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7.5 month post ACDF C6-C7 surgery ongoing issues Scared

Had ACDF C6-C7 surgery May 5th. I'm still having discomfort in my neck, between my shoulder blades, my right arm, and my right leg. Muscle weakness in my whole right side. Can't do much without discomfort. Walking or standing for a period of time causes my right leg to swell. Was going to physical therapy, but stopped for now. The physical therapist said things are definitely messed up. Had an appointment with the neurosurgeon on 12-19. He said many people with the severity of the herniation I had only get back to 70%. I was at a high risk for paralysis. He has ordered another MRI of my cervical spine to make sure I do not have another herniated disk and x-rays to make sure my fusion is healing properly. I will have my tests done 12-26 and see the neurosurgeon on 1-2-18. I'm scared that I will have to have another surgery. Does anyone still have ongoing issues like these this far out from surgery?



  • Slh I’m 3 years post OP from C-5 through C-7 ( unsuccessful fusion) and still going through. Most of the pre OP symptoms, plus as a added bonus, symptoms I didn’t have pre OP. Hang in there, ! Some will improve, others will remain but you kinda get used to it. Everyday is a different day!

  • David G thank you for your comment. I know I will never be 100% and have my good days and bad days. Sorry you are having to live with so much discomfort. Just had another MRI and x-rays on 12-26 and will get my full results when I see the neurosurgeon on 1-2-18. I received partial results of no new herniation, but C5-C6 central right protrusion similar in size and appearance from previous exam. That brings up lots of questions for the doctor, because I was never told my previous MRI back at the end of April showed anything at that level. Only was told of the severe herniation at C6-C7 where the disc was replaced and fusion is. Thinking that if the doctor had seen something then he would have fixed it at that time. I came to terms a few months ago that I will always have the myelopathy, muscle weakness, and not full motion in my right arm. I just need more answers for the discomfort I still get in my neck from doing anything. Even when the physical therapist was massaging my whole right shoulder area and upper arm it was very tender and she was barely touching me. Guess the C5-C6 protrusion kind of answers that. I'm really hoping I won't need to have another surgery and there is another treatment to help fix it before it gets worse.

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  • Slh76, Even though mine was unsuccessful, I’ve accepted what I’ve got and my future. I know once the hardware starts coming apart, then they’ll do a posterior fusion of C-4 through C-8 and then I’ll deal with that when the time comes. Yes, it’s affected some quality of life but I’m not ready to give up yet! Life is to short as it is already! Everyone of us deal with this differently, I use my faith! I use my wife as a inspiration not to let her down, Yes I hurt 24/7 butI won’t dwell on it. There are days that are worse then normal and those are the take it easier days! I read.these forums daily and see if I can help anybody with just a smile and reassurance, it can change a lot! Hang in there!

  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 274

    @slh76 - After my ADCF surgery at C3/C4 in March 2014, my neurosurgeon told me to expect 18 to 24 months for my spinal cord bruising to heal.

    From what you wrote in initial posting of your condition before surgery, I'm not surprised you are still "feeling it". I think your doing the right thing for yourself by having these follow-up diagnostics performed and then sitting down with the neurosurgeon and discussing the latest findings.

  • Slh...

    Sorry you're having so many issues still....I would get a second Neurologist's opinion, personally. It sounds to me like something isn't right....but it does take time to heal from major bone surgery. I had C4-C7 surgery in April and just about all of my symptoms went away within days! While I am very blessed, I now have severe throat trauma from the surgery that I'm still trying to find out answers/treatment for. I saw one ENT Dr. and now will see another in Feb. My right vocal cord is irritated/inflamed and very painful...every day! This stuff can be so frustrating! Hang in there & know that you are not alone!

    Best of luck at your appointment next month!


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  • slh76sslh76 Posts: 7
    edited 01/03/2018 - 6:03 AM

    Thanks for responses @DavidG, @nutcase007, and @JeannieJoe. Had my appointment with the neurosurgeon 1-2-18 to get the full results of my MRI and x-rays I had on 12-26-17. My fusion is healing well, but the MRI has shown another herniation at the C5-C6 level. Been diagnosed with degenerative disk disease and slight grade 1 retrolisthesis (backward slippage of a vertabra) at level C5-C6. Neurosurgeon said the grade of retrolisthesis is nothing to worry about as a lot of people get it as they get older. No new surgery at this time as the herniation is not really bad, but it is part of the cause of my continued discomfort in my neck, between my shoulder blades, right shoulder, and arm. If my insurance approves it I'm going to be getting a cortisone injection to see if it helps at all. Doctor mentioned it and it was my decision. I will more than likely end up having another surgery sometime, but hoping not anytime soon. Doctor said I really do not want another surgery so soon after the first one unless it is absolutely necessary. I'm to call him right away if my symptoms get any worse. I know it can take a long time for my spinal cord and nerves to heal from how bad they were compressed. Talking with the doctor more about it as he has done thousands of these surgeries, he again said I may or may not see a 70% recovery for how severe things were. Taking things day by day. I have really good days and really bad days, but I'm not giving up. My husband has been with me at all my appointments and helps me out as much as he can. He is very supportive, which helps in this situation.

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