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I am scheduled to have anterior cervical discectomy with fusion at c5-c6 for ruptured disc with right sided radiculopathy (due to auto accident not DDD) and I am wondering if anyone else has had this surgery and is glad that they did. I have been in constant pain for 6 months (right side of neck, right upper back, right shoulder, right arm, right hand and lower right side of face dull ache, constant burning, intermitant pins/needles), also some right arm weakness. I have has physical therapy, cervical traction, medications, 2 cervical epidural steroid injections and I still hurt. However, after reading what a lot of people have posted about this surgery I am thinking of cancelling it because I am afraid that I will be in even worse condition after the surgery. I would like to hear of some people that had this surgery with positive results, if there are any. Thanks

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I had this operation in 2008, April.
one year later im not 100% but ive a fraction of the problems I had with the herniated disk.
My advice is see a Neurologist, see three neurosurgeons, dont tell any of them what the others said, let them tell you everything before you ask questions.
Only answer what they ask, dont volunteer information.
In this way you will know.
the truth is you will NEVER be the same as you were before, BUT you will be better than you are now.
If a neurosurgeon makes promises of a return to normal, hes a charlatan.
however, i had the operation, ive had problems afterwards but more caused by my pyysiology than anything else, im glad I did it but ive had to accept a changed lifestyle and capabilities.
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Hi,
I'm having essentially the same symptoms as you are, but on the left side. Because of my MRI, I'm scheduled for a multi-site ACDF in one week. After doing a lot of research and talking to others who've had the same surgery, I have to agree with the previous post. I don't think either one of us can expect to be like we were before disc degeneration/herniation, but I expect relief from the pain and numbness. After all, nerve damage does become permanent over time. What I'm worried most about is the recovery. I've seen many posts with people who took months to get back a semblance of normalcy and others the who were up and about in weeks. I think much may depend on:

1) Whether you are overweight or not and how overweight you are
2) Whether or not you a smoker
3) How active you were before the Surgery
4) Age
5) The competency of the Surgeon

Being very overweight and being a smoker can both cause complications to both the effectiveness of the surgery and the recovery period, or so I've read. If you have managed to stay even moderately active, despite the pain and discomfort this should help with your bodies ability to recover. The same is true of Age; the older you are, the longer it will probably take to recover. Obviously, you want a surgeon who is experienced at doing this type of surgery and has a good recovery rate.

Best of Luck to you!
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Hi, I too am scheduled for 2 level acdf (c4-5-6) in June. I have had all the same symptoms and have tried all of the conservative treatments to no avail. At 1st my orthopeadist was just going to do c 4-5 but ordered a discogram (NOT a fun procedure to say the least) done to be sure of disc stability above and below symptom area that showed on x-ray and MRI. Discogram showed a severe annular tear in c5-6, so he decided to go with 2 level fusion there also as when a disc is removed it puts extra stress on the others below it since they carry the extra load. I also got a 2nd and even a 3rd opinion and they all concurred. My primary phys told me recovery depends on several things, most notably your general health, smoking (smokers average 40% less fusion rate than nonsmokers), obesity, and adhering to your doctor's orders (laughed as he said that). Choosing a reputable surgeon and checking his/her background info is also a must. Being scared and worried is a natural reaction, however if we try to keep a positive attitude and confident that "it'll all work out fine in the end" I truely believe we'll be ok.

Good luck and God bless! ;-)
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I had C5-C6 Disectomy with fusion using a titanium disc on 1st June 09.
I had same symptoms as you and a few others to mention. I am alot better than I was. But still have some issues that have not been resolved. But on the whole it was definitely worth having it done.
I will most likely have to have two more levels done at a later date. I will not think twice about having it done again. It was definitely worth it. ALthough I know I will never 100% be the same as before my accident.
Mine was due to a car accident and I am in my early 30's.

I too read many posts on the internet and there where so many bad stories. You need to think about it. Listen to your neurosurgeon.
It is such a shame that all the postitive outcomes don't add to these forums.

Good Luck!!!!!
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https://www.steadyhealth.com/2_Level_ADCF__C5_and_C6_My_Account_no_stories

The best advise you can give is to believe only half of the stories out here. Some might be 100% honest, but my surgical nurse said it best, "you would be surprized about how many people that say they are in so much pain that you need to ask one question, are you on worker's compensation or on short term disability?"

Take care, Tom
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I really enjoy that link that you pointed me to. Thanks for linking it. I'm not entirely sure if I get what the surgical nurse meant by that though. Can you tell me what that means?
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I had C5C6 fusion at McBrides Orthopedic Hospital OKC on May 8. Due to prexisting Bronchitis I stayed in Hospital until May 13. My surgeon is Dr Winston Fong. Recommend him 100% He has done Over 1000 such operations. Am wearing a cervical collar to keep from side to side motion from happening. Return visit 27 Oct .
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DONT CANCEL THE SURGERY. Yeah you might feel worse--thats a risk you take with any surgery, but the odds are you will do great. Neck surgery always works out much better than back surgery. You've already said how misearable you've been, why go through that the rest of your life? I had c4/5, c5/6 fused in 1993. I was so terrified, but I was dropping things with my left arm, and it felt like it was asleep all the time. I almost chickened out a few times. I went for it and the minute I woke up in the recovery room, my arm felt normal for the first time in months. No sleepy feeling, no pins and needles, I could make a fist, I could feel my fingers, it was awesome.

I think you will find that if you cancel it you will regret it for the rest of your life. If you go through with it and you feel lousy post op, you didnt lose anything, but at least you took a shot at getting better.

Just my .02

Later
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They asked if you were on workers comp or getting a settlement because of "compensationitis". most doc's wont treat workers comp or cases in litigation for the following reason:

The patient magically gets better when they get their settlement. Its sad especially for the legit person, but enough bad apples have created this monster.

***edited by moderator*** web addresses not allowed
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Oh, that's really unfortunate to hear. I didn't realize that so many people abused the system like that. Were they still able to treat you? I didn't think you said you were on any sort of compensation but just want to make sure you got proper treatment! :)
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Hello,

I too am facing multiple ACDF surgery on November 13, 09.

I have listed my whole story and symptoms leading me to this procedure under the topic here on this steady health site: "What to expect from anterior cervical discectomy and fusion?" Tips?

Hope it helps anyone out there who have these symtoms and are considering the surgery, For me, it's my ONLY option at this point and I am expecting severe nerve damage even after the surgery since my condition has gone on for so long from DDD, spondylitis, stenosis, osteophytes, osteoarthritis with double herniated discs in my neck and back.

Check out my post if you'd like more info about my case. Good luck to all. ;-)

Thanks!
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I have now had the surgery twice. Once in 1992, c4/5, c5/6 and wednesday 11/4, c3/4. I feel so much better, c3/4 turns out was calcified and putting tremendous pressure on my cord (which could be seen via mri) but the extent and the amount of pressure were not fully appreciated until the surgeon got it out. I feel a little rough right now, 3 days post op, my neck hurts, but no more arm pain, my legs and arms/hands are lots stronger, so yippee. I'm glad its over.
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Hi mtsaz100,

Glad to hear that your surgery went well for you. Mine is coming up fast, 5 days away and I'm honestly terrified! I see that you had the same discs as mine in your prior surgery. Can you tell me how that one went for you? Like the swelling and swallowing issues and if you had pain in your neck or shoulders?

I'm afraid I will have the permanent nerve damage in my particular situation and am worried about still having this extreme neck pain on the sides and back of my neck and in my upper shoulder blades. I feel like someone has a vice grip on my shoulders and it's getting tighter everday. I feel the need to stretch my neck so bad to try to relieve the pressure and tightness in all those muscles but it doesn't work when I try. :'(

I'm assuming that you had C3-4 done because of the domino effect where adjacent levels can and eventually and do collapse from prior surgery at that level and the fact that they are compensating for the other levels that were bad. I've read that this is very common in all areas of spine surgery. I'm trying not to think about that happening to me and just focusing on getting through this first surgery and hoping that I will have a positive report about it. 8-|

Everyday that goes by to my surgery date, I'm getting more stressed and freaked out about it. I'll be glad when mine is finally over too, if I don't totally panic, jump off the op bed and run for my life!! LOL!
Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated as any kind of comfort at this point will help me realize that I'll be o.k. and get through it and hopefully, not regret it!

Thanks!
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You are right, I did have c3/4 due to the "domino effect" or adjacent segment disease as its officially called. Just go into it, and I promise you will feel much better. The first few days suck, but each day is much better. I'm now after 6 days better than I was preop as far as pain goes. Just go for it, make sure you have a competent surgeon, and do it. Talk to him or her about your fears and let them reassure you. Let them know why you are frightened. I did that and got great support. I couldn't stand the pain preop. I was on a ton of oxycontin and methadone, and frankly it just made it barely tolerable. I'm on lots of dilaudid for post op pain, but in a few days I wont need it. I'll go back to the methadone/oxy and then start tapering. Keep me posted. Hang in there. Its not as bad as you think with the new plating and bone bank. Its slick actually.
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