Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Surgery

On August 29th, I had ACDF surgery - anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. In this surgery, which is to handle a badly herniated disc, they go in through the front (anterior) of your neck (cervical), remove one of the discs that acts as a shock absorber for your vertebrae (discectomy), replace it with a piece of bone (like a shim), screw the vertebrae together using a titanium plate and screws, and then hope your vertebrae will grow together with the bone shim (fusion).

The pain I've been dealing with on and off since 2003, and which was really terrible starting in January of this year, is 95% gone. I'm no longer taking any pain meds - not the gabapentin that I'd been taking since March, not even tylenol.

The tiny bits of pain I do have seem unrelated to anything that I do, and that itself is a huge relief. For years I was careful about how I moved my neck, how I held it, how I slept, etc., knowing I could easily trigger a flare-up. Right now I'm being careful because I'm still healing from the surgery, but nothing I've done seems to make anything hurt more.

It's too early to know for sure whether the fusion itself is succeeding, but the success rate among healthy young people (at least based on the control group of one study) is about 98%, so the odds are in my favor.

The surgery itself was pretty easy. I was miserable in the hospital afterwards (a ton of anxiety), but I never had much pain afterwards.

I am really glad I did that.

1 comment:

Jason Galbraith said...

And I am glad to hear you're doing well! Drop me a line sometime.