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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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C5, C6, C7 Fusion
May 9, 2002
Last Oct 2001, I woke up with a neck ache, shooting pains down my left arm and my left 3 fingers were numb. Had a MRI and it showed I had a herniated disk at C5/C6 and one at C6/C7. All non-surgical treatments failed and I was still in pain. On April 23,2002, I had Anterior Cervical Discectomy at the Florida Hospital in Orlando Florida. The Neurosurgen went in thru the front of the neck, removed the 2 herniated disks, inserted bone grafts from a bone bank and fused C5, C6 and C7 with a titanium plate and 6 screws. I was in the hospital one night and released the following day.

Two days later, I was up and walking. I was on a pain relievers and muscle relaxants for about 12 days. Most of the pain is gone and I went back to work on May 9th on a part time basis. The numbness in my fingers is slowly going away, the Dr said it would be a few months before the imflamation around the nerve roots subsides.

I only wore the soft cervical colar while I was in the hospital. Now I wear it when I drive or ride in a car.

I am very pleased with the results. The incision is about 2 inches just below my adams apples and is barely noticeable. In 5 weeks I get Xrays takens to see how the bones are fusing. Until then I will take it easy and follow the Dr orders. I'm not allowed to lift more than 20 lbs, push, pull, reach above the head and no excessive bending.

I was very nervous having the operation after reading some of the messages posted on this board. I thought I would provide some positive feedback. If you would like , I will answer any questions.

Leo

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[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 05-11-2002).]

Hi Leo,

'Glad to have you stop by. I had the ACDF April 10th and I have also had a positive experience. I don't have a plate, and I think that's why I'm still in the collar. I'm surprised you're back to work already. That's great! (I don't mind being off from work! I'm enjoying it! )

There are a few people here that will be very pleased with your post.

Have a great day!

------------------
Linda
Hi Leo,

Your symptoms sound a lot like mine, only on the opposite side. Nice to hear of a good result, as I'm going in on June 7 for ACDF myself! Like Linda, I am not having a plate put in. I think it is because I only have one disc involved.

Thanks for the positive reinforcement. Like you, it will be 6 months from onset to operation for me. I am hoping the numbness goes away, so let us know how that progresses.
Hi Leo, Linda, Nanner and ALL,

For the past few months most all reports have come back successful after surgery...
Like you I have a three level C fusion to get 28 June 02, unlike you my N/S said he prefers using own bone from hip, as in his opinion it represents a higher success rate... Will have to take his word for it..

Keep up the good work and remember to take it easy.

Love to ALL

Davy
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your replies. I feel better everyday. Its been nice to get back to work and out of the house. Without the plate you will have to wear the collar much longer. I've heard many pro's and con's about what type of bone to use. You will heal better with your own but it will be painful and you won't be able to walk as soon. Also if you are a smoker, its better to use your own bone.

I found this web site very informative and it gave me a better feeling about the surgery. It has a good FAQ section where 12 Dr's answer the questions.
www.neckreference.com

Nanner and Davy I wish you the best in your upcoming surgery. Its not that bad, the first week is tough but it gets better everyday.

Linda, I wish you continued success in your recovery.

Hugs to all,
Leo
Hi Leo
I cant believe you had your surgery the 23rd of april. I had the same surgery the 22nd well not exactly the same, I had one disk removed and fusion with plate. I am still healing and doing better each day. Have not returned to work yet and could not see doing that yet either as my job requires alot of lifting and sitting. I was in the hospital 5 days but then again I had some complications after surgery. Reading posts like yours gives encouragement. Its great.
Debbie
oh by the way since we had our surgery almost the same time do you get any jolts in your arms or legs. I am starting to get jolts like electrical shocks and very bad headaches everyday.
Hi Debbie,

I have an office job that doesn't require any heavy lifting. If I did, I won't be back to work. I'm still taking a muscle relaxant 3 times a day to reduce spasms. I have very little pain from the surgery. I may take a pain reliever at night.

I have not had any shooting pains or headaches since the operation. I think you may have some imflamation around your nerves. The numbness is usually the last symptom to go away. I still have some numbness in my left index finger. Go to the web site I listed in my previous post and go thru all the links. It has a lot of good information.

I wish you a speedy Recovery.
Leo
Hi to all of you who posted regarding Anterior Cervical fusion surgery......I am considering it after a year of shoulder pain/arm pain/neck pain and headaches. MRI shows herniated discs at two levels. (I had a lumbar fusion 2 years ago which was successful) Questions.....I am now having lower back pain again, along with pain in the middle part of my back and legs/groin area (like I had before my lumbar fusion!) Did any of you have those problems that may have been a result of the cervical problems as it progressed? I am wondering if the cervical problems might be getting worse and causing low back trouble(from the herniated discs). I would have the surgery in a minute if I thought it would take care of ALL the problem. I'm really afraid that maybe another one of my lumbar discs has "gone" and that now, I have TWO problems........I thought I was done with spinal trouble after the lumbar fusion.

HELP! and thanks for any replies
Leo hi there, thanks for filling me in on where you work and of how you are progressing. My job is production. I'd say 2 hrs of lifting 1 hr of bending way over and 5 hrs of sitting but strenuous work. I know we all heal at a different pace, but I would like to be one that could be a speedy one and I know that I probably push myself more than I should. Anyway I just now started getting those headaches and jolts I keep getting mainly in my hands, feels just like I am being shocked, didnt have that before my surgery.
My best to you
Debbie
Leo - some of the nerves & muscles from the neck terminate in the mid-back, so there's a potential connection there. Since signals to the whole body go through the neck first, you could get symptoms in many places, especially if the cord is being compressed, like mine. However, sounds like you could use some followup testing for the lumbar area.

Debysu - the jolts might be from secondary compression & re-inflamation of your nerves as they go through tight spaces like your elbow, wrist, etc., giving symptoms like carpal tunnel syndrome...

this appears to one of my issues, my cervical cord is [email protected] 3 levels, the nerves are inflamed, and so they run out of room at the tight spots, get compressed some more elsewhere, & complain with jolts, burning, etc.

You may want to keep track of motions that precipitate the jolts.

Heal well & soon! Brena
Hello to Linda, Nanner, Davy, Debbysu and everyone!!
I have been reading your replys for three weeks now but was unable to post because of problems with my computer. I just wanted to say thanks for all your help.. On May 9th 2002 I had a anterior cervical C5 & C6 fusion with bone graft from my hip... The surgery lasted for 4 hours and I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 days... I guess I am one of the lucky ones because I didn't need any pain meds only Tylenol ex-strength.. The nurses tried coaxing me every hour to take some but the pain was only when I moved and then it was bearable..I am so glad it is over, the Doctor really didn't think I would show cause I was panic stricken to say the least.lol I am in a survical hard collar but the doctor said I could wear the soft collar when I'm home but I haven't worked up the nerve to change collars yet. I am still having some tingling (pops) down my arms and legs but am very hopeful I will have a full recovery....

I have been praying for you guys too!!! Keep your faith everything will be just fine..

Jen
Hi Jen,

It's awfully nice to hear from you and I'm grateful that things went so well. Believe me, I was terrified too! I must have shown it at the hospital because I was asked by several people if I was afraid. I'm still happy the anesthesiologist put a little bit of his drug into my IV (I think just to test my reaction) because I was still awake but mentally out of it. He also put me to sleep before the doctor showed up. Those last few minutes before surgery were the worst.

Anyway, why am I getting into all that? I have no idea.

Thank you for your prayers and I'll be praying for you also. This board has been a wonderful place for me to talk about my experience. I'm almost 5 weeks post surgery and my hip is a little sore again. I did a lot of walking Friday morning (went out strolling with a friend for over an hour) and Saturday we were at an air show, so maybe it was a bit too much. I know from having C-sections that there are various stages of healing so it could be just another stage. I think the nerves in the incision area start to reconnect or heal or whatever it is they do.

I still have some tingling, but like Leo said, it takes a few months for the inflammation of the nerves to go down. I'm patient about this. I had some immediate results, and some not so immediate, but I'm optimistic.

Thanks for posting! Have a great day!

------------------
Linda

[This message has been edited by Lindita (edited 05-13-2002).]

Hey Leo,
We seem to have similar conditions except mine is between C4-5/5-6. So glad to hear that you are recovering well. May God be with you and give you the strength and courage.
How do you feel now? This sounds silly but do you ever feel the metal paltes and screws in your neck. Do you feel stiff? Are you still wearing the hard collar? How big is your incision. As the days are getting closer I am getting a bit nervous.
Good Luck

Noor
Hi Noor,

Its been 4 weeks since the operation and I'm feeling good. I'm a little stiff, I get some minor pain in the shoulder blades once in a while and my left finger is still a little numb. The Dr said it may take months for the numbness to go away.

Since I had the titanium plate, I didn't have to wear a hard collar. My Dr had me wear a soft collar for a few after the surgery. I can't feel the plate or the screws. My incision is about 2 inches just below my adams apple and its a fine razor line. It should blend in quickly.

Don't be nervous, everything will go fine. The first couple of days are a little rough, then you get better everyday. Make sure you walk as much as you can.

Best of Luck,
Leo
Leo:
I an having the same symptoms you had except I am having pain and numbness in my right arm as well. My doctor wants to perform posterior (back) and anterior (front) procedures to fuse herniated discs at levels C4-C7. I am wondering if levels C4-C7 can be fused with just one entry, instead of a front and back entry?
Gregor,

I'm not sure if they can be fused from one side only. Thats 3 levels, one more than me. I would go get a second opinion and found out. I believe going thru the back is more painful since they go thru more muscles.

I wish you well and keep us posted.

Leo
Hi, this is my first time. I had a c4 & 5 fusion in nov 2001. It was a rush job as bladder and bowels had packed up.i was not aware of any problem until i knocked my knee and started to get numbness from the waste down and also numb fingers on right hand. I was sent for mri which discovered i had a small spinal cord and the discs were squashing it. They were going tro put a plate in but when they got in there there wasn't room, so removed the discs and di a bone graft from the hip. I though great this wasn't going to take long to get over but 7 months on i have had no improvement at all. I get frustrated easily when i can't do the things i used to. I wonder if things will ever improve and wait to see the specialist in july. That is if they don't lose me in the system again. I wonder if anyone could tell me ddoes this conditio affect the brain as i do stupid things like poutting my foot on the clutch instead of brale and run into a pole. No one has told me much and it would be nice to get some comments.
Regards
maggles





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