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Cervical Anterior Laminectomy c5 c6 c7

From: kathryn - on 11/22/2011 12:16pm

I am 3 weeks post op from Cervical Anterior Laminectomy of c5, c6, and c7. A titanium plate and screws were inserted in my neck and the discs were replaced. I am feeling pretty good, but am curious how much range of motion I am going to have after the neck brace doesn't need to be worn anymore. I am afraid I will not be able to drive. Has anyone out there had this surgery and maybe could give me some advice? Thanks.

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on 11/27/2011 8:51pm

my sister had the same surgery.
she didn't have discs replaced.
she is doing very well since.
yes she can only turn her head left to right so far.
but she is able to drive.
just make sure to wear your brace till doc say to stop.
you will be very sore after you stop wearing the brace for a little while.
but give your self time to get stronger.
you will adjust to your limits as time goes on.
i hope the best for you.
hope you heal well.
ray.

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on 11/30/2011 12:25am

I highly suggest you go to physical therapy~ or anything to loosen up your muscles. For about a month after surgery, I wore a neck brace while driving in my car, however it is limiting. I remember sleeping in a reclining chair for about a month too. Post-surgery, I was given a bone growth stimulator because of the cadaver bone used in my C5-C7 fusion.

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on 01/09/2012 1:46pm

I am glad you are feeling better after the surgery. I have c5-c6 disc problem. and my ribs started hurting bad. I was wondering did you had ribs pain before your surgery. Doct says ribs not a common place to hurt for c5-c6 patients. Please give me some info about your pain was.

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on 01/12/2012 3:02pm

I am now ten weeks post-op. I still have not driven, since I do not feel comfortable enough with my head turning left and right. The neck braces both hard and soft are gone, except when I am riding in a car, as per the surgeon. Feeling ok and trying to get myself stronger. I am trying to become accustomed to the limited range of motion I have now after surgery. I did have limits prior, but now I cannot look down enough, making it strange when walking down steps or even something as silly as putting a pillow case on a pillow. I still have some pain in my arms, shoulders and the rear of my neck. Some of the pain is different than before. I cannot tilt my head to the side as if to hold onto a phone without hands. I still have the numbness in my fingers and the tingling in my arms and hands. I still have the muscle spasms in the bicep and forearm muscle. I know that I have some nerve damage, and I am guessing at this point that it's permanent. My herniations were pushing INTO my spinal cord causing some damage. At least the electric shocking pains have subsided when I lift my head up.... not that I can lift if up very much, but there's no pressure on the spinal cord any longer.

As for rib pain, I did not have that. I would think that may have to do with something else.

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on 01/13/2012 1:36am

iam pre op, will probably have same questions, will follow your notes to see your out come. Doc told me 10 days till i would drive iam c6 to c7 and terrified to have procedure. you are 3 weeks and still not driving.i was told id be wearing ridgid brace 4-6 weeks. but can drive in 10 days. but cant even wash my hair can only wash from neck down cant get insision wet 4-6 wks. any advice you might have would be greatly app

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on 01/16/2012 1:00pm

Do not be afraid to drive, your neck will be fine and most of the rotation in your neck coems from the 2 upper most levels. I first had a fusion at C6-C7 and for 7 years had "0" problems, pain, issues. I was then in an accident that collapsed the fusion and the levels above and had to have emergency laminectory at C4-C7 and a year later anterior fusion C4-T1 and yr after that posterior fusion C4-T1. I am very limited in motion but not enough that I can't drive (have to turn my whole upper body on occasion to see better).

Good luck.

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on 01/26/2012 8:40am

I am 7 months out of a Posterior Laminectomy C-3 thru C-7 w/ titanium plate and bone graft.
I had an Anterior Cervical Discectomy C-4 thru C-6 w/ titanium plate and bone graft 5 years ago
The fusion never completed. That's why I had to have the laminectomy.
I have spinal stenosis and Osteoarthritis in every joint. Bone spurs in most.
My neck feels ok although I sometmes get muscle spasms and need to take Flexeril.
I can turn my head more to the left than I can to the right. I use my side mirrors and rearview to back down my driveway.
I have a hard time due to neck rotation and I have to physically turn my body in order to see cars coming from maybe a yield sign.
All in all, I have numbness in my hand and I can't bend my neck either to put a pillow case on or to sit and cut coupons- when my head is down too far I get spasms or pain. My hip hurts the most and I can't stand or walk on it for to too long and most people say this is the hard part. Watch how you extend your arms and don' lift heavy objects just because of the incision on the back of your neck because it may feel like it is pulling apart. This sometimes takes awhile to heal.
I wish you well...take everything slowly...listen to your doctor...take pain meds when you need them...
and don't overdue it. Give yourself time to heal.

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on 01/26/2012 5:25pm

13 weeks have now passed. I did drive a short distance last week. Still not feeling too comfortable. Just holding my arms out onto the steering wheel causes pain and discomfort in my arms, shoulders and neck. Sleeping is still an issue. Having sleep apnea is not helping. Laying on my back is out of the question because of the sleep apnea. Laying on either side cause s pain in my right leg due to additional herniated discs, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and nerve damage in my lower back. I am still experiencing pain, muscle spasms and discomfort in my arms, shoulders and neck. The tingling in my fingers that stopped immediately after surgery has returned full throttle making my entire hands tingle and sometimes as far up as my elbows. My surgeon contributes this to the permanent nerve damage prior to surgery. I am becoming discouraged with things that I can and cannot do, mostly because the cannot do list is much longer now. I am trying to keep positive and patient and trying to let my body heal.

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on 04/14/2012 9:18am

Dear Kathryn, I am about to take desicion for my neck fusion surgery. How do you feel after the surgery. I also have terrible front ribs pain, Did you get any ribs pain before the surgery. Please let me know about it.

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on 04/15/2012 10:13am

Hi roseturk.
I saw your post and wanted to give you a little info as to experience.
You can read my previous posts above.
I am almost 1 year out from my laminectomy and I feel pretty good. I still get alot of pain in my neck and shoulders if I keep my head down too long and get occasional muscle spasms which cause the muscles on each side to get very stiff. The Flexeril loosens them up. Thank God for Flexeril!
I will be honest and tell you from my experience that I did have alot of pain with this one. Especially when they got me up out of bed the 2nd day. They tell you to "log roll" it out but it hurt to pull myself up once they rolled me. It was much easier to have my nurse raise the head of my bed as straight up as it could go then turn my body to get out of bed like you normally would . The other way hurt too much because once they roll you out you have to use the handrail to "push" yourself to a sitting position. Too much strain on neck.
But you just take one day at a time and don't rush your treatment plan! You'll get there soon enough!
Good luck and God bless!

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on 04/16/2012 11:09pm

Dear Kathryn I am glad you are feeling better. But also you mention you are getting neck pain if you keep your head down. So surgery was not a complete relieve from the pain. I feel the pain more at my shoulders and mid back. lately my ribs. I do not know much I could get better after the surgery. Because the fact about getting fusion that most likely other disc will get herniate due to pressure. Thank you very much for information. I am wishing you healthier and happier life.

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on 04/23/2012 9:07am

Hi Roseturk,
Just saw your post and answer to your question is No, I have never had rib pain due to my neck problems. I have had another MRI recently and it showed two more herniated discs (after my surgery). One right above the surgery and one about three discs below. Needless to say I am deeply upset by this, however not surprised. Degenerative Disc Disease is not pleasant, but I never thought that the discs would start herniating right after surgery! I still have pain in my neck, shoulders and arms. The more I use my arms, the more pain I have. My surgery says I should do some physical therapy.... is he kidding? Didn't I just say the more I move my arms the more pain I have? I have found that Flexeril works well in the evening. I don't lift anything over 10 lbs anymore either and I feel this helps. I have accepted that pain will be present and I can live with that. If I can control the pain, I know that I will be ok. I have been driving and feel a little more comfortable and confident with myself. I find that I am much more careful at stop signs and yield signs because I can't rotate my neck left to right as far or as quickly as I would like. But that's ok now. I am getting used to it. That's the great thing about us.... we're adaptable. And I have definitely adapted to my situation. I wish you lots of luck with your surgery and don't give up!

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on 05/21/2012 6:57pm

Hi Everyone. I am looking for answers and hope. Please reply. I am going to have surgery in a few months I have alot of pain in my arm, shoulders tricept forearms, fingers. It's hard for me to write for a long time. I too am going to have a fusion disectomy c5, c6, and c7 or he wants me to read about Corpectomy. I read about how screws might be inserted and am terrified. How long does the pain last after sugery? I can deal with the pain that I am having at home but dont' know how I am going to feel after the surgery. Is it excrutiating or tolerable. My family needs to know as well. Can anyone give me an idea about what kind of pain I will be experiencing. I am terrified but will be a soldier because I need my upper limbs. I don't know what I am getting myself into. Thank you for your responses.

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on 05/22/2012 7:31am

To Lavendar Rose:
I'm not going to lie to you but the first few days after surgery , 6/29/2011, were excrutiating for me for my Posterior Laminectomy (C3-C7) with bone graft, plate and screws. My first surgery 5 years prior was Anterior Discectomy with bone graft , plate and screws. So I have plate in front of my neck and behind it. You can't feel anything in your neck either (plates or screws) lol!
The pain meds helped tremendously! As did the muscle relaxers.
Almost 1 year out from my Laminectomy and I have more pain from hip (bone graft) than from my neck. I do have minor numbness in my right forearm and fingers when I type and I only have pain in my neck if I'm looking down for any length of time.
I can move my head better towards left than right and sometimes I need to turn my whole body in order to back out into traffic or yield signs or any blindspots.
Other than that, I can't complain. Do exactly what your doctor tells you to do and give yourself time to heal! Don't rush it! I was off work for 3 months after my Discectomy.
Ask your doc about using Ibuprofen. I was prescribed it (800mg 3 times a day) for my Osteoarthritis pain from another doc and it has been known to delay healing. My 1st fusion never fused properly after 4 years! My surgeon said it could've been from the use of Ibuprofen.
I was scared to death when that collar 1st came off to shower but guess what? My head never fell off! LOL! I was worried about that!
But you'll get through it! It's only a few months out of your life and you'll be suprised how quickly time flies.
P.S. I did sleep in my recliner for the first 3 months just because it was easier for me to get out of than my bed!
Good luck and God bless!

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on 05/22/2012 8:08am

LavenderRose: I totally agree with MA659, give your body time to heal. I'm 6 months post-op, just starting to feel myself. There are still many things I cannot do or have had to do differently. I did not have a bone graft, so I don't have that pain, but I still have some pain in my shoulders, the burning pain across my shoulders is much better, fingers and hands are still tingling, pain in the biceps and forearms still present. But the good thing is that my spinal cord is free.... before surgery it was being squeezed by the herniations and there was the possibility of paralysis. Now I can relax and not worry about that, just have to deal with the symptoms. I have recently had to repeat the MRI and it showed that I have two new herniations, one above the surgery and one 2 vertebrae below it. This was very disappointing, but I wasn't too surprised. You need to listen to your doctor. The more I tried to move my arms right after surgery, the more pain I had. I, too, had to sleep in a recliner, but was determined not to do this for more than 2 weeks.... and I did. I used a wedge pillow and needed help in and out of bed, but I did manage. Showering was an adventure.... trying to raise my arms to wash my hair was nearly impossible at first, but I managed.... wear clothing easy to put on and take off...... try to be patient..... everyone's body heals at a different rate.... eat healthy and don't panic if food occasionally makes you gag. I was told that gagging and/or a choking feeling is normal.... I still have it and have found that certain foods contribute. I just focus on eating slower and make sure that I chew well. All this information may seem overwhelming, but it will be a relief to you when all these things are going on and you are not surprised and afraid when it happens. Good luck with your surgery!

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on 05/22/2012 12:03pm

Dear Kathryn and MA: Thank you so much for responding. That really has helped me alot! I have one question for both of you though. Before you had your surgery was your neck heavy and weak? I'm wondering if I need my brain screwed instead of my neck with this surgery. The too said If I ever fall I could be paralyzed due to my reverse curvature in my neck and/or in a wheel chair. Please coach me...do you recommend this surgery? Should I take the risk of not doing it? I'll do what you say because you are in it too. I've heard so many things from different doctors saying...trust me..you don't want this surgery! That they have me petrified with my decision to go on with it. I'll definately need another surgery after this right? They said I probably would. One other question...do you know if people live long lives with all these screws in their necks? One more question...do you excersize? I love to go to the gym but am afraid. Thank you so much again for your responses. God Bless You!

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on 05/22/2012 12:04pm

Dear Kathryn and MA: Thank you so much for responding. That really has helped me alot! I have one question for both of you though. Before you had your surgery was your neck heavy and weak? I'm wondering if I need my brain screwed instead of my neck with this surgery. The too said If I ever fall I could be paralyzed due to my reverse curvature in my neck and/or in a wheel chair. Please coach me...do you recommend this surgery? Should I take the risk of not doing it? I'll do what you say because you are in it too. I've heard so many things from different doctors saying...trust me..you don't want this surgery! That they have me petrified with my decision to go on with it. I'll definately need another surgery after this right? They said I probably would. One other question...do you know if people live long lives with all these screws in their necks? One more question...do you excersize? I love to go to the gym but am afraid. Thank you so much again for your responses. God Bless You!

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on 06/30/2012 11:08pm

To all that responded to my posts...thank you! I am two weeks out of my surgery and all I could remember when I took my neck brace off to shower was Kathryn and MA saying...you know what? My head didn't fall off LOL. I survived..piece of cake. Now I am bored out of my mind at home in the summer and feel like I have 5 wool scarfs wrapped around my neck. I do not recommend having this surgery in the summer, but then again...at least I can sit outside during the day for fresh air. When will I start feeling better and will I ever feel better? Have all of you gone back to work? Sometimes I feel like I am disabled because of all the continued pain as I also have back problems. I'm dying to go back to work but feel as though I cannot survive a desk job anymore. Still unsure. Does anyone have any hope for me? By the way, I did not have to sleep in a recliner. With the pain meds they gave me I fell right to sleep even with the collor on. I love to sleep so thank God! To anyone, don't be afraid to take pain meds...that's what they are for! It's 2 weeks and I am starting to taper off already. I think hospitals need to tell patients what to do more. I didn't know I could press that pain button every 7 minutes!!! I was so sleepy and no energy to press! They kick you right out of hospital in 2-3 days!!! Just want my normal life back. Will I ever be normal and healthy again? God Bless You All and hopefully me too!!!

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on 07/27/2012 10:27pm

I just signed up and have been reading all the comments. I have to have Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion on C5-C6. I am really concerned about a fast recovery. I was running a lot before these neck issues. I was told neck brace 3-6 weeks, no driving 3-6 weeks and no running for 3-6 months!
Should I have the surgery or not? Is it worth it? Orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon?

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on 07/28/2012 4:20pm

Don't worry...I am 6 weeks post op. They said I cannot drive for 8 weeks to me. They wanted me to leave the neck brace on for 8 weeks. I feel fine. The first 4 weeks are the hardest..it definately gets better in time as we will not feel normal again for 8 months until it actually fuses. No biggie though...whoever gets this surgery are soldiers and I beleive I am a soldier for this one. Have you seen how people look at you with the neck brace on? It's like they cringe. I did sneak in a few short drives because trust me you go stir crazy. Thank God the mall is literally 3 blocks away from my house!!! I agree don't drive I shouldn't have but I was going crazy staying home 24/7. That's not good. You'll get your range of motion back but won't be able to turn the way we used to especially the way we use to. I'm not sure about the gym...that's something we have to ask the doctors. I wouldn't do anything strenuous for the next year until all is stable. You will be able to drive. Don't be scared. Take your pain pills and rest it's very important! email me if you need any more advise. I'm home too! xoxo

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on 07/29/2012 6:47am

Topcat,I can't make the decison for you as to whether or not to have the Anterior (ACDF) but the pain in my neck and shoulders became so excruciating that I really had no choice.
I am 1 year out post op for a Posterior Cervical Laminectony C3 thru C7 and 6 years for a Cervical Discectomy C3 thru C 6. Bothe surgeries involved titanium plates and an auto bone graft from my hip (which is actually more painful than the ACDF!) and unfortunately, I still have moderate to sever pain especially if I keep my head down for any extended period of time. My right arm and fingers go numb and tingle at times and sometimes I do have a little difficulty swallowing. It's almost like I have to remember how to swallow.
I have extensive Osteoarthritis in most every joint but especially my spine which also has bone spurs and I have Spinal Stenosis as well. I'm in constant pain anyway so I don't know if its from the surgeries or my OA.
I was off work for a little more than 3 months with my ACDF and since that time I have become permanently disabled due to numerous medical issues but mostly for my OA.
Just take it slowly and listen to your doc. I wouldn't recommend strenuous anything until your doc clears you.
Good luck to you and try to see beyond the pain and imagine yourself on the other side of the pain after that first month.
You'll do great! This website helped me see the issues of these surgeries from many different aspects so you know more or less what to expect.

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on 07/29/2012 9:29am

Dear Topcat: Orthopedic Spine Surgeon and Neurosurgeon basically have the same training and education. Neurosurgeon is better. I had mine done by Othopedic Spine Surgeon and was very very happy. Make sure he/she has done these before. Ask...how many? I left my Neurosurgeon because he wasn't helping me and went to Spine Orthopedic Surgeon and am glad I did! Don't worry..I asked the same question before my surgery. You are going to be just fine...it's worth it! It will be a tough 4 weeks...thank god it's warm out vs cold!!!! You can go outside!!! :)

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on 08/22/2013 10:58pm

I am 3 wks. post op on c5 c6 & c7 w/ titanium plates. I WISH I had read up MORE before I chose to have the fusion done!! I am now suffering New Pains & looking for advice on What To Do . I have far more pain between the shoulder blades than before surgery. I'm taking Percocet 10-325 /4-6 hrs as needed for pain, Methocarbamal 750 muscle relaxers /3 times a day as needed for muscle spasms, Valium 5 mg at bed time for Muscle spasms & to help me sleep, & Melatonin 5mg also for sleep. I sleep Very Poorly due to pain. Dr. prescribed Physical therapy but I cannot find any one who takes my Medicaid &/or Medicare. Does anyone know of anything I can do for this HORRIFIC PAIN? I'm praying we all get relief SOON!! Thanks!

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on 08/23/2013 3:30pm

OneWayLarry:
Just read your post and can say that I can totally relate to your pain. My pain after surgery was excruciating and I thought it wouldn't end. Since you are only 3 weeks post surgery, please give your body time to heal. Physical therapy would definitely help you and is worth the inconvenience of finding someone who takes your insurance coverage. Hoping you feeling better soon.

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on 08/23/2013 3:44pm

If only I knew what type of things to do I could do them here at home on my own. The traveling is such a PAIN & Inconvenience. I've been cleared to drive by my Neurosurgeon & only have to wear a soft collar when in the car & for comfort. The only movement restriction I have is tucking my chin to my chest. I lost movement there. Thx for your reply

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on 09/13/2013 6:09am

hi Kathryn,hope you are doing better, i also have multipal disc harniation,and would have ADR surgry in very near future.i want to know that how are you feeling now and how is the recovery.and what was the cost? It would be very helpful for us who are looking for ADR at multi level.thanks dear.

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on 09/18/2013 4:28pm

Vicky Vicky Verma:
Since my neck is not my only source of pain, I wish I could say I was pain-free. For the most part, as long as I don't use my arms and hands too much, I can function during the day. I am lucky to have good health insurance, so my cost was only my hospital deductible ($200) and the co-pay for my doctor visits. Sending you feel better wishes.

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on 09/19/2013 4:14am

Kathryn--thanks for information. Wish you all better in life.good luck :)

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on 09/19/2013 10:37am

To One Way Larry:
I am now 7 years out from my ACDF and a little over 3 years for my Posterior Laminectomy.
I did have alot of pain after both surgeries but the pain meds and muscle relaxers helped.My hip still hurts more from the bone graft than it does from the neck surgeries and I do get pain and numbness in the back of my neck if my head is down too long. But other than that, I feel much better.
If you had a Laminectomy, you will have pain between your shoulder blades for awhile just because those muscles had to be cut open to get to your spinal column.
My doc also told me to go to PT but I can't afford the $40 a visit copay with Medicare.
Just give it time. I promise you it does get better

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