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New here, just had cervical spine surgery...again

Apr 18, 2017 11:00 PM

My surgery was 3/22/17. Twenty years ago I had discectomy/fusion of C4-5-6, with donor bone, after a car accident. This time, they fused C3 thru T1, with donor bone (wedges to replace some curvature in my neck), 3 titanium cages and screws, repairs to prior fusion, removed bone spurs and added bone marrow from my hip for ??? (I forgot). I have two horizontal incisions because of the number of levels. (They were able to recut along the previous scar and just elongate it.)

The first week I had almost no headaches, and for the past week 1/2 I am getting migraines or severe cervical headaches every afternoon/evening. I am following all the docs rules, I've done this before and want the best outcome. I am still wearing my hard collar any time I am in bed sleeping or not in my lazyboy recliner. My surgeon said I could sleep without the collar, but I have a harder time getting the right position, and I woke up in a lot more pain without it. Every time I have been in a car, I end up in massive pain for several days afterward. I start physical therapy on Thursday (2 days). Also, I am still having trouble swallowing watery liquids and solid foods, so I start speech therapy for my esophagus this week also.

Unfortunately, my surgeon is a 3 hour drive because I couldn't find a surgeon here in Spokane that would do my surgery (partial revision). This all started because my pain mgmt neuro recommended a Boston Scientific spinal cord stimulator, but the stenosis at C3-6 is too severe until repaired. Unfortunately, the fusions had to be done first. Next surgery is the laminectomy in 3-6 months. Gonna be a hard year!

Questions:
1. Anyone out there have a spinal cord stimulator? Happy with it? Any recommendations? Boston Scientific or other brand-pro/cons?

2. Is laminectomy harder to recover from than an anterior cervical fusion? Anyone have both? My surgeon said it would be more painful, therefore he wouldn't do both at same time. Curious of patients perspective...

3. At 4 weeks post-op, I feel like my skin is so tight on my neck that I can't look up at all. Does that improve?

4. When will I get the feeling back in my neck at incision sites? I have two, and no feeling in that whole area yet.

5. Anyone else lose feeling at back of neck? Is it because of swelling?

6. Trouble swallowing water and solid foods...how long does that last?

Thanks to all for advice. I am so sad to see so much suffering here. It puts it into perspective that I am not alone...

Apr 21, 2017 3:59 PM

Getting better every day, just wish this choking feeling would relent. I am having another scope down my nose into my throat to check the sphincter in my esophagus Monday. Started phys therapy yesterday, so more sore and started day with migraine today. Yesterday was the first day without a headache in about two weeks. Time will tell... looking forward to less pain!

Apr 22, 2017 2:14 PM

I have to have a lumbar fusion revision and also live in Spokane. I have to travel to Seattle to get help. So far I have seen 5 specialist in Spokane and one in Seattle that wouldn't do the surgery because it was " too complicated." Where did you finally get help and have your surgery? My next appointment is at the university of Washington Harborview spine center.

Apr 22, 2017 5:39 PM

@ChrisinSpokane: WOW!
May God's Healing Hands be upon you... I wish I could give sage advice but I got nothing...keep us posted how you're doing..
Gentle hugs so as not to hurt...
All my best

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