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Slow recovery from Anterior Cervical Discectomy at C5-6 and C6-7 surgery

Hi everyone, 
My husband, 67, is starting week 5 of recovery from Anterior Cervical Discectomy at C5-6 and C6-7.  He is still taking the same oxycodone and muscle relaxers as he was when he left the hospital.  The surgeon stated that his spinal cord was severely compressed.  Pre surgery he had complete numbness in both ring and pinky fingers with radiating pain going down his left arm. Fine motor skills (grip, buttoning shirts were also an issue)  His strength in both arms and hands were deteriorating quick.  Muscle mass shrinking daily.  
Post surgery - my concern - the start of week 3, both of his hands became swollen, puffy and very painful.  The hands are very cold.  He has to use both hands to pick up a mug, glass,  cannot make a fist.  He still has pain in the left arm; but more lower now.  The surgeon keeps telling us that this is normal.  He goes for his 6 week check up on May 10, they will address then.  They told us this would be a 6 week recovery and that is not even going to be close to being back to normal at 6 weeks.  The start of  week 7, he will start PT and OT.  We are praying this will help the pain in the hands.  My husband will have to have a lower back surgery as soon as he heals from this as he has had severe pain in both of his legs which is caused by spinal stenosis.  
Thank you in advance for any insight, I feel that we are moving slower than anticipated.  



  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 917

    @McCarthy52 - Have you discussed the rate of recovery with the surgeon?  Since he has an office visit May 10th, maybe that is the time for the recovery discussion.  Every case is different, so I am not qualified to comment on his recovery rate.  I had severe cord compression and cord bruising at C3/C4 for my second ACDF and I was told that recovery would be a lot longer.  It was.    

  • Thank you both.  I should mention that the oxycodone is mainly for the pain in the hands.  

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,443
    edited 07/20/2019 - 1:28 PM


    Just to add something, everyone recovers different. Some people recover fully in 6 weeks where other take months. It depends on the surgery and what the surgeon had to do. Recovery takes time and patience 

    Take care of both of you and please keep us posted on his recovery. 

  • Sandra, thank you so much.  I am hoping we will get some answers on May 10 when he goes in for the 6 week check up.  Kevin feels that if he didn't have such pain in both hands, he could wean off of the oxycodone doses.

  • I am trying to access that recovery post Sandra but every time I click it it goes to the general forum page.  Can you help?

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  • LizLiz Posts: 2,603
    edited 07/20/2019 - 1:34 PM


    That link has been removed that is why it isn't working I have posted another I hope this helps. I have deleted the other link to stop any confusion.

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