megannmParticipantApril 1, 2020 at 8:47 pmPost count: 2
Hi Dr., I had ACDF surgery 7 months ago, 1 level C5-C6 due to a bone spur impinging on my spinal cord. The surgery went well and so has my recovery, for the most part. However, the past couple of months it feels as if my throat is slightly to moderately constricted. I don’t know if this feeling could be from the hardware pressing on my throat? Or could my throat be having a reaction and is swelling? I have no idea why I would be feeling this, but it is extremely bothersome, to the point that it is causing me to feel very down, very frustrated, and very worried. And it’s even to the point where sometimes I feel like it’s even interfering with my breathing—that’s what scares me. I’ve had two post-op appnts and both x-rays have looked good, per my surgeon. My next post-op appnt is next week and I’m looking forward to discussing this with him, but he’s a bit dismissive when I bring up my concerns. So I’d love to hear any comments you might have, possibly anything I should make sure to discuss with him.
I just can’t imagine feeling this way much longer, let alone the rest of my life! Perhaps this is common and will get better on its own? But perhaps there is something wrong that needs be looked into further?
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thank you so much!
MeganDonald Corenman, MD, DCModeratorApril 5, 2020 at 11:21 amPost count: 8455
Dysphagia after ACDF surgery is not uncommon in the initial post-operative period but is distinctly unusual to occur 7 months post-op. Rarely, graft loosening can cause plate protrusion and esophageal interference. A swallowing consultation with a barium swallow study can help to explain why you have the symptoms.
Dr. CorenmanmegannmParticipantApril 6, 2020 at 10:44 pmPost count: 2
Thank you for your response! That is very helpful information that I will look into further. One last question if you’re able to respond again. When does it make sense to have the plate and screws removed if you’ve successfully fused? My understanding is that the plate and screws are not meant to ever come out, but what if that is the cause of continued discomfort in the patient? Is someone really expected to
live the rest of their life in great discomfort?
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