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Throat Problems
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Throat Problems

I have posted in the past and you and your readers have been of great assistance.  On May 3rd. I underwent an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C5-6 level. Allograft fusion was performed supplemented with titanium plating.  I had disc narrowing with disc protrusion compressing the spinal cord on the right side and displacing it posteriorly with stenosis with uncovertebral hypertophy at that level.  I was having numbness and severe neck pain and muscle weakness.

Several weeks after surgery, I noticed I could feel something in my throat.  I don't seem to feel it all of the time, but it is there.  I have had several episodes of choking.  Once I woke up in the middle  of the night choked I have also had a couple of epsiodes of twitching of my left hand. I had none of the problems prior to surgery. This (twitching)has only happened twice, but each time it would last for a couple of hours.  I still have arm weakness on the right side and some shoulder pain.  However, I knew to expect some lingering effects.  I have had arthritis since I was in my 20's and have degenerative disc disease.  I have called my neuro, but have had difficulty getting in.  I should be able to see him in mid November.
He is a great doctor, but extremely over worked.

Questions:

Could the throat problems be related to the surgery?

What could be possible reasons for throat problems if surgically related?

I know you will have to only speculate, since you have not see me or my files and I plan to follow up with my neuro.  I would just like to be a little more informed.  

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Avatar_n_tn
Anterior approach cervical spine surgeries have been known to cause difficulty with swallowing and speaking postop and is said by some reports to be an underreported complication of the surgery.  The exact mechanism is not well known, but the recommendation is to see an ENT specialist for further evaluation. ANother thought is that it cOuld be related to anesthesia and intubation rather than the actual surgery. Rather than a neurologist, talk to your PCP about getting an ENT referral. Good luck.
10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm sorry to take the focus off your question, please don't let this interfere with your getting an answer, I just joined this forum and have been trying for days to post a question and so far haven't had any luck. I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong? Is there a certain time of day I should try? Or is it just pure dumb luck?

Thanks,

Frustrated Sara :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Early morning (like, 6-8 am) or else try daily.  I think the limit is 2 questions per day, so if you see that today's tally (for instance) is 0, then you could probably get your question in.
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Avatar_n_tn
Saragt,
It is difficult to post a question due the limited time the fine doctor has.  If you are unsuccessful in a few days try posting a question the Ask the doctor at www.neurologychannel.com  Best of luck
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a Anterior Cervical C5-6 fusion (titanium) and plating almost a month ago.

I was unable to swallow solids for two weeks; only about 20% of what I said could me understood.  Had an x-ray to make sure the screws had not moved and they had not.

Had two falls on concrete two weeks after surgery.

I have been on flexeril for neck spasms since the surgery.

My neurosurgeon has been out of town and I will see him this Friday.  He has suggested a swallowing test but this doesn't make much sense since we know I have trouble swallowing.

It seems to me that my trachea and esophagus were injured either my the intubation tube or the surgery and only time will tell the outcome.

If anyone has seen an ENT I would sure like to know what they can do that would be helpful; rather than purely diagnostic.

Thank you!
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Avatar_n_tn
I had an ACF with bonegraft C5-6 last June and was extremely hoarse for over 6 weeks, I was convinced my laryngeal nerve was damaged or that my esophagus was somehow damaged. I was at the point of seeing an ENT when I happened to bump into one on the street and asked what could be the problem. He mentioned that sometimes people have silent reflux problems that don't usually cause problems, but if you already have irritation there, it won't get any better because of the reflux. He gave me a trial of Prilosec and would you believe the next morning I woke up and could talk normally!! It was amazing! That may not be your problem I know but thought I'd share that. As far as the swallowing study goes, I think it would help because the actually xray your throat as you swallow a barium type liquid and they can visualize exactly where the problem lies in the esophagus. This can help determine if you have damage to any of those areas.  I wish you well, let us know what they find.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your response!

I take Nexium everyday because I have been on prednisone for ten years for auto-immune disease.  I don't have gastric reflex but your idea was a good one.

My neurosurgeon wanted me to go off steroids and off chemo but my sed rate was too high.

About four nights ago I had a loud grinding sound on the left side of my neck.  The left side was where the problem was
pre-op. This happened while I was going from a lying down to a sitting position.  Since then I have pain on both sides of my neck - with the grinding sounds only occuring on the left side.

I see my neurosurgeon in a couple of hours and will let you know what he says.

I sure do appreciate your posting.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Saw my neurosurgeon and he said that because of 10 years on prednisone and chemo my healing is very slow.  Needless to say, the two falls did not help!

Neuro said it would take another two months for symptoms to subside.  Had a normal cervical x-ray which was normal and this is very encouraging. :)
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Avatar_n_tn
So glad to hear that he gave a positive response to you today! It is encouraging to hear that there is a real reason for your symptoms and that it will improve. It makes alot of sense too, that is an awful long time to be on prednisone. I wish you the best in your recovery!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have never had surgery. I have degenerative disc disease, discs c3 through c7 all bulging and degenerated as well. Additionally, C7/T1 is shallow nuclear herniation.Have degenerations and herniations elsewhere in thoracic and lumbar too.  After several exacerbations since last MRI including hitting head causing neck compression and most recently a fall onto hands and knees very hard have increased symptoms everywhere including crushing pain in chest, pain numbness in arms hands and pain in knees, not sure if this is all coming from lower back or upper back or both. I think both. Knees and hands feel like been jammed up into spine. Will have to wait until November for films! In the interim, the reason for posting in this forum:
         Tonight had PAIN in throat! Felt like a lump in throat, but painful and seemed to be related to the increased pressure and pain I've had in neck. Difficulty breathing temporarily. Almost called ambulance. Subsided. I have not had surgery, so coudl this be a pressed nerve?! Help.
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