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Hello! I am 49 year-old male and I am about to undergo an anterior cervical discectomy. To be honest, I am frightened. I haven’t had any surgeries before and I don’t know how these things go? Will I be in pain? How long will I have to stay in the hospital? Will I have to change something in my life? Everybody is telling me different stories!

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You do know that recovery and everything else depends on person’s health, attitude, age, etc. You will probably feel some pain after the surgery, almost everybody do, especially at the site of incision. You will be given pain meds to help control that pain. You may also feel numbness and tingling-talk to your doctor about it. You should be guided by your pain in what ever you do. Doctor will give you instructions about activities you should and shouldn’t do, but when ever you feel discomfort, you should stop and rest. You will be also told what would the appropriate diet be and to get a lot of rest in order to speed up the recovery.
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Hello Raske - Hope your surgery went well and you are back to your normal self. I am on day 5 following fusion of C 4/5 5/6 6/7 and I no longer feel like I was hit by an 18-wheeler. Did you have to wear a hard cervical collar after surgery? Any hints on helpful positions in which to try to sleep? I am so tired I am ready to drop. How long did you wear the collar. Was there a point where you only had to wear it during the day and could take it off at night? Thanks for any info, Junebug
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I am a 29 year old female who is 3 months past a fusion at c5/6 c6/7. My Dr. used a steel plate and screws to hold the bones together while they fused. I did not have to wear a collar at all. I did really well until about a week ago when my symptoms suddenly returned. I now have to undergo MRI and testing again to see what is going on. I am really frustrated because I have been ill for quite some time and I thought I was finally going to get better, but I just can't seem to get past this. Has anyone else had to go through this twice so close together? Thanks
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I also am 3 mos. post C4-C5 fusion and experiencing the same thing as you!! I thought I was crazy! I also have had the same surgery at c5-c6 two years ago. I was beginning to feel a lot better, and then about 5 days ago, the pain started in my arm again, this time it is very intense. I am so frustrated about it. Chronic pain is what I want relief from. Constantly taking pain medicine wears me OUT!! Hopefully you won't have to go through another surgery this close together. As for me, my Dr. says that he won't do a three level fusion. He says the best thing for me to do is to wait for the atificial discs to become approved by the FDA and have the implants done. Maybe this could be something you could discuss with your physician. Also, do you have degenerative disc disease? I see where you are 29, I am 33. I say that because it sucks to feel like you're in your 70's at our age.



Good Luck
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BmrSnrOU wrote:

Guest wrote:

I am a 29 year old female who is 3 months past a fusion at c5/6 c6/7. My Dr. used a steel plate and screws to hold the bones together while they fused. I did not have to wear a collar at all. I did really well until about a week ago when my symptoms suddenly returned. I now have to undergo MRI and testing again to see what is going on. I am really frustrated because I have been ill for quite some time and I thought I was finally going to get better, but I just can't seem to get past this. Has anyone else had to go through this twice so close together? Thanks



I also am 3 mos. post C4-C5 fusion and experiencing the same thing as you!! I thought I was crazy! I also have had the same surgery at c5-c6 two years ago. I was beginning to feel a lot better, and then about 5 days ago, the pain started in my arm again, this time it is very intense. I am so frustrated about it. Chronic pain is what I want relief from. Constantly taking pain medicine wears me OUT!! Hopefully you won't have to go through another surgery this close together. As for me, my Dr. says that he won't do a three level fusion. He says the best thing for me to do is to wait for the atificial discs to become approved by the FDA and have the implants done. Maybe this could be something you could discuss with your physician. Also, do you have degenerative disc disease? I see where you are 29, I am 33. I say that because it sucks to feel like you're in your 70's at our age.

Good Luck



Okay, this is my first time to post and I am a little 'lost'. I have never done this before, but hey, I never had back/neck problems before either! I am a 39 yr old healthy female (elementary teacher) & underwent a level 2 anterior cervical discectomy with fusion at C5/6 & C6/7 on 09/05/06. Today is the first day I have been able to check email and search the internet. I feel much better but I still have a tingly sensation in my right upper arm (from too much typing?) and the sore dull pain under my right armpit and across my breast tissue is still there after surgery, but not as intense. I am also experiencing some muscular like pain in between my shoulder blades. But I keep thinking this is only day 6 post op....My doc told me that I have degenerative bone disease and all I want is for someone to tell me what to do so I won't experience this again! I was able to shower & remove the soft collar on day 4. My throat is 'sore' as it feels like I have swallowed a pill and it is stuck down there. Currently, I am wearing an Orthofix Cervical Stim unit (bone stimulator) 4hrs daily and my doc said absolutely NO up/down movement of my neck. I was told to rotate left/right 9-10X daily (and I am doing this with very little stiffness). I am not to lift anything over 5lbs until next visit on Sept 18th in which I hope to have permission to return to work! I am concerned about limitations! I am an extremely active person with three children and would love to start exercising today but I know that for a successful fusion to occur, I must follow orders. Is it really necessary to sit around for another week and do absolutely nothing? It is already driving me crazy! I have tried not to take too much meds post surgery. Doc has ordered Vicadin 550's as needed and riboxin for muscle spasms. I have been so tired and am still not sleeping well so I ditched the meds 2 days ago. It is a trade-off b/c now I feel slight pain but I am not so exhausted...I am scared as I thought I was healthy and I am only 39...will I make it to 70? Any advice?
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Hopefully, when you return back to the doctor on 9/18 things will work out. I just had my surgery on 9/8. I'm experiencing a little arm pain and the shoulder blade pain. Taking vicadin when needed. Having problems sleeping? I don't have a collar....was told to not bend, move head side to side. I'm frustrated and exhausted. Any sleeping advice? I don't get my stiches removed until 9/20. No driving or any activities for 2 weeks.
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I am having surgery on 9/18/06 and in reading all the other posts to the sight it sounds like no one else has to wear a cervical collar for longer than a week. My doctor made it sound like I had to wear one for at least six weeks. Is this just a doctor thing or does the level have something to do with it?
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I am due to have my op next week - reading through all the posts here I am now having second thoughts as it seems the post op pain is far beyond the pain I am experiencing now... I don't want to jump from the frying pain into the fire.

But I also don't want to spend the rest of my life on morphine to kill the pain.

What are your thoughts on this - as it seems 90% of the people posting here are in pain. It would really help to hear some success stories - does anyone have any???????? :-(
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ALMOST PAIN FREE ON DAY 9! I, too, was on morphine (not fun)! I had ACDF with 2 level fusion at c5/c6 & c6/c7 on 09/05/06. Today is day 9 and I feel SO MUCH BETTER! I attribute this great recovery to my skilled & compasionate neurosurgeon, my family, and following dr's orders! I only had to wear a soft collar for 4 days, showered on day 4, and supposedly can drive as of yesterday (but I don't think I want to get into a car just yet). The worst part of the entire ordeal was not the pain prior to surgery but the anxiety 24-48 before surgery. I came extremely close to calling the whole thing off. I kept thinking that the pain wasn't that bad, I could live with it, etc. Boy, do I feel better! On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst pain I would say I was at a 9 and sometimes 10+ prior to surgery and now on day 9 I would say a 2, sometimes a 3. Most of the pain is due to the fact that I am restricted to not move my head up or down AT ALL. I feel a little stiff in the neck and have occasional right elbow pain. Sleeping is not easy, but it was near impossible before the surgery. The most frustrating part is the waiting to heal. I feel great but can't lift anything >5 pounds and absolutely NO CLEANING, etc. I teach elementary school and with 3 of my own children, my life is--no was--hectic. Now, I am literally 'grounded'. Make sure if you go through with it, you have someone to take care of you for atleast the first week post op. Good luck and I wish you the best.
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Thank you (((((timetwofly))))

this is the post i put on another subject but not had any replies -

this is my situation.... since posting i am having a second opinion I know I have got to have surgery its just how to have it done - invasive or keyhole...???

I am due to go in next week for invasive in Spain where I live as an expat - but I have an appointment in the the UK in October with Martin Knight the spinal specialist who had an article in the Daily Mail who does the keyhole and laser.

...........Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:04 am Post subject: Advise of post op symptoms Anterior Cervical Decompression

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I would really like some advice and support as at the moment I am quite scared of the thought of this operation which I am scheduled to have next week.

My name is Tracey-ann 34 married with 2 girls. I have C5-C6-C7 disc prolapse and and my Dr. is doing an anterior procedure using titanium disc replacement to relieve the squashed nerves to alleviate the deadness in my left shoulder arm and numbness in my forefinger and middle finger.

My problem is this - I used to and occassionaly still do suffer from panic attacks and I am concerned that the side effect of not being able to swallow will trigger off a panic attack and in turn aggrevate the incision site and to cause a further bleed therefore causing more complications. I have copied and pasted part of the email sent to my surgeon last night to give you a bit more info into my predicament.

"....This is actually the main factor believe it or not - I am not worried about the actual operation as I feel I can trust you and your capabilty of doing this procedure. But the only thing that is worrying me is because I have or used to have panic attacks which used to result in me feeling as though I couldn't breathe, as if I was choking, and not being able to swallow. The complication which may arise after the operation you mentioned about the swallowing aspect, is there anyway around this - possibly to be sedated after the operation long enough for that feeling to pass.

I am just worried that I will get anxious if I get the feeling of not being able to swallow and that triggers a panic attack in the recovery process and in turn causing damage if I get worked up to the scar tissue area, which could in turn start to bleed and cause further problems.

I may be worrying unnecessary but as you said to contact you if I was at all concerned about anything. Please advise..... "


Can I also ask anyone who has had this operation - how did you feel post op. Did the pain go immediately? Did you have problems swallowing? if so how long did it last? Is the incision site very painful? Did you have any complications if so what did you encounter? Did the incision site get infected and how do you stop it getting infected internally?

Sorry I know there is loads of questions but putting it midly I am absolutely petrified about this op. Is there any need to be?

I am on Nolotil, Enantyum, Omeprazol, Codine Paracetamol, Myolastan and Durogesic Morphine patches at the moment. What pain relief do they give you post op.

Any help would be so appreciated.

Thank you so much
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I had a c-5 c-6 fusion on 8/28/06. Other than a bad reaction to the anesthesia, the worst thing was trying to be comfortable in the plastic collar. I had to wear that for 12 days and now I am in a soft collar. The sensations down my left arm seem to be resolving themselves but now I am having a slight increase in the frequency and the intensity of pain in the back of my neck. Depending on the day and my mood, I float between thinking that this is normal for my recovery (especially because I have started being fairly active during the past week) and the thought that maybe there is something new wrong with my neck. Anyone else have any increased discomfort after they started being active again? Did it go away? How long did it take?
Anyone else's doctor set a lifting limit of 15lbs because I am seeing quite a few people mentioning nothing over 5lbs?
Oh yeah, to anyone thinking of having the surgery, either buy or borrow a recliner because it was the only thing in which I was able to sleep!!!
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Tracy-ann,

My doctor gave me percocet and soma. I hated the percocet so he then gave me some loritab and that worked better.
I had the c-5 c-6 fusion. I had a couple of almost claustrophobic moments when I was trying to go to sleep or when I would wake up in the middle of the night. Sleeping in a recliner and, at least for the first week, not skimping on the pain meds or muscle relaxants and being able to occasionally pull the velcro tab loose (and then put it right back!) worked for me.
Since my pain was not too bad, I tried to not use the pills after the first day (I don't like feeling loopy). I learned that the discomfort from the surgery coupled with the discomfort of the collar was enough to keep me from falling into a deep enough sleep. My frustration from the insomnia left me wanting to rip the collar off in the middle of the night.
Also, I saw my doctor 3 days after the surgery and he took my collar off to check the incision. As long as I kept the collar on, I was allowed to occasionally pull the velcro loose and then readjust it (maybe 10-15 seconds at a time). Having that freedom made all the difference. Ask your doc if you can just pull that velcro occasionally.
My incision sight is great. No infections, no problems. Of course, there was soreness after the surgery but far less than I expected. I was swallowing just fine after surgery but I was not eating anything too solid. The only problem was swallowing pills but I would just pull the velcro loose, take the pill, drink a sip or two of water and the tighten the collar again.
I hope this info helps!
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Cassie

Thank you x x x
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Trace-Ann,

I don't regret having my C 5/6 fuscion. Before surgery, I was going on week 3 with Left side numbness, severe pain...no pain I've ever had before in my life. I couldn't sleep, move...it even hurt my neck to talk at a normal voice. I was whispering... It was awful! It's my 2nd week after surgery and so far so good. Still, having problems sleeping, mainly because you're not allowed to move your head back and forth and limited to side to side. I have no collar. No pain in my left arm, completely gone..but I do get occasional pain around my shoulder blade area and back of neck..exspecially if I sit up start for awhile. Recliner will be your best friend.I've been in it for 4 weeks...I'm really ready for my own bed. I have my post op dr. appt. 9/20. Hope this helps! Good luck.
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