Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

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rayray
rayray Member Posts: 115
edited 20. Jan 2016, 04:44 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi There,

Sorry to not post for so long. I have had a difficult few weeks health and otherwise. I finally saw the spinal registrar yesterday and I am being booked in for a anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. I see my consultant next week for the formalities and then go on the waiting list.
I have been hoping things will get better for over four years now and they haven't. A recent MRI scan confirmed that the disc has not only degenerated but has now prolapsed pretty badly with no way back.
I understand that Slosh had this surgery a few years ago and would love to have any tips and pointers to help me through the surgery. This will be surgery number seven since 2009 - hopefully this will also be the last one, at least for a few years.

I also saw the rheumatologist at a specialist hospital - wow what a difference to the local service. He was very thorough, not dismissive in any way and has done lots of x-rays plus booked an MRI scan on my spine. He confirmed that I do have psoriasis but doesn't think I have psoriatic arthritis - my multiple joint arthritis is likely to be purely bad luck. He hasn't ruled it out though and he will await the radialogists report on the x-rays and MRI scan.

So that is where I am. Any hints on the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion will be really helpful.

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Sorry, no hints at all here, rayray. My back is my best bit :wink: But I'm sure Slosh would be willing to offer advice. If she doesn't see this why not PM her? I'm so glad you got a good consultant.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Rayray

    In September 2011 I underwent a C5 vertebrectomy and C4 to C6 cervical fusion. I am not sure if this is the same operation as yours
    .
    The bone graft was harvested from the left iliac crest. I went home wearing a hard collar.

    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi, Just to say I will post a reply later this evening in regards to the surgery
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi, hopefully this will make sense butI had a busy day at work I will probably forget something so may add to this

    I had adcf surgery nearly two years ago and had two discs removed and so three vertebrae fused, c5-6 and c6-7.
    I was in hospital for 2 nights, had an x-ray after surgery while still unconscious and another before I was discharged to check the fusion was in place, and a third at my post op review.

    Before surgery I had my hair cut very short, and I stocked up on easy to eat foods like soup, porridge, and yoghurt as I was warned that my throat was likely to be painful after and to expect some swallowing difficulties. Yoghurts in particular were very soothing, and after a while I graduated to minced beef in gravy with mash.

    I had a firm foam collar which I had to wear until my first follow up appointment about 6-7 weeks post surgery, except when in bed.
    It was not the most comfortable of things and again can make eating difficult. After my check up I didn't have to wear it but was advised that initially I could put it on if my neck began to get tired/painful. Initially I couldn't move it at all as the ligaments had tightened but had exercises given to me by a physio to build up movement though there is some permanent loss of movement.

    I was advised not to shower until my wound had healed, about 4 weeks in my case to reduce the risk of infection. Baby wipes were great, and I got at "washing " my hair using a little baby shampoo on a sponge.

    Front opening tops.

    You may have these at home but I was advised by OT to buy a pick up stick thing and a sock aid.

    Once my wound had healed I put vit e oil on it twice daily, I have a friend who has bad facial scarring and had plastic surgery and she told me this is what all her surgeons had advised.

    One of the worst things was not being able to drive for about 3 months or so until I had got enough movement back in my neck to feel safe and I now drive a car with rear parking sensors.

    One last thing and this is something I had been made aware of prior to surgery, it can take around 6-12 months to fully recover in terms of positive outcomes and improvements and as I have since been told, the main aim is to prevent things getting worse, it was my first surgery and I was naive enough to believe it would take me back to where I was pre OA.

    Hope this is helpful, if there is anything else you want to know just pm me and I'll do my best to answer.

    Hope al goes well.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • rayray
    rayray Member Posts: 115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Slosh,

    Thank you so much for your really helpful reply. I was wondering about food and now we can stock up on some soft easily digestible foods. I don't think I will have a collar. I'm really not looking forward to it but if the pain in my arm improves and I can at least do some social things and drive again that will be amazing. I'm not sure how I will feel if things stay the same as I am pretty restricted. I suppose at least it won't get worse.

    I know you have faced an ongoing fight with this Slosh. That seems to be the nature of OA. I hope things do improve more for you.

    Thanks again for all the information. I initially thought it was quite a minor op and now I am a bit more nervous. Not sure where I got that from but the registrar put me straight on that. As I said I see the consultant on Tuesday so I may have more information then.

    Thanks also to the others who responded.
  • rayray
    rayray Member Posts: 115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I saw my spinal surgeon today and she has offered me a cervical disc replacement if she is able to do it otherwise I will have the fusion. I will have to wear a collar afterwards but the disc may give me more movement than a fusion in the long run as I am relatively young. I feel very lucky indeed to have been offered this on the NHS.

    Surgery is likely to be in May. The surgeon did suggest I try and find others who have either had a disc replacement or fusion to ask about their outcome and Slosh has already been so helpful. One thing I was warned was that my back movement won't improve - this is just to help the arm pain which is the most disabling pain. I guess from your posts this is very much the case for you Slosh and I am aware that you still have quite a bit of nerve related difficulty.

    I am going ahead as I am so restricted but i wonder how good the outcome will be as most on line articles talk about getting surgical advice 3-6 months after the start of a severe pain episode. I have had mine for over four years now and have been batted between shoulder and spinal surgeons so I shall just have to see.

    So progress at long last. Any other feedback will be really useful.
  • rayray
    rayray Member Posts: 115
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thanks Elna,

    How are you now? Was recovery good?

    Thanks
    elnafinn wrote:
    Hi Rayray

    In September 2011 I underwent a C5 vertebrectomy and C4 to C6 cervical fusion. I am not sure if this is the same operation as yours
    .
    The bone graft was harvested from the left iliac crest. I went home wearing a hard collar.

    Elna
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,732
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I hope it all goes well for you, rayray. Please keep us in the loop.

    By the way, if you put 'cervical discectomy' into the Arthritis Care search engine (small blue/grey tab above) some old threads come up.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright