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Hi, a doctor told my mother that the best way to relieve her problem is a cervical fusion surgery. Can you tell me something about this surgery? What are the expectations?

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Hi, I had anterior cervical fusion few years ago. It was necessary, because I had a bad infection. They used my own bone (autograft bone) from the hip. Anterior cervical fusion is successful in 95% cases, and you can have high expectations. But don’t forget that this surgery doesn’t always completely cure the symptoms, but only relieve them. Fortunately, I didn’t have any complications. I did have pain for a while, but it’s normal after the cervical fusion surgery. I heard that chances for complications are higher if you are obese or if you need a large part of the hipbone. Taking out bone graft can be more painful than surgery itself. Believe me, your mother should prepare some strong painkillers.
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I am 12 days postop ACDF (fusion) with iliac crest autograft and titanium plate/screws C5-7. I suffered temporary paralysis (neurapraxia) during a ski fall secondary to occult cervical spinal stenosis. I was discharged at 23 hrs postop, never required IV pain meds postop in the hospital and haven't required any pain meds nor muscle relaxants since day 3/4. The surgical sites are not that discomforting even the iliac crest site. Fusion success rates are slightly higher at 95% with autograft (noncadaver), nonsmokers, nonobese, nondiabetics and there is some animal data that indicates nonsteroidal (ibuprofen, naprosyn, indomethacin) medication use may limit new bone development at the fusion site due to some vascular isssues. Take home message to your Mom- not everyone has a great deal of discomfort even when using autograft (two incisions). Muscle tension in my neck, hoarseness and dysphagia (swallowing discomfort) are nearly all resolved. Good luck.
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