Choking Sensation 4 weeks Post-Op ACDF C6/C7

///Choking Sensation 4 weeks Post-Op ACDF C6/C7
Choking Sensation 4 weeks Post-Op ACDF C6/C7
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  • AvatarSdc1213
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Hello Doctor,

    I’d like to thank you for having such a great resource and the ability of asking questions. This has helped me tremendously with my pre and post op fears of what to expect.

    On Oct 7th, I had ACDF surgery on my C6/C7. The reason for this surgery was due to severe disc herniation causing spinal stenosis and myelopathy. My surgeon stated he was able to get all the bone spurs out and no complications during surgery. Tomorrow will mark 4 weeks post-op. I have to say my surgeon as been wonderful and has been answering plenty of my questions, but I just wanted a second opinion on my current issue. Around the third week mark, I pushed my body a little hard and started developing excruciating pain in the shoulders and tightness around the back of the neck, along with a tightness in front neck almost like a choking sensation.

    My issue that I’m currently facing is a of a “choking sensation” around the incision area down to my collar bone. It feels like someone is taking their fingers and pushing on the front of my neck which is causing a sensation of tightness that I’m being choked. It’s kind of hard to explain. I reached out to my surgeon and he thinks it could either be inflammation of the incision or delayed dysphagia. I’m just curious as to why it would show up 3 weeks after fact? He has prescribed me a Medrol Steroid pack in the meantime to see if it helps. The incision goes from about where my jaw starts to over my Adam’s apple. I was able to eat solid foods same day as surgery without issue. Under the incision itself still feels tender and somewhat “bruised” (especially around the Adam’s apple) over top the incision is pretty much numb which I was told should come back given time. Do you think the incision is still swollen that it could be pushing up against my neck, giving me a feeling of choking @ 4 weeks post-op? Also is it normal to still have excruciating pain in the shoulders and traps 4 weeks out from surgery? I’m 32 years old.

    Thank You!

    AvatarSdc1213
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    I meant to also add; I can eat solid foods and take pills without issue, no sore throat, no gagging. It just feels like someone is pushing on my neck/adam’s apple. Thanks!

    AvatarDonald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 7069

    I am sure your surgeon took X-rays just to make sure the graft did not displace and you have no hematoma (measuring the space between the airway and vertebra on the X-ray). Delayed pressure sensation in your neck is distinctly unusual. You don’t have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) as you can “eat solid foods and take pills without issue, no sore throat, no gagging”. Your surgeon did the right thing giving you oral steroid pills even if they did not help. Without those findings, there are rare patients who react to the small space that the anterior plate takes up. If this sensation does not clear in 3 weeks, maybe a swallowing study should be entertained.

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    AvatarSdc1213
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Thank you so much for the reply, Doctor.

    I’ve taken the steroid and it’s helped with the pain and inflammation. I’m still getting the pressure sensation, however.

    Is it possible the incision is still swollen and it’s pushing up against my throat and Adam’s Apple due to deep sutures and scar tissue forming, possibly causing the issue?

    Thank you

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Avatar Sdc1213.
    AvatarDonald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 7069

    The pressure could be from a functioning but swollen esophagus.

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    AvatarSdc1213
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Thank you for the information, Dr. Corenman.

    The last question I have is that is it possible for the plate (hardware) itself to hit up against the back of the esophagus, if everything is placed correctly and the screws are tight @ C6/C7, or is there enough room there to allow full esophagus movement without issue?

    Thank You!

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