Aa
A
A
Close
Avatar universal
Anterior Cervical Disectomy W/Fusion Recovery
I have never posted anything to a forum, but I have to agree with Ronin, there must be success stories out there. My doctor told me that I needed anterior cervical discestomy w/fusion C5-C7. I reseached the internet and decided I should go for the surgery. If I read these forums before surgery, I would have chickened out. I was scared because my brother-in-law had the surgery three years ago which resulted in his being confined to a wheelchair. After three years he is still undergoing surgery. I had a right to be scared but I didn't want to lose the use of my right arm. My surgery was October 17, 2006. On October 19th I went home. I am recovering and except for taking 2 hydrocodone and the scar on my neck, you can not tell that I had surgery. By the 20th of Oct. I was helping my wife with dishes, I drove my pick-up, and feel very well. Today is October 30th and I was raking leaves. I still take it easy, but I was blessed by having an excellent doctor. Since the surgery I don't have the daily headaches, my arm pain comes and goes but is not as bad as before the surgery. Bottom line is that I feel my surgery was very successful and recovery will be quick. I know there are others out there that have had success. Yes it was scary deciding on the surgery, but I'm glad I did.
Cancel
114 Answers
Page 1 of 6
Avatar universal
it is wonderful to hear you are healing so well in such a short time.  However, I do have a question for you.  Did your doctor say it is OK for you to be raking leaves just a few weeks post-op?  Please follow the doctor's orders so that you will continue to heal well and be pain free.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
167895 tn?1189759425
Finally somebody has something good to say about ACDF surgery!  I am scheduled to be fused tomorrow at the UCLA Spine Center.

Wish me luck.

Tim
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi, scheduled for surgery 11/30/06.
Have spoken with several people who say this surgery was a great success.  However, they all had arm, neck, hand pain, etc.
Mine is in my legs.  Anyone else out there with this type of problem??    After reading some of the 2005 postings it seems there can be really nasty side effects, I hope there are more of you that have had positive experiences.  Guess Christmas shopping will not happen this year!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi all,for those contemplating Anterior Cervical Disectomy W/Fusion Recovery I,ve had it and 12 months later I'm fine.
I had a C5 & C6 fusion back in january 2006 and while it was a bit umncofortable at first the end result is fantastic.The muscles/ligaments are weak and sore for a while but if you maintain your exercises a couple of times a day you'll be fine.I'm only talking about my own experience and everyone is different.I was 41 and half at the time of surgery.My discs had prolapsed and had calcified and were pressing on my spinal nerve so I really didn't have an option.Only a slight reduction of movement exists.good luck ps get a good surgeon as you dont want to mess around
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi all,for those contemplating Anterior Cervical Disectomy W/Fusion Recovery I,ve had it and 12 months later I'm fine.
I had a C5 & C6 fusion back in january 2006 and while it was a bit umncofortable at first the end result is fantastic.The muscles/ligaments are weak and sore for a while but if you maintain your exercises a couple of times a day you'll be fine.I'm only talking about my own experience and everyone is different.I was 41 and half at the time of surgery.My discs had prolapsed and had calcified and were pressing on my spinal nerve so I really didn't have an option.Only a slight reduction of movement exists.good luck ps get a good surgeon as you dont want to mess around
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone,
I had a ADCF in April 2006 on C6&C7. I suffered for a couple of months with neck pains and slight numbness, then in March the pain worsened and I began loosing feeling in my left arm, shoulder and finger numbness. My elbow even hurt. I had an MRI done and was refered to see a Neurosurgeon and he did the surgery a week later. It said that if I didn't have the surgery I would probably go paralyzed because my nerve root was pretty damaged.  

If you are contemplating having this surgery done, it is well worth. I know there are a lot of scary things about it, and trust me I was scared to death. I had the best surgeon! To this day I have not pain any longer and I had instant relief the day of the surgery. I was hospitalized overnight and was also up walking the halls the night of my surgery.  The recoery time is quick. My scar is getting smaller and is beginning to fade.  I would recommend this to anyone who needs it.

Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Just another message to anyone considering this surgery.  It's so true that reading boards like this is enough to scare anyone away.  People are more likely to comment on something negative.

I am one-month post op from a c6-7 acdf using a trabecular cage for the fusion instead of bone.  The doc said the cage was a good option for me because I'm young (he called me YOUNG!)at 38.  I'd been having the usual arm pain and numbness for about three years, but was able to stave it off with exercise until October of 2006.

My surgery was done by an orthopaedic surgeon, not a neuro as I see most posters have used.  I, too, was up and around a few hours after I woke up and only spent one night in the hospital.  BUT, the doc would only let me go home if the pain could be controlled by pills and not the lovely dilauded pump they gave me.  By late the first night, I had stopped hitting the pump and was getting relief with percocet pills.

The first week of recovery was kinda rough.  My main advice is to make sure you have some help and let people spoil you!  Don't try to do ANYTHING you don't have to.  Your doc should be VERY generous with the pain pills so, if you're like me, you'll spend alot of time sleeping in the first week.

At this point, one month later, I've stopped using the percs completely.  I still get a little pain in my arm but only after being at work all day (a desk job).  Regular tylenol does the trick if I need it.  I have pain-free days and I don't have any residual stiffness in my neck.  The doc says it's not unusual to have the arm pain for a few months, as the spinal cord and nerves are waking up and repairing themselves.  It was so worth it!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi! I have been reserching the possibitly to this surgery since a few weeks ago when I found out from my MRI that I have the discs between my C3-C4, C4-C5, and C5-C6, protruding and compressing my spinal cord. For the past month I have endure the numbness of my hand and arm and I barely can use the computer or hand write. The arm is weak and I am terrified of what can happen. How do I find out if the neurosurgeon I have is a good one....I have not even seen him yet. I have an appointment this week. Please wish me luch and e-mail me back, I would like to know more...
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
It is just 4 weeks since my Anterior Cervical Disectomy W/Fusion (C5-C7). I was misdiagnosed a year ago and had an unnecessary Ulnar Nerve (funny bone) relocation that did nothing for my arm pain / numbness / loss of muscle. Finally saw a neurosurgeon for a second opinion as the symptoms continued to get worse (1st doctor was an orthopaedic surgeon). When the neurosurgeon looked at my mri he proposed removing 3 vertebra as my spinal cord was really compressed. . . Lets just say that really got my attention. I went to a second neurosurgeon for another opinion. This surgeon had succesfully operated on several people I know and when he suggested the 2 discs be removed, fused & plate put in I went with it. He used a synthetic material not a bone graft for the fusion. Unfortunately the proceedure did not resolve my main symtom - arm pain but both neurosurgeons had told me the surgery in all probability would not help that. The numbness that was starting in my foot has gone away as well as much of the numbness in my hand. I managed the pain with Vicodin after surgery and after 2 weeks was addicted. I didn't realize it until the doctor at the 2 week followup suggested I stop using it. I quit using it that day and went thru 3 days of withdrawal - every muscle in my body ached and even my bones hurt. After 3 days all ok. The bad news is the valium he now prescribed doesn't get it done for the pain. I have what feels like VERY tight muscles between my shoulder blades and someone is sticking a knife in there :)
The bottom line I would do it again. I don't think I had a choice and I am hoping PT will help build up the muscles in my arm.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
178107 tn?1315951230
I had a two level ACDF(C5-C7) in Nov of 2006 due to herniated disk after a fall at work. It has been over 10 months now and I still have not returned to work.  My pain is worse than before surgery. The only thing it helped was the arm pain. My neck and right shoulder aches and burns all time time.  I have a terrible headache everyday.  I still don't drive because my range of motion is so bad. I am taking muscle relaxers and Demeral every 4 hours for the pain.

My doctor has done every test to be thought of and he says everything looks great.  He finally decided that I may have injuried the ulner nerve in my elbow when I fell and that my be causing my shoulder pain.  Even though the EMG was good he wanted to do surgery on my elbow.  During surgery he found a lot of scare tissue on the nerve and he thought that the surgery would really help me.

It has been 4 weeks since my surgery and my shoulder pain has not improved.  Now my ring finger, pinky and all the way up to my elbow is totally numb and I have a nine inch incision on my arm.   I know some of the feeling will come back as it heals, but I'm beginning to think that I'm stuck with the pain in my neck and shoulder for the rest of my life.  

I am 45 and husband and I waited late in life to have children, they are ages 7 and 4.  I feel like I have cheated them because it is very hard for me to care for them.  My doctor has really tried to find out what is causing my pain, but I don't know what his next step will be.

I hope PT helps you, have you tried Lidacane patches for the burning between your shoulder blades?  They seemed to help with that.  How long before the numbness went away in your arm and hand after the ulnar nerve surgery?



Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
hey guys me 2 !!! c5-6-7 removal & fusion withbone bank material on 28 dec im kinda nervous but my doc. is awesome she fixed my l4&5  in 04 was great till pain between shoulder blades and numbness in both arms(like thier asleep hands too)!! all this at once sent me to the er!! 38 male great shape (heartattack) how? er doc said no way ekg is good! she said u need an (adjustment) roll over,she climbed on my back, i said whats this,im going to pop ur back,no thanks i said my neurologist said never do that,er doc was mad but i told my doc about it and she said it could have paralized me!!! wow close call huh? well wish me a safe one and steady hands for my doc!!!thanks stinger
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I had a nasty mountain bike wreck on 9/12/07. I twisted my neck very hard, and I ending up "crashing" in the ER. During the resulting multiple scans, they discovered the need for fusion of C5-C7. The bike wreck did not cause the problems, but the resulting scans revealed it. I was extremely fortunate.

The surgeon treated this as an emergent condition, and I consented to immediate surgery. In reflection, I am grateful that I did not have the opportunity to agonize about the surgery, as I see some folks are. Prior to surgery, please get a second opinion from a bonafide Neurological Fellow. Those docs do not mess around.

If surgery is indicated, my advice for full recovery of ACF is this -

Pre-Op: prepare your mind and body; stop drinking alcohol and using tobacco right now; exercise as safely and effectively as you can; stop eating and drinking sugary or fatty foods; hydrate, hydrate, hydrate; fix your attitude toward success, not dread!..

Post-Op: start walking as early as you safely can (this was my only effective pain therapy); get plenty of sleep; eat small meals four to six times per day, with plenty of fiber (you'll see what I mean); hydrate, hydrate, hydrate; get off the pain meds as soon as you can (be brave).

Because of the neck trauma, my surgery was complicated and more risky. Because I was in good shape prior to surgery, I have blown away all of the recovery expectations. The surgeon declared my fusion complete just two days ago. I still have some manageable pain, easily handled by Tylenol. My voice is recovering well, as is my strength. I am 44, married with young kids, and relatively healthy. I was out of work for three months (software engineer). I have returned part-time for three weeks, going to full-time after the holiday.

As my Nurse Practitioner brother always says: "Push fluids and exercise!" It makes everything in life easier!

If your surgery is elective, you can expect about half the recovery time of my trauma-induced surgery. This surgery has dramatically improved an already very fulfilling life. I have a new lease on life, and I didn't even need one!

If anyone needs more advice, please contact me at ***@****
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I am 2 months out of cervical decompression & fusion surgery.  Feeling pretty good, however my neck and shoulder muscles are quite painful.  I'm not reading much about this type of pain so it's making me nervous that it should be gone by now.  Any comments are appreciated.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hi,
I think your pain is related to surgery or due to stiffness of Para spinal muscles.
Have you consulted a physiotherapist? If yes, what exercise has he advised?
Did you benefit from those exercises?
Any spinal surgery takes time to heal; sometimes the healing process extends from 6 months to 12 months also.
Do you smoke?
Are you on any pain medicines?
Smoking inhibits or retards the formation of new bone and delays the fusion.
Like wise analgesics continued for too long in higher doses causes delay in healing.
Keep me informed.
Bye.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
ive had 2 surgerys first was nov of 2004, 2nd was seven days ago.
first one i was fused from c5-7. went back to work 3 months later an reinjured shortly there after.now im fused from c3-c7. postop pain getting little better.  went to emergency room jan 8,08  6days postop
because of soreness in throat an found out i have streep throat.


anyway guess what im saying is be careful because stress on adjacent levels is not good or you to will be going for second surgery too.

                                         good luck to all, scott
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I am 4 weeks postop a c-5-6-7 fusion. I have a 3 in plate and 6 screws in my neck and my doc was an orthopedic. I am a 35 yr old mother of a 7, 5, and 2 1/2 yr old and had been working out every day leading to this surgery. One disc was pressing on the spinal cord and I loss of use of my left arm and tingling in 3 fingers. Recovery has been rough for me.

I spent 6 days in the hospital and the first week home was horrific.
I still have tingling in the forefinger and thumb and middle finger tips, but the pain was gone as soon as I woke up from surgery. I stopped all medications when I came home. I did regain alot of the muscle use in the left arm, but still under alot of restrictions.

I have some pain/pressure on the back of the shoulders and on the collar bones, but it is very infrequent. Last night, I experienced a pain on my rt side of my back (below the blade) and when I inhale, it kills me! It feels muscular. Anyone have this??? Waiting on the doc to call bk.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
I am 4 weeks out from a C6/C7 Anterior Cervical Discetomy and Fusion, and doing great!  I was pertrified to have it done, but it has been a piece of cake.  I had a donor bone graft, and a plate and screws.  I felt good from the minute I woke up in recovery - no pain, no sore throat, nothing.

I had trouble sleeping the 1st two weeks, as I was trying to sleep in a recliner.  Since I moved back to the bed two weeks ago, I have been sleeping great.

I took 1 Darvocet at night the 1st two weeks, just to help me sleep and not for pain.

Yesterday I got to remove my soft collar, and I have not had any pain yet.

I go for my 1st follow up this Thursday, and hope the X-Ray will show everything is fine.

I would highly recommend this surgery if you are having constant, chronic pain and numbness.

So glad I had it done!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
My doc who is a neurosurgeon stated that I need a anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for C3/4 & C 5/6.  I am petrified of back/neck surgery and the thought of being dependent on someone for 2 mths scares the hack out of me.  I've been told that I will need to wear the collar for 2 mths, 24 hrs. a day, no lifting, no driving.  I haven't committed to this yet but I'm afraid that I'm just delaying the inevitable.  Can someone please tell me if this surgery will relieve the constant headaches that I now have?  To me, the headaches are worse than anything else, so far.
Someone please respond, I need to make a decision, fast!!!!  Thanks!!!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Ensure you get a competant surgeon who specialises in this type of precedure.  I had my C5/C6 cervical fusion 4 weeks ago.  I am back at work.  Recovery is inconsistent. Some days are better than others but overall the pain is much reduced. I expect a good long term result. It is also nice know that the bone spur I had which was flattening my spinal cord has been removed and no longer poses a further threat. Everyone seems to recover at different rates so slow recovery is not something to panic about.
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Avatar universal
Hey everyone, I want to tell you all I have c4-5 and c5-6 done on Aug 28th 2008. The surgeon I had was supposed to be the best in the area. I had numbness in my hands and pain and headaches. Since the surgery the pain and numbness is gone. The challenge I am having now is finding a comfortable position to sleep!!! I read some people had problems with getting there bowels back in order that was a challenge also. Thank God I got that straightened out yesterday it only was 3 days but man is 3 days long when you haven't gone. They sent me home on vicoden and a muscle spasm reliever. NOW HERE IS WHAT I FOUND OUT!! My wife who is a nursing student found in her books that the medication react with eachother causing ALL kind of problems. So I went off of everything for 8 hours just to clear my system. I will live with the muscle spasms for now. I just want to get a good night sleep beside my honey. Anyone know a good position to get in? I had the donor bone with plating put in on 2 levels and sent home without a collar. I was told no need for one. All I want for christmas is a good nights sleep!!!
Comment
Cancel
Comment
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Comment
Post Comment
Your Answer
Avatar universal
Answer
Do you know how to answer? Tap here to leave your answer...
Answer
Answer
Post Answer
A
A
Neurology Community Resources