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4 level acdf - so nervous to make the appointment

I've been to a few different neurosurgeons, all that have recommended surgery for spinal stenosis- i have the usual pain/numbness in hand and arm, shoulder pain, tremendous neck pain, slight balance issues - I'm not sure if there is anything you nice folks can recommend, but... did any of you go through this same thing?   I sit in pain all day everyday , but it seems like there are so many possibilities that something can go wrong.   (between the anesthesia, nerve/spinal chord damage, voice, swallowing.... the constant pain isnt that bad when i really think about it!)   I dont read many stories of paralysis on this forurm - am i overreacting ??    Thank you all so much - this is such a great resource! 

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Comments

  • Welcome dan-acdf we’re glad you’re here!

    If you look hard enough you will always find bad stories, that's because the people that have good stories get better and go on with their lives and don't talk about their surgery and recovery.

    I will tell you my story, I woke up one morning with neck and arm pain, numbness and tingling, after all the test I had, ruptured disc and stenosis along with bone spurs, I had C4-C7 ACDF surgery in 2018, surgery went very well, I woke up with no arm pain or numbness, recovery was a breeze also. One thing you always have to consider is what kind of damage is being done if you don't do anything about your current situation. 

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about ACDF surgery on Spine-health that you might want to check out: ACDF: Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. The article outlines what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. I hope you find this information helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.

    Chip 

    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,720

    I agree with Chip, what further damage is being done by waiting? There is always a risk in everything you do. But when it comes to something possibly changing your complete lifestyle, those risk get smaller. A good place to read about other member's experiences is in Surgery Buddies, either June or July. You will be able to read their stories of before and after surgery.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
    Sandra

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  • Hi Dan_acdf. My cervical spine is fused at 4 levels. Surgery was 9 months ago due to spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis and a birth defect.  My outcome was excellent!  I have my life back, I am able to work without pain and my neck actually rotates better than it did prior to surgery believe it or not. I am restricted in movement if I try to touch my ear to my shoulder but I really don't need to perform that movement anyway so its not a big deal. Symptoms for me where what you described, but I didn't have any balance issues. I was concerned about surgical complications as well particularly paralysis risk, but after I learned about the spinal cord monitoring done to prevent paralysis during surgery,  I was reassured. I also asked the neurosurgeon how many surgeries he has performed and did any of them result in paralysis. His answer was also reassuring, which was 1000 surgeries and 0 cases of paralysis. Surgery has changed my life for the better. I continue to see improvement and was told to allow a full year to get the maximum benefit from the surgery.  I have no regrets having surgery and the outcome exceeded my expectations by a Longshot.  I wish you well and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Steve



  • wow @SpringfieldM1 , thank you so much - that is very reassuring.   I asked my doctor that same question and he said that he's done over 10,000 ....and all 10k walked home (at least the ones that walked in)   ... Seems almost hard to believe but .... i guess he really knows what he's doing.   Thanks again for your reply ...i'm nervous about the recovery -this forum definitely helps alot! 

  • 10,000 surgeries- thats impressive and experienced! Sounds like you are in good hands. Spine forum was helpful to me. Chip is right about those who do well with surgery and move on. I haven't looked at the forum in quite a while. My recovery took a little longer due to getting 2 incisions in the front to reach everything. 1 incision would have left a very large scar that would look unpleasant.   I went back to work at 12 weeks. 8 weeks in a hard collar weakened my neck muscles but 4 weeks of PT fixed that. Had some minor swallowing issues that went away after a month. Glad I could help with information and I think your complication concerns are very valid and normal.  Hope you have a great outcome like me if you have surgery!

    Steve

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  • Hi Steve, 

    thanks again for your reply!  Yes i was impressed when he said that as well.... it sounds almost too good to be true, that a surgeon has that many surgeries under his belt but .... hopefully that is all true !    Another thing i am struggling with is that I have a wife who has been thru alot with my chronic pain, and as a result, she's not very compassionate about it at all !   This means that my recovery at home is going to be even more stressful than it normally would be-   My surgery is booked for 9/1 and it's getting more nerve wracking with each day that goes by! :)    Praying that things work out for the best - take care ! 

    Dan

  • Hi Dan. Good to hear you have a surgery date booked! Maybe your wife will see things differently once you get through surgery and start recovering.  I hope that you get the best outcome possible!  Take care.

    Steve

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,720

    Dan

    Please join us in Sept. Surgery Buddies! It is a great place for members to talk about their surgery and recovery with each other. Go to Surgery Buddies, click on Sept. and introduce yourself.

    We hope to see you there!
    Sandra

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