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Horner syndrome and droopy eyelid from ACDF surgery

BeachboyBBeachboy Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 3 weeks 2 days post op of c6-7 acdf and have a droopy eyelid on the left side. The incision was made on the left side of my neck. I've noticed that my left eye is droopy and did some research. Apparently, a Mildly droopy eye can be related to Horner syndrome. It seems that in rare cases, neck surgery can result in Horner syndrome If the sympathetic nerve is compromised. Lack of sweating on the one side of the face and constricted pupil are also symptoms of Horner syndrome. I have the droopy eye and am not sweating on the left side of face but my pupils seem to be in tact. I've read some posts where this condition had resolved or reduced 3 to 6 months after surgery though it could also be permanent. Going through the recovery and the last thing I wanted were complications.

Has anyone else experienced these symptoms post neck surgery and what was your outcome ?

I am going to see a neurologist next week.
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13

Comments

  • Even though I've never had Horner's postop or at any other time - hopefully you can get some info from at least one other SH Forum member, or failing that you can Google it in - I want to welcome you to the Forum. On this site you may or may not also be able to find info on your problem by typing it into the search box. Best wishes, and keep us posted (we're a friendly, caring bunch who have all been there done that spine-wise).
  • I had the same thing happen to me. Had posterior surgery at T1/2. It left me with Horners in my right eye. I have the drooped eye, unequal pupil and no sweating on that side. I also get eye strain when reading because the focus is affected.

    You should go to a neuro-opthamologist. It is a rare specialty. They will do some testing to see how your pupils are reacting. Bring someone to drive you because the dialation is strong. They will also ask about double vision. If you have any vision concern ask them about doing a prism test.

    They may also want to send you for some brain and vascular MRIs to rule out a blood clot. Once they rule these out they will most likely agree that it came from surgery. Mine is permanent but sometimes it will improve. I hope yours is temporary. Just don't let them minimize this. I found that most doctors are afraid to link this to the surgery for obvious reasons.
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  • Thanks for welcoming Essmoe and thank you so much for your response Kris.

    Kris, I am very sorry to hear about the double vision and your horners syndrome. It is a travesty. I thank you for Your information as it is very helpful. I plan on seeing the neuro as a first step this Thurs. He will likely refer me to a neuro opto. within the same academic institution. I looked it up and there is only one. The neuro is unaffiliated with the surgeon who did my surgery so hoping to get an objective analysis.

    Sorry but i have so much anxiety over this. I am hoping that the sympathetic fiber was only strained and will come back.

    Do you get headaches from horners?
  • I thought i'd provide an update as there have been 130 reviews of these posts and this could provide some with info about this rare syndrome or at least could help provide me with some information on others experiences. I went to the neurologist today. I explained that I had a droopy eye lid after acdf. I also explained that there is a lack of sweat on my left side of my face. He examined my pupils and saw they were the same size in light and dark. He asked if I had double vision and I answered no. He diagnosed this as a mild case of Horner syndrome since I don't have all of the symptoms which include, 1. Mildly droopy eye on affected side, 2. Constricted pupil on affected side, and 3. Reduced or no sweating on affected side. He said that it should get better but could take a year. He explained that the sympathetic fibers were likely damaged in the neck where the surgeon entered. I also explained that I have been feeling a bit odd on the left side of my head and down behind my left ear. Not a headache or ear ache but more of a lost feeling sensation. He explained
    that it's likely part of the horners in that the sympathetic nerve fibers were irritated and or damaged in the neck area. And this could have caused some nerve irritation or damage. When I asked him how long it would take to improve, the neuro said it could take up to a year. He also indicated that it could be permanent. I pressed him to give me a percentage
    chance of it going away and he said 90 percent. (sure thing doc ! but at least gives me some hope) Well, I'll prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    He said there is no reason to schedule an MRI or MRA because he ruled out anything else. I decided to have an MRA to be on the safe side to ensure no serious damage. I scheduled the MRA for next Monday.

    So the Neuro basically answered what I seems to already figure out through considerable research on the net. Nerves regenerate slowly and Post surgical Horner syndrome complications may or may not improve and if it does improve it could take a while.

    If all goes well with the MRA and i don't have any chenge in my symptoms, I will be scheduling with a neuro optomologist to do a prism exam and a really thorough check of my eyes. but going to do so after I heal a bit from this acdf surgery. I am really sick of seeing doctors at this point and need to concentrate on healing and getting back into shape at PT.

    Please anyone post your experiences with droopy eyelids and Horner syndrome after acdf?

  • wow when I saw Horners syndrome I had to post . I'm new here so hope I'm posting in right place. I have Horners syndrome. MIne came from a dissection in my carotid artery. Found out I have disease in my carotids called FMD but that's a whole different other issue. My left eyelid was drooping and my pupils were uneven. My carotid artery was tearing .The sympathetic nerve is damaged. This was over 6 years ago and I sti;; have unequal pupils and eye looks slightly droopy.Last week I just found out after MRI of my neck I have multiple herniated discs and some dried discs ( eww that just sounds gross) . I do have RA and have had surgery in lumbar spine, discetomy and foraminotomy ( sp)
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  • Yes, this is the right place. Originally I posted regarding getting this from the ACDF surgery I recently had but anyone who has Horner Syndrome symptoms is more than welcome to post. I am in the midst of trying to figure out the extent of my symptoms and hoping it goes away.

  • Having surgery in 1 day now on c5 - c7. Just wondering what to expect for the recovery time. I am a firefighter and I need to get back to work ASAP.
  • I was also wondering about Homers syndrome. I noticed the comments and was wondering how common it is. My Doc never mentioned a thing. Imagine that.
  • I am so glad to hear that it isn't just me! My incision was made on the left and my left eyelid is droopy most of the time. It is more pronounced when I am tired. My pupils seem fine. My surgery center gave me a lot of information beforehand which informed me of the neurological risks which might be permanent, including paraplegia and quadraplegia, so I suppose a droopy eyelid might be minor. However, it has improved since the surgery, 8 days ago today. If I don't look like myself by the time I go for my follow up appointment, then I will seek options for treating the eye. I haven't noticed any problems sweating, so I hope it is not Horner's. Could it be something else? Anyway, glad to have found everyone, and a speedy recovery to all.
  • I am so glad to hear that it isn't just me! My incision was made on the left and my left eyelid is droopy most of the time. It is more pronounced when I am tired. My pupils seem fine. My surgery center gave me a lot of information beforehand which informed me of the neurological risks which might be permanent, including paraplegia and quadraplegia, so I suppose a droopy eyelid might be minor. However, it has improved since the surgery, 8 days ago today. If I don't look like myself by the time I go for my follow up appointment, then I will seek options for treating the eye. I haven't noticed any problems sweating, so I hope it is not Horner's. Could it be something else? Anyway, glad to have found everyone, and a speedy recovery to all.
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