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Hello out there!
I have been told by my neurosurgeon that I need a ACDF (c 4,5,6). I have a couple of questions and would appreciate any insights or ideas that people could offer me.

First-I notice in other posts that some people have access to the "rankings" and outcomes of their surgeons. How does one go about researching a surgeon? I like my guy, but am curious about his success record. I am also looking into getting a second opinion, and would like to seek out someone with a great "ranking" to compare to this guy.

Also...I drive all day in my job. How long should I expect to be off work? My surgeon was hesitant to commit, but stated that two months off work would be quite sufficient. Is this realistic? I want to be fully functional when I go back. I have to either work at full capacity or not at all. I am interested if people think that two months is realistic. I can take up to four months, and am leaning toward requesting three to be safe.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide!
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JLC

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Hi JLC,
I am a person who is going through the same thing you are and a medical professional. I would just say a good start is to find the best medical facility in your area (probably the one(s) that has affiliation with a well known medical school). Then search their website(s) to see which of their neurosurgeons specialize in spine surgery and how long they have been doing it. You could find a couple docs this way. Word of mouth is always good from patients who have been through this sort of thing of course. I tend to like a doc who is repected by both his peers and his patients. I am not working in my field right now. I work in hospital admininstration so I had to find my doc the same way. I looked a couple docs up on our intranet, looked at their education and such. Then when I called the receptionist recommended him specifically. I just saw my neurosurg last week. He told me I'd be in the hospital for one day. He did not define for me how long I'd be at home but said I'd be on light duty about 6-12 weeks. Not a problem since my job is light duty. The problem I am having is getting a clearer picture of the risks and benefit of having it done %-) . I hear people saying they still have pain and numbness sometimes more after being fixed, with no medical explanation of why (presumable scarring). So for me the only reason to have it done is to prevent the possibility that I may become paralyzed, or have worsening symptoms in the future. I don't know. I got some info from peer reviewed articles on the web. (Be careful) I also want to talk to a post operative patient of the surgeon who is doing me. I have already talked to a friend of mine who had this same procedure about 10 years ago using her own bone from the hip. She says I need to do it it's not that bad. I am headed for a second opinion for sure ! Man, this is a WHOLE lot to consider and deal with and the rest of life is going on too! Just hold on to your pants ;-)
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Hi there,

Just wanted to share my experience regarding anterior cervical disectomy fusion and plating c3-c7. Its been 5weeks and I am experiencing a different kind of pain on the back of my head going down to my shoulder blades. I am glad that the surgery was a success and my surgeon was glad I chose all levels as c5 and c6 were literally dangling. Just advising that please research in choosing your surgeon and make sure they have great reviews and positive feedback from patients. I had mine done at the UCSF Spine Center in California. I am told by my surgeon that recovery will take 12-18months as it was an intense surgery. They did the cadaver bone grafting and plating with screws. I am going thru intense pain and I am taking Lyrica for nerve pain. I wish you success in finding the right and experienced doctor and having a successful surgery. Please don't prolong experiencing intense pain like I did for 4-5 yrs forcing myself to go to work and trying to function. I hope and pray for your success and keep me posted of your outcome. All the very best and take care..
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This surgery is the best thing I could have done for myself. Go with your gut, choose a good neuro, and get it done. I have no arm, upper back or hand pain now. Prior to surgery, I was seriously ready to amputate my arm. The pain was unbearable and I was miserable. I do not regret it. I am 16 days post op. It's acutally a pretty easy surgery for a neuro. I you tubed it and watched it. Of course, I'm a nurse and needed to know everything, lol. Good luck!
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