ACDF Spinal Surgery with ROI-C Implant
Status update two weeks after cervical disk replacement and spinal fusion with ROI-C device.
Background - saw 3 doctors in 2 states for excruciating pain in right arm and shoulder I had for over 2 years. First Neurologist found nothing. The other two (2 yrs later) both had same diagnosis, bone spur in vertebrae and C5-C6 disk needed replacing. Tests showed that I had permanent nerve damage to right arm. Both said it would only get worse without surgery and could have more serious damage. One doctor said I could return to work as soon as I wanted but he recommended at least 2 weeks. Said he had one patient return to work the day after surgery.
Surgery day - Operating room nurse told me I would have a LOT of pain, far worse than my recent knee surgery. Surgery was 1 hour. Recovery about 4-1/2 hrs. Wife drove me home immediately afterwards (2 hr drive). Threw up twice. No cervical collar or brace, only a gauze bandage.
1 day post surgery - right arm was dead weight. Could not control it, brush teeth, shave or even lift a coffee cup. Worked fine prior to surgery, had just been having pain from shoulder to finger tips but full use and full strength. Kinda scary. Called Dr. and was put me on Prednisone steroid.
4 days post surgery - Showered and removed bandage. Scared me because he used a black bandage on the skin and it looked like a big black hole in my neck as I peeled off the white gauze. Visited MD (2hr drive each way). He said arm problem was not a result of surgery (Hmmmm) but to give it time it would slowly get better. I was starting to regain some use of arm but still could not brush my hair. But, ZERO PAIN since surgery. I thought the nurse must have been teasing me about the amount of pain. I never took any prescription pain meds, only Aleve and prescription muscle relaxer. Nurse put 3 small tape strips over incision.
5-7 days post surgery - The pain meds given during surgery must have worn off! Pain in back of neck, across back and right arm and shoulder. By day 7, pain was much more intense. Iced upper back and shoulders several times a day. Still taking no pain meds other than Aleve. Tried some rehab exercises with light weight (2-3#) MD recommended, but had too much pain later so gave up on them. Removed tape strips from incision. Didn't look bad at all. Difficult to find a comfortable (least painful) sleeping position. Not possible to sleep on my stomach.
2 weeks post surgery - Returned to work (desk job) but not working the entire day. Regained use of right arm but only about 1/2 strength so far. Continuous pain in upper back, base of neck in back and especially right arm
and shoulder. Icing it down 3-4x/day. Take Aleve 2x/day and Methycarbonal muscle relaxer 4x/day. Occasional real sharp pain in neck from certain movements. No pain ever at incision or front of neck. Have to be careful about turning head or sudden neck movements. Driving again but being real careful. Returning to MD for checkup this week. Am concerned about driving 4 hrs that day, mostly about holding my head in the same position for so long and any problems that might cause and navigating in heavy traffic.
If anyone's interested, I can give an update following the doctor visit. I hope my experience can help someone contemplating this surgery. It really has not been bad.