ACDF C4-C7 with Bone doner and plates and screws
Hi there - Little background with me, in 1985 I had a full back fusion for scoliosis, herrington rod, wires on top, wires on bottom, hip taken to fuse it together. It is now Nov of 2011 and I finally had my C4-C7 fusion done. Reason for waiting so long - there was no doctor out there that would not just fuse the neck. Every doctor I went to wanted to take out the old fusion (nothing wrong with it) and then fuse C4 - all the way down to S1. That meant permanent disability for the lack to be able to sit. This was unacceptable to me as I have a 6 year old son. Thank you to the powers of knowing someone who is married to an ortho doc for the Navy, because I was referred to Johns Hopkins Good Samaritan, Dr. Jay Khanna. He said there was no need to even touch my previous fusion and he would do the C4-C7 ACDF with donated bone cadiver, plate, and screws. He didn't want to take bone from my other hip. I had the surgery done on Nov 9, 2011, was sent home on Nov 10, 2011 and have only had to take tylenol. I was told very specifically - DO NOT TAKE ANY MEDS THAT CONTAIN NSAID'S OR IBUPROFREN. Reason being - they are anti-inflammatory drugs and prevent the fusion from fusing together. I keep reading about people taking Ibuprofen and Percocet and other things like that - I beg you if you have had this done - don't take those meds. Your fusion will not fuse properly and will most likely give you problems later on. I cannot take oxycodone (which does not contain any of that stuff) because they make me sick, so I used a fentynal patch - and only had to use 1 pacth for the pain when I got home. I am doing my PT as directed and my cervical collar was taken off within 1 1/2 weeks. Next appt is Dec 16 with xrays, but the doc was very addiment to rest. I had my voice when I came out of surgery AND more important - I had full use of my left arm again - no numbness, tingling, pain, AND I can actually unscrew a bottle top now with my left hand. I have been going through this for the past 3 years and just couldn't take the pain anymore. I did everything I could do - pain management, steroid injections, and NOTHING worked - the only thing that kept me going was accupuncture for the 2 months prior to my surgery. Yes it SUCKS sleeping - I haven't found a pillow yet that I can lay on comfortably, but each day gets better. The only problem I am truly having is that I am constantly coughing up crap from my lungs. Waiting until Monday when the doctors office is open so that I can make sure this is normal and not a rejection to the donated bone.
The only thing I have to say to anyone about to go through this - NO SMOKING (it breaks your bones down), and do your research on the surgeon. I was lucky to find the one that I did, plus he is constantly working on grants to improve these kind of surgeries. If the doctor has a CV - READ IT! It will make a difference in knowing your surgeon and what they are capable of doing and have done. Good luck to everyone that may have to go through this. I will post again after my next check up with x-rays. Peace to all!