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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

hi I had ACDF surgery and 4 months later my thumb and two fingers next to it are still numb and feel like they were smashed with a hammer. Before surgery both arms and hands were numb and hurt and so I woke up much improved but I didn't know why I still had pain on one side. since this was an injury from an accident I had an MRI done and found to have shoulder tears from the accident and that's why my fingers feel as they do. Now I will have shoulder repaired. Other than that the acdf wasn't too bad but is a slow recovery. I hope this helps.
I haven't had surgery (yet) but I've read a lot about various nerve problems after surgery. It's pretty common to have continuing problems for quite some time after surgery. Even though the compression may be removed, the nerves need to heal. Less common, though very unfortunate, is new nerve issues stemming from the surgery itself. The good news is that permanent nerve damage is relatively uncommon. Studies suggest that most surgical trauma related nerve damage resolves within 6 months. That's why 6 months to 2+ years is sort of the "sweet spot" when evaluating surgeries as the transient nerve issues have typically gone away and things like adjacent segment disease and pseudoarthrosis (in fusions) haven't really become symptomatic yet.

One thing about anterior vs. posterior surgical methods is that a lot depends on where the pathology is. If you have bone-spurs in the posterior joints it is often possible to remove them with an anterior surgery like ACDF but there will likely be more trauma to nerve roots and surrounding structures in that case. Similarly with anterior bone-spurs etc; a posterior surgery will require more moving things about to get at the issues. One other issue is that in ACDF, about 29% of patients suffer temporary swallowing and/or speech difficulties due to retraction of the esophagus or trachea as well as the laryngeal nerves. Rarely, permanent function loss can occur. Usually, the main "unique" complaint against posterior surgeries is significant and potentially long-lasting neck pain due to the amount of muscles and other structures that need to be cut to access the spinal lamina.

I hope that you are in the majority that have their nerve issues go away over a relatively short time. Good Luck!
Hi, I had a ACDF in Dec 2011, just over 3 years ago.
I have numbness, tingling & pain in both arms, wrists, hands & fingers with the left being the worst. Some times the left wrist is very painful and there's a lot of numbness & tingling. I drop things right out of my hands at times because I don't feel what ever I'm holding.
From what my doctor told me then was that I have nerve damage from before the surgery.
I did get relief from the pain in my neck and shoulders a few months (I think it was) post op so that was good. But I still have the other issues I had pre-op.

Also, the level above that fusion needs to be fused. The herniation at C-3, C-4 is pressing on the spinal cord now.
It's strange because my 2nd opinion was with a Ortho surgeon and he suggested to do a 4 level fusion not the 2 level that the Neuro suggested & did.
If I could go back, I'd choose the 4 level so I wouldn't have to have more
surgery!! I knew there was a risk that this might happen but obviously the Ortho surgeon was right.

So, one day when I get regular health insurance, I will end up having another surgery.

I hope everything turns out well for you and that you will recover 100% because that does happen as well.

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