on narcotics which weren't coming close to touching the pain. I had the surgery done a few days ago and woke up with every single one of those pains gone! I do still get the occasional muscle twitch but no pain. I do have the pain while swallowing and choking while eating and drinking but that is getting better each day. I trusted my surgeon completely and I do believe that the surgery was successful.

I also wanted to add that I completely agree with Spine about having everything done at once. One of my levels was not bad enough on it's own to warrant surgery but my surgeon felt that it would require attention (surgery) in the next few years if left untreated. He wanted to do that level at the same time as the level that did require immediate surgery to avoid another surgery in a few years. He was very certain I would be back in a few years with major problems from that level. I really appreciated his honestly and willingness to fix it all at once.[/QUOTE]

How are you now that it has been some time since your surgery?
What 2 levels did you have done? I had C5-6 and C6-7 although my surgeon thought about adding C4-5 but decided against it as the recovery would be much more extensive. I am hoping he did not make the wrong decision. I was willing to have it done to avoid another future surgery. My surgeon is liberal and I am out the of the soft collar at 2 weeks, and only wore a hard collar for a few days. I still wear the collar for sleeping, and when I am in a car. I too had excessive swelling. I was inn the hospital for 5 1/2 days because I could not swallow or speak for sometime. They ended up putting my on steroids to decrease the swelling. I had surgery on 12/9/2010 and I am frustrated with my limitations. I was hoping to go back to work next week, but not sure that is going to happen.

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