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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Havent posted here since my surgery, thought I would give a progress report for those here who are considering having this done.

First a little background. This was a very difficult decision for me because I was never in much pain, it was always more a radiculopathy issue (right arm/hand). Symptoms would get worse, then improve, but the numbness and tingling never went away totally. Then I started to develop stabbing sensations in the bottoms of my feet, off and on. This I surmised was due to the spinal chord compression (which was severe at C6 - C7 and borderline at C5 - C6. C6 - C7 was also severely herniated off to the right which obviously was the cause of the radiculopathy). After 2 opinions, both of which were basically the same, I went with the bi-level, allograft, and fusion.

Overall this has gone pretty much as expected. I was totally prepared for the sore throat and the pain between the shoulder blades. My throat was never really "sore" as much as it felt very constricted - this has improved and now feels about 85% - 90% normal. Still some stiffness but I eat and drink anything I like with no issues. The shoulder pain is also much better, but, as has been noted by other folks, it's really easy to "overdo" something without realizing it, then you pay for it the next couple of days. I saw my surgeon for my first post-op appt. yesterday and he said recovery from this type of surgery is typically a "two step forward, one step back" experience...i.e a couple of good days followed by a not-so-good one, and that has been exactly the case for me. But overall things are going well. I walk between one and two miles a day and some days I feel like I could jog again, but going to take it slow. I'm also lifting light weights but again, taking baby steps and documenting everything so if I do too much I'll know what to cut back on.

The one thing I did not expect and has been a rather major annoyance is, I cannot fall asleep on my back throat closes up just enough that I make a light snort and wake myself up just as I am falling asleep. Surgeon said it's most likely soft tissue swelling still present and to give it a couple more weeks....I hope so, that was my main sleeping position. I am managing on my side, however.

Every surgeon seems to have theor own of the ones I got an opinion from would have used a hard collar for 3 weeks and no bone stimulator, the one I chose used a soft collar which he said I only really needed to wear for "comfort", but does use the bone stimulator. Probably no "wrong" or "right" way, just where they got their training, etc. and of course personal experience.

For me it will be a while before I know whether this was the right choice. Of course I was at risk for paralysis with any bone-jarring jolt (car accident, etc) so from that standpoint I did the right thing. Also they thought they saw mild spinal cord damage at C6 - C7 on the MRI, that was more the reason I did it than the radiculopathy, which really wasnt horrible. Time will tell on that score.

I really can't make recommendations to anyone, every situation is different, but I think with a reputable surgeon ACFD is a very reasonable option for those with moderate to severe sypmtoms born out by clinical evidence of an MRI.

Good luck to all, will post again in a bit.

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