should I have ACDF C4-5,C5-6,C6-7

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SKZ (not verified)
Title: Member
Butterflye: I had a C5-7

Butterflye:
I had a C5-7 ACDF in Jan. of 2007. I went thru 5 years of a nightmare with my neck. I tried everything and ended up doing the fusion anyway. Personally, My range of motion is not bad. Side to side is pretty good. The only issue I have that is significant is that looking up is bad. I had to get a sinus CT scan and I was on my stomach with my head back somewhat. That took me a month to get over. But seriously, how often do you look up. I am finding its not that inconvenient. (on July 4th I lie down and watch the fireworks. heh). And I skip Planetariums now. I dont know what adding that extra level would do. I can still back out of a parking spot and do OK. I dont love it but its very do-able.

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schizophasia (not verified)
Title: Member
ACDF 4-5 5-6 6-7

Hi. I had this exact operation on 8/24/2007. Today, 9/11/08 I am celebrating. Today I was released from my Aspen Collar (yes, over a year!)my electronic bone stimulator and have full permission to start exercising doing whatever I want as long as I start slowly.
I am 60 and generally in excellent health with no underlying diseases.
My reason for the surgery was different from yours. I had fallen and landed face first from a third step. But the actual surgery is the same. The surgery post-op was a breeze for me but I went into the operation paralyzed in three limbs as I had punctured my spinal cord at c6. Mine was life threatening. The doctors @ the University med cntr said I had a 15% chance of recovering. I was so excited to be able to move my limbs post-op that I vowed I would be very pro-active about the recovery. I suffered severe burning searing pain (and complete numbness)on the last three fingers of both hands, up the outside of my arms into the armpits.

They used my hipbone for c4/5 and a cadaver knee cap to replace two discs and a vertebra which had shattered. So I am complete knee cap from C5 to C7. I have a titanium plate C4-C7.
Hipbone fused by 6 months and kneecap by 13 months (non-union issues for which I requested an Rx for a bone stimulator).
As I said, compared to the nerve pain in hand/fingers/arms, the surgery was a breeze.

I cannot advise whether to have or not have surgery. All I can say is that for me having an abdominal hysterectomy was way more painful.
Spinal fusion? Bit of morphine the first day. Yummy old Vicodin for a couple of weeks after that. Dr kept asking me "how does your hip feel?" I answered him that it felt like I had bumped it hard on a doorknob. Not an iota of neck pain either before or after the operation (except the op site for a couple of days)
I continue on Neurontin for the nerve pain but it IS better and the sensation to my hands is nearly 70% of normal. I am patient. I WILL recover completely.

I must be a tough old broad but I am grateful to be alive.

Don't be afraid! Trust that it will work and concentrate on how well you will feel afterward. Start now. Once you make the decision you can use all that energy in thinking how you can use it to recover.

p.s. As a nice bonus I dropped 23 lbs! Now I am 60, skinny and saggy.

dhoward (not verified)
Title: Member
anyone in new york???

anyone in new york?

judyb
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Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/04/2010 - 10:19pm
I just had ACDF & diskectomy C4, 5 & 6

Anonymous wrote:
Been having neck issues for years did MRI in Feb 08, it showed moderate canal to severe right neural foraminal stenosis on the above mentioned levels,disc bulging etc and straightening of the neck. Waiting Got a 2nd opinion and was advised need multilevel fusion. Worried

I am 42 female. I dont have constant pain , but for the past 2 months my right thumb is completely numb and my arm has the falling asleep feeling 24/7 verry annoying, tinglin , numbness and shoulder pain. I wanted to know if I don't do the surgery or if I keep prolonging it will I get worse? I asked to have just a 1 level done (C5-6) which looks the worst on MRI, but the Neurosurgeon said that that would be bad because the other disc will wear off also.

Will I have no movement in my neck at all with a 3 level fusion? And does bone grafting really hurt that bad? Pleaaaase help I am really scared. Worried Anyone who had succesfull multilevel ACDF Pleeease respond.

Thanks

judyb
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Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/04/2010 - 10:19pm
Just had surgery for ACDF & diskectomy C4,5 & 6 with Myelopathy

Had spinal stenosis with 2 level fusion using allografts (cadaver). I live in the Denver area and had an ACDF & diskectomy on July 8th, 2010. They also repaired a slipped vertibra which I hear is common. It is almost 3 months post op and I have NO pain now. Before surgery, I was in pain every day mostly due to the myelopathy. I had stabbing pain in my R thumb joint, stifness & numbness in both hands & tingling from fingers to shoulder on R arm. I had trouble walking due to the myelophathy with constant pain from hips to toes. Went to a Denver surgeon who specialized in the cervical spine. I did not consume caffeine or smoke upon agreeing to surgery. I smoke about 2 packs of cigarettes per year. My weight is within normal range. I walked constantly after surgery as directed which accelerated my healing. My fusion took place in less than 3 months. You will have 6 weeks to get mobility back after surgery according to my phys therapist. You can get some back later but it would be much harder to do. Phys therapist said I will get back 60 to 70% of my normal range since it was a 2 level fusion. 3 level fusions would obviously get back a little less movement. This surgery is necessary once you get hand or leg symptoms because it will slow down the progression of degeneration in spine. Phys therapist & doc says most people have some pain left after surgery so I am the exception. The healing process takes time but I would do it again. Be sure to get 2 opinions & choose your surgeon carefully. I feel great & am not healing fast. I would go to someone who specializes in the cervical spine & has a high success rate. I will be glad to answer questions for anyone who has similar cervical spine issues about my own experience.
Good luck to you if we do not chat.

judyb
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Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
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Joined: 10/04/2010 - 10:19pm
Have heard about bone grafting but I had allograft

I am 5'3" and petite, my doc said he could not do a bone graft due to my size. Said my pants would rub on my hip and cause pain so he did an allograft on me. Bone grafting is usually done since the fusion has a tendency to heal better than an allograft but my fusion took place & my surgeon said you could not tell that it was not a bone graft. I am probably the exception. Some people who have had recent surgeries have told me that they can feel the spot of the bone graft but I am told that the discomfort goes away in time. I am not sure if this helped at all but thought you might want to hear about my experience.
Good luck to you.

Anonymous wrote:
Been having neck issues for years did MRI in Feb 08, it showed moderate canal to severe right neural foraminal stenosis on the above mentioned levels,disc bulging etc and straightening of the neck. Waiting Got a 2nd opinion and was advised need multilevel fusion. Worried

I am 42 female. I dont have constant pain , but for the past 2 months my right thumb is completely numb and my arm has the falling asleep feeling 24/7 verry annoying, tinglin , numbness and shoulder pain. I wanted to know if I don't do the surgery or if I keep prolonging it will I get worse? I asked to have just a 1 level done (C5-6) which looks the worst on MRI, but the Neurosurgeon said that that would be bad because the other disc will wear off also.

Will I have no movement in my neck at all with a 3 level fusion? And does bone grafting really hurt that bad? Pleaaaase help I am really scared. Worried Anyone who had succesfull multilevel ACDF Pleeease respond.

Thanks

Aviatrix36440
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Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/29/2009 - 10:35pm
Graph

Judy,

Howdy! I've had 2 cervical fusions, and more to come. As a smoker I've "offered" to allow them to take from my hip, and the answer I've gotten is that "now a days, there is virtually no difference in fusion rates with the quality of the graphs they use now." Before this last surgery, and new meds, I was petite, and too 5'3"...:)

Brenda

PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

judyb
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Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
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Joined: 10/04/2010 - 10:19pm
Hi Brenda

I am sorry to hear that you had two fusions already. Our docs just disagree. There are many opinions out there so people just need to decide what they feel comfortable with. I saw one surgeon who did not have his patients wear collars. He said that his colleagues agree that it would not make a difference in the outcome. I heard that he was one of the best surgeons in our area. However, I decided to go to someone more conservative. I am sure that every person is different regarding bone graphs too. I am curious, did your fusions eliminate all of your pain? If not, what percentage of pain do you have? I am told that it takes 18 months before a final determination can be made about the outcome. I am pain free at this point but will wait to see if anything comes up. After all, I am not even 3 months postop.

Thanks Angel

Judy

judyb
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Last seen: 5 years 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/04/2010 - 10:19pm
Hi Brenda

I am sorry to hear that you had two fusions already. Our docs just disagree. There are many opinions out there so people just need to decide what they feel comfortable with. I saw one surgeon who did not have his patients wear collars. He said that his colleagues agree that it would not make a difference in the outcome. I heard that he was one of the best surgeons in our area. However, I decided to go to someone more conservative. I am sure that every person is different regarding bone graphs too. I am curious, did your fusions eliminate all of your pain? If not, what percentage of pain do you have? I am told that it takes 18 months before a final determination can be made about the outcome. I am pain free at this point but will wait to see if anything comes up. After all, I am not even 3 months postop.

Thanks Angel

Judy

Aviatrix36440
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Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/29/2009 - 10:35pm
Howdy Judy! :)

You're so right about different doctors, and too different methods to hopefully get to the same 'end game.' Smile

My first fusion I was 100% pain free when I woke up! I actually cried in the recovery room! I was moving my arm around pain free - before the surgery even lifting my arm up 45 degrees - sering pain all through it. Neck pain, shoulder pain, was all gone - hence the tears. Heck, the nurse came running over asking if I needed medication for the pain I was obviously (to her) in. I told her, no, no pain, just happy tears!

My second (adjacent level failure) neck fusion was not as good. I woke up and most of the pain was gone, but the weakness, and numbness was still there. I seemed to be getting some of my strength back by around week 5, but by week 7 lost it all. They did an MRI, but 8 weeks out of surgery, I still had a lot of swelling there. Most of all my pains and weakness came back around month 6 to include losing my voice. X-rays showed the bone between the fusions cracked, and my ENT confirmed that area is now moving.

So, I am kinda back before square 1. Next week I am back with my GP (I decided to start over with new Neurologists and surgeon) to get all the testing redone, MRI's, X-rays etc. I'm gonna ask for a 3D CT scan as well. If I hadn't had the next level fail, I believe I would still be pain free as I was after my first fusion. I had almost forgotten I had spinal surgery until the level went. I hope you continue along with the great results you are experiencing. Adjacent level isn't that common, I just pulled the short straw I guess! (G)

If I can help in any way, just ask away. Smile I know if I don't have the answer, someone on here probably will. Congratulatory *HUGZ* on your progress!!!

Brenda

PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

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