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  • Jka69
    Post count: 1

    Dr Corenman, first of all thank you for being such a wonderful resource. The amount of misinformation on the web is astounding but you bring guidance to all of us. I had an ACDF performed on C5 thru C7 on July 25, 2012. I was in a hard collar for 6 weeks with limits on my activities and no lifting anything over 10 lbs. I am also using a cervical bone growth stimulator for 4 hours per day. At my last doctors visit my surgeon reviewed my eight week X-rays and said everything looked fine and to keep up the nothing heavier than 10 lbs restriction until 3 months post op. That last doctors appointment was on September 21 and i was feeling very little pain or discomfort. About 2 weeks ago I started having sharp pain in my neck. This pain was accompanied by tremors and muscle spasms in both arms. This has not gotten better since and when I called my spine surgeons office they just said it was normal part of recovery from this type of surgery and that no new images need to be taken. Basically they said that they have zero concern that anything could be structurally wrong in my neck. (The surgeon used bone from my own hip and put titanium plates and screws over the whole thing). What would you recommend as my next step? Are these symptoms normal for this surgery? Can I expect theses symptoms to go away at some point? Is the normal ACDF recovery a lot of ups and downs? Thanks again for your help.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8465

    The construct you have had (iliac crest with titanium plates) is really the gold standard for this ACDF procedure. Full time collar wear for 6 weeks is longer than I have patients use them (they are in the collar for sleep for six weeks) but the longer in the collar, the better chance the grafts have to heal.

    Normal recovery from ACDF surgery is not normally a “good day then a bad day” but general straight line improvement over a period of time. It is unusual to develop symptoms late after surgery (in your case, over two months). I do think that post-operative X-rays are helpful to determine what the status is of the fusion, plate and graft position.

    I assume you do not have fevers, sweats, chills or a general run-down feeling which could be signs of infection.

    Dr. Corenman

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