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Posterior and anterior cervical fusion C3-C7

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,008
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello Everyone
I am new here and I am writing on behalf of my husband who has had posterior and anterior cervical fusion c3-c7. He had the anterior c3-c7 done 10/3/08 and immediately had problems swallowing I had him on a soft diet and worked him up to a mechanical diet. He seemed better except for problems swallowing his pills even the tinyest. Then 11/12/08 he had posterior c3-c7 done. He was able to eat "Normal" foods immediately. Except he still to this day 12/21/08 can not eat steak, pork, etc...unless it is put in a blender. He has MAJOR problems swallowing his pills. He states that they get stuck in his throat and points to where the anterior surgery was. These pills getting stuck even cause him to vomitt. He has checked with his surgeon and his primary and they say he just needs time to heal. Is this true? Or should we prusue another avenue? :W


  • for a week or so after my anterior cervial surgery but it went away after about 2 weeks, but food still sometime "sticks" and I have to drink water to get it down.

    I would think after this many weeks you would see steady improvemnt at least. I asked my surgeon about it before the operation because it is a common issue and concern and he said he's had only 3-4 patients that he'd had to send to an ENT because of complications so obviously there are problems sometimes. If I had a gut feeling something was not right-I would ask my surgeon if it's time to have me cheked out by an ENT.

    Good luck to your husband.
  • Thank you for your reply. I will consider your suggestion about the ENT.
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  • Lynn,
    You may want to give your husband a little more time to heal. I had ACDF C3>C6 on Sept 17th and last week was the first week I was about to swallow multi vitamins and calcium pills. Before this, even if my husband cut them up I would choke on them. I've only recently been able to eat most foods without drinking tons of liquid with them and without drinking after each bite I take.
  • Thank you for answering my post! That gives me hope! So it took approximately 13 weeks to swallow normally? 12/26/08 will be 13 weeks since the first surgery and 6 weeks since second surgery. Yes, I went out and bought a pill spliter from the local drug strug to split my husband's multivitamin and his darvocet(sp) but his doclace(sp)even gets stuck which is a small round pill. Tonight we had Banquet chicken(crispy) and he had trouble eating that. He sometimes just gives up on eating. He has had pain since 1/7/06 when his accident happened. He also has DDD which effects one disc in his back. His has had left, right shoulder, and right wrist surgery in addition to the two cervical surgery and requires to more surgeries on T section and L section.
  • welcome lynn1973 and your husband. thats quite alot of surgery for just the front c spine and on top of that just 5 weeks later the back c spine surgery. i know that it takes time for the swallowing to improve and it helps to load up on mayo, mustard, ketchup, etc... to help the foods go down. i still use steak sauce for my small piecesof steak to go down easier. its a shame to have to cover up a great tasting steak with a1 sauce. i had a swallowing test done while i was in the hospital and it just showed that there was a lot of trammua from the surgery. my pm doc wanted to send me to a specialists for my swallowing but i declined because i do not want to go through another surgery at this time and i have pretty much adjusted to my swallowing issues. i take chewable vitamins and have a pill crusher as the pill spilter just made sharp edges that would get caught in my throat. for me after just after the surgery i can remember only soft foods and other foods mixed into them was abnout all i could handle. dont want to alarm you that i still have swallowing issues but my surgery was a extra long surgery. God bless you and your husband and i will say a prayer for you and your family. feel free to pm me.
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  • If this continues to be a problem, the surgeon can order a barium swallow test to see if the plate is catching on the esophagus, thus causing the swallowing problems. I was told that it could take 6 months for the esophagus to settle down after the irritation from having it moved during c-spine surgery. But that being said, having food stick is a scary feeling, and is usually caused from some constriction or narrowing of the esophagus. Sorry for his misery. You must be a good wife to be so concerned for him. Welcome to

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I just want to say to everyone who has posted to my blog ur support has been great. Keep the posts coming please.
  • They have swallowing clinics at most large hospitals. I would get a appt. with your husband's Neuro to see if that's an option. But it could be still early in the healing process. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had surgery in Oct and I sometimes still have issues with certain foods. I like him had a moment where I was ready to give up. If he is feeling very uncomfortable about this though the barrium swallow test is a good idea. Keep us posted on his progress.
  • Thanks for the info. I have problems swallowing so I will let my Surgeon know before he operates. I have been in pain for quite sometime now and finally had an MRI - stenosis of c3-c7 - I have had such a hard time working - can't type as my fingers are numb, my neck hurts and I am so embarrassed when I walk or try to run as I stumble over my feet. Can't sleep and am really getting worried that surgery may be too late and I have permanent nerve damage - how long can a person go before its too late? Really getting scared and my health insurance is about to run out. :|
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