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xx Other Items to Note About a Cervical Surgery
« Thread started on: Apr 1st, 2007, 12:44pm »

I have had C4-5, 5-6, 6-7 fused, 360, with a plate in the front and screws and rods in the back. I have seven screws into the plate and then eight screws into the rods in the back. I have a corpectomy at 4-5 and 5-6 and microdisectomy at 6-7. I was fused at twelve weeks, but also wore a bone stimulator and hope you will too. A bone stimulator is very important so ask for one if he does not mention it.

You are not going to die during this surgery....I do not like to think of that ....really...

I have to say that I was in pain for about three years before this surgery...that was with pain from just the cervical spine. I had pain from the lumbar spine at that time for about ten years...I went for a lumbar laminectomy before the cervical fusion and put the cervical fusion off another year because I felt that being able to walk was more important than the pain I was tolerating from the cervical spine.

Anyway....back to your pain....I was completely pain free from this surgery afterwards. My surgeon told me upfront he could not guarantee it, but was almost certain almost all pain would be gone and it was. I had terrible arm pain and could barely raise my arm to do my hair and make-up. My fingers were numb and cramped and twisted on both arms. The shoulders ached and I had crunching and a lot of neck pain. All of that was gone after surgery. I am starting to have problems again, but I have problems at C2, C3 and T1 to T4 and had these before the surgery. They were not symptomatic at the time though.

You are having a four level fusion...We count it like this...C 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, and 6-7. My fusion involved C 4 to C7, but is only a three level...C 4-5, 5-6, 6-7...so it is a three level. You will lose some ROM with your fusion, but at the most you will probably lose up and down motion...not the ability to turn your head...You will not be able to tilt your head back to finish a soda, or hold a pillow to put on a pillow case, or hold things under your chin...A small exchange for ease of pain ...I have terrific ROM with a 360 fusion. You are only having an anterior fusion so I think your ROM should be better than mine.

I will be honest and tell you that when I came home from surgery I was very upset and thought everyone had lied to me about the surgery. I stood in the shower and cried and thought I would never turn my head again, but after going to a very good PT program and having myofacial massage I got back a lot of ROM. I am able to drive, but drive very carefully, especially when changing lanes. I would never tackle a long trip alone anymore...I try to take my kids with me if I have to do highway driving because of changing lanes...but you can get special mirrors for the car...so you make adjustments...

The Philly collar is very soft and comfortable...honest...The Miami J is hard and uncomfortable so your doc is being very nice by allowing the Philly collar....Thank him! I liked my collar and felt it was comfortable...

I did not sleep on a recliner...I am not a recliner person. It hurt my lumbar too much to try to get out of it and I was not strong enough to get the foot part down...I think it would have hurt my neck to get out of it....Just me though....Anyway...I sleep on about five or six pillows...I have asthma and with that and other spinal problems...I just make accomodations. I use three for support and then cradle my head and neck in two very soft pillows...You will find a way to work this out...I use pillows too for my legs...I am fused L1 to S1 in the lumbar spine. Make certain you take pillows to the hospital for the car. Leave them in the trunk for the trip home...You will need them for behind your head and back and probably under your knees....They will teach you how to get in and out of the car.

Your surgeon will not allow you to bend over at the waist...that is a big no no...I do not do that now...You will use the grabber for reaching for things. I bought button down blouses for this time period. I did not use pull over sweaters or shirts. You might want to purchase a few blouses.

They will teach you how to put the collars on when you are fitted and then again at the hospital or just ask them.

Yes, they do use PCA's during the first few days after surgery. I think I used it for the first three days. I was in the hospital five days after surgery. I was also in the ICU for two days and was intubated after my surgery because of the 360 surgery. They kept me intubated and asleep for 24 hours after my surgery. They were afraid of swelling in my throat and problems with breathing because of my asthma.

Make certain you have an ample supply of soft foods after this surgery. I had a supply of pudding, soups, ice pops, yogurt, oatmeal, and fruit.

You should probably have someone with you after surgery for about two weeks, but three would be nice, especially during the day. I had a visiting nurse everyday for about a week.


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