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cervical fusions

Started by kyleishei on 03/15/2011 7:23pm

I AM SCHEDULED TO HAVE CERVICAL FUSIONS ON MY NECK I ALREADY HAD 2 INJECTIONS IN THE AREA NO RELIEF. I ALSO HAVE RUPTURED LUMBAR DISCS WHICH WILL BE DONE AT A LATER TIME. IS THERE ANYONE THAT CAN TELL ME ABOUT THE NECK PROCEDURE AND WHY DO THEY GO THROUGH THE FRONT AND HOW LONG ARE YOU IN THE HOSPITAL.
THANK YOU

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Hi, have you considered artifical disc replacement? If this does not work then you can have fusion afterwards. It may be a possibility for you?

The procedure, you are in hospital for 2-3 days. They go through the front so as to not touch the spinal cord.

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I had this surgery done last year, May 2010. Was in the hospital two days, they had to remove some bone spurs in the C5-C6, C6-C7 area. They removed the discs which were gone between those vertebrae and fused those together. Put in two plates, 8 screws. Had to wear a neck brace for about 6 weeks. Returned to work after 8 weeks. 10 months later, still having pain though not as bad in the shoulder/neck area. Advised I have Degenerative Disc Disease. Learning to live with it. Good luck!

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I had a level-3 (C4/C5, C5/C6, and C6/C7) ACDF with instrumentation about 15 weeks ago. I had severe stenosis in that area and suffered from headaches and occasional arm numbness. PEEK was used instead of donor bone because my physician said fusion results were similar. I now have a titanium plate with 8 screws (2 screws in each of C4/C5/C6/C7). I am 57 and in reasonable shape (not an athlete by any means). My surgery was at 8:30am and I went home that same day at 4pm. I had a suction drain near the incision in my neck for about 3 days ( I would recommend a drain to anyone having this surgery as it helps keep swelling down).

Post surgery, the most pain I had was in my upper back/shoulder area where the muscles were stretched as the spaces between the C4, C5, C6 and C7 vertebra were increased and the natural curve of my C-spine was restored, however this pain was tolerable and although pain meds were prescribed, I only took them for 2 days then went to tylenol. The other big issue was swallowing. Because they go in from the front, they have to push your esophagus and trachea over to the side to get at the spine. This is very stressful to these structures and after surgery you will find it very difficult to swallow. My difficulty swallowing made me not even want to eat (or even take pills). I survived on liquids, and small amounts of pudding, jello and soup for five days and lost over 10 pounds. However after the 1st week the swallowing became much easier and I quicky gained back those 10 pounds :-(

I have a computer job and was able to drive and go back to work 1 week after surgery. I wore a soft collar for 6 weeks. After 4 weeks I went for physical therapy where I learned some neck strengthening exercises that use the arms to exercise the core neck muscles. I also did a lot of walking (treadmill) and biking (stationary bike). I 'mostly' obeyed the Dr's orders to take it easy, but found myself doing light work around the house. I did have episodes where the muscles in the back of my neck felt like they were tight and have noticed some strange clicks and pops when moving my neck. At times I even found myself getting a bit depressed by the slow recovery, but then realized I needed to be patient.

My advice to anyone having this surgery is keep a positive mental outlook about recovering. Keep active, stick to an exercise schedule religiously (even when you don't feel like it) and seek physical therapy. Don't get dependent on pain meds. Use them judiciously when symptoms require or for sleep and try to use tylenol when possible. Try not to get depressed - there will definitely be ups and downs throughout the recovery process, but I've found that after being in discomfort for a week or two that I feel amazingly better the next - at times I even forget that I've had this surgery. And so I'm still recovering and getting use to the new limitations.

Regarding your lumbar disc... One of my good friends had suffered from back and leg pain for years and injections were not as effective as they once were, so he decided to have surgery (around the time I had my ACDF). He had difficulty sitting for a number of weeks but now he kicks himself for not having the surgery sooner because he no longer has the pain he had before.

Choose a good surgeon. I think this can make all the difference in outcomes. Good luck with your surgery. I hope all goes well.

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Hi, I have posted about my c5-c7 fusion and I personaly have had problems going back to work since. If your job has a heavy physical element to it, stay out as long as possible. I think I set myself back by going back at 6 weeks. I was doing well until I went back to my job which is labor intense. I am a rural mail carrier and I stand for aprox. 4hrs and deliver for about 4 hrs. This takes alot of arm and neck movement along with lifting and twisting. I now cannot drive, lift, or use my arms alot without some muscle spasms. My lower back is now giving me more problems. Take as much time as you can.

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Just recently MRI shows that I have a prolapsed disc between C3-C4. i have numbness on both hands for more than 4 months now. The doc said I have to go for operation where he recommended to remove the disc and will fix some kind of metal thing as replacement. I was told that risk definitely there. I have not make my decision yet but for the time being I am doing hydrotherapy. I will see how it progress in a month time and only I decide.

Our problem more or less are same. I just try to find alternative before go for the operation. Hope your fusion will successful. GOD bless you!.

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