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My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

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Old 03-06-2019, 04:37 AM   #1
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My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

TLDR / I had neck surgery, nerve pain has already come back. Share your less fortunate and/or funny surgery experiences if you don't want to read about mine.

I was hurt on-duty during the second half of last year... herniated discs that caused me to lose feeling in my left arm below the elbow and also brought constant, throbbing nerve pain from my spine, across my back/shoulder and down to my elbow. All fun and games until I need that left arm/side to be stronger when/if I'm in a fight, which happened several times. In the midst of all of this, I only missed three days of work from the end of September to the day of surgery, which I'll get to. Anyway, I went through nerve meds which were a nightmare, followed by PT that would help for a couple of hours each session, then had nerve blocks on three separate occasions. No luck with any of it, at least any relief that lasted more than a couple of hours. A couple weeks before surgery, I was in a foot pursuit that ended with me tackling the guy and landing rough/hard myself. He went to jail puking, as it was a long pursuit. I was hurting but I shrugged it off to the running. I was wrong. The doctor advised we go ahead with the final option, which was surgery.

Last month, I had ACDF surgery... anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. If you aren't familiar, the simpler way of describing it is that the doctor made a 2.5-inch incision on the front right side of my throat, then went in and removed the damaged disc. At that point, a cage was installed between the vertebrae, followed by a plate that was screwed in to keep the cage in place. All of this is permanent. While in there, he found that a piece of the disc had broken off and was "floating" and had been causing considerable pressure on my spinal cord. Not sure how all that works, really. He's the doctor, I'm the guy hurting.

I'm almost at three weeks post-surgery now, and the symptoms that the surgery was supposed to alleviate and hopefully eliminate... they've come back and with a vengeance. While I can feel my left arm where it used to be numb, now the throbbing nerve pain has extended down the arm as well. The majority of the pain pulses around the area I believe the plate is. I go for my first follow-up on March 12th, so I'll have more answers then.

My purpose for posting is to see if anyone on OS has had the same surgery or similar, and your results. And while we're at it, we'll turn this into a constructive topic and discuss crazy surgeries we've had. I'll get into how I bit my tongue off earlier in my life later on. Fun times.

Last edited by EUBlink; 03-06-2019 at 05:19 AM. Reason: Didn't realize this was so long. My bad.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:02 AM   #2
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Re: My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

Oh man. This sounds horrible. I'm sorry man.

I can't relate, but my dad suffered a permanent injury to his back during a high speed pursuit. He pitted the car and when he came to a stop another car hit the back of his cruiser at 50mph. The hazards of the job man.

Hope things get better and you make a full recovery and get back out on the road.
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Old 03-07-2019, 03:12 PM   #3
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Re: My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

Sorry to hear that, EUBlink. Unfortunately, when it comes to back pain/spinal pain/nerve-related pain, surgery is usually the last option because it frequently doesn't help at all. Unfortunately, that has been the case for you (although there's still hope things will get better of course).

When it gets down to it, we really don't know that much about pain and the nervous system in general, and a lot of what we think we know is probably not entirely correct. Back pain/nerve pain is the worst, and it unfortunately is an area where there has been very little progress despite advances in almost every other aspect of medicine. Here's hoping that with time, things get better for you.
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:24 AM   #4
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Re: My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

Not a similar surgery, but I'll share one of mine. I had to get my wisdom teeth removed a few years ago after getting an infection in my gums from one of them. They didn't put me under, just gave me a local anesthetic.

Well they started pulling before the anesthetic kicked in. That didn't feel great. I cried out, doctor said "oops!", waited a few minutes then went back to work on it. I don't remember why they didn't put me out, but that was the worst experience. I could hear the teeth breaking from my jaw in my head.

Two days after surgery I got strep throat.
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:48 AM   #5
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Re: My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

Not the surgery itself, but the lead up to it. Was my last ear surgery (I had about 10 total) in summer '95 so I was 14. I think my surgery was scheduled for around 10 that morning and they'd put some cream on my hands when I checked in and they did all the pre-op stuff to numb them so I wouldn't feel it when they started an IV to put me under. Well, apparently a piece of equipment broke in one of the ORs and they didn't take me up to the pre-op room until probably around 2 in the afternoon by which time my hands were freezing and all the veins were pretty much constricted. Suffice it to say, they couldn't start an IV after poking me at least 8 times (at least once between each pair of metacarpals on each hand). They were going to try the crock of my elbow but I started to freak out as I was afraid it would hurt a lot so they just took me to the OR awake and gave me nitrous oxide and were finally able to find a vein between my left 1st & 2nd metacarpals (didn't find that out until after I woke up). I actually ended up having bad anxiety/panic attacks when I needed to get blood drawn for a few years after that, though strangely subcutaneous or intramuscular vaccine injections didn't bother me at all.
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:07 AM   #6
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Re: My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

I tore my ACL when I was 13 while trying out for my middle school track team. Let's just say my entire experience was my nurse having to tell me to breath every minute in the recovery room as I was REALLY out of it
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:28 PM   #7
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Re: My ACDF surgery, your surgery experiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jr.
Not a similar surgery, but I'll share one of mine. I had to get my wisdom teeth removed a few years ago after getting an infection in my gums from one of them. They didn't put me under, just gave me a local anesthetic.

Well they started pulling before the anesthetic kicked in. That didn't feel great. I cried out, doctor said "oops!", waited a few minutes then went back to work on it. I don't remember why they didn't put me out, but that was the worst experience. I could hear the teeth breaking from my jaw in my head.

Two days after surgery I got strep throat.

Ahhh I got a tooth pulled and I know the sound you are referring to. It is the most unpleasant sound ever. And he also started pulling before it was fully working. Very painful.
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