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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone had Discectomy and Fusion surgery?

    I just had my EMG test today and I don't have carpal tunnel. C5-C6 are my problems and we will be looking into doing an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for both vertebrae. Anyone else had this done? How long until you could ride again? If you jump, how long until you could jump again? Thanks for any info you can provide.
    Last edited by equisusan; Mar. 17, 2014 at 06:55 PM.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  2. #2
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    My mother in law just had that surgery about a month ago and is doing great. She doesn't ride so, I can't help you with that part. The anterior procedure was developed by my surgeon here in Baltimore. It is much safer than the way they used to do it. Best of luck to you.



  3. #3
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    Thanks Laurie.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  4. #4
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    Well I saw the second opinion surgeon today and he showed me my discs and the nerve spaces on my MRI. That was really helpful and I've made my decision to proceed with surgery once I can get it scheduled in a few months. I really wanted to avoid the ACDF surgery but it was really clear to me when I looked at the MRI with him that there is no other "real" option. C5-6 is essentially disintegrated and C6-7 is well on its way. When we looked at the spaces where the nerves are supposed to run by C5-6 they are virtually non-existent. Yikes! No injections or ablation can fix that kind of degeneration so its time to get on with this.

    The frustrating part is that it took so long to get properly diagnosed and to try the non-surgical options that I'm now in the middle of my move back to the east coast so I'll have to get all new doctors to get this scheduled once I get there. A little more than frustrating.

    The other part which surprised and disappointed me was that he recommends I do not ride for a year after surgery. He says he wants to make sure the fusion is solid and there is lots of new bony growth before I do any "at risk" activities. Wait... that's all I do are at risk activities.

    I know that the ACDF surgery will potentially weaken my discs above and below the fusion but if that happens to me and I need further fusions they should be at least 15 years away. That sounds good to me since I currently can't work with the pain and numbness in my arms and hands.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  5. #5
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    Thanks for the update! Soft hugs & a soft shoulder here anytime you need. They will fix it and take away the pain. I work(ed) with a nurse who had her whole neck fused. She said she is so glad she did it. Another nurse where I go for PT is going for it shortly. (I hate discs. What a stupid &%$#@!! body part!). The year will go faster than you think.


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  6. #6
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    Thank you so much sonomacounty. I've read many people talking about how their pain was gone after the surgery. I've been in so much pain for so long I don't think I even realize how much I have.... looking forward to seeing what it feels like to get rid of this pain. Dumb discs....
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  7. #7
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    Well, if you are moving anywhere near Baltimore the choice is easy. I will give you my surgeons info.


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  8. #8
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    Nov. 26, 2013
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    I am having surgery on weds...terrified... L4 and 5 are going to be fused, and the back half of my vertebrae cut out to allow room for the cord and nerves...I am hoping to be abel to ride in 4-6 months...my "horse of a lifetime" in 18 years old and still in full work... The pre-op prep has been exhausting...good luck!


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  9. #9
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    I had ACDF btw C5/C6 11 months ago. Instant relief post surgery! I used a surgeon Laurierace recommended, Dr. Paul McAffee, and he was fantastic. I definitely recommend physical therapy afterward; I think it makes a huge difference to your recovery. I actually have better range of motion now than before my surgery which is almost unheard of. Comparing experiences from my online ACDF support group, what kind of activities and how quickly you can return to them can vary quite a lot depending on age, how in shape you were pre-surgery, the extent of your nerve damage, physical therapy, etc.

    I rode a couple times about 6 months later, just W/T/C and had no problems with the neck. Wish I could say the same about my knees :P I'm looking forward to my 1-year checkup soon.
    Snobbington Hunt clique - Whoopee Wagon Fieldmaster
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by equisusan View Post
    The frustrating part is that it took so long to get properly diagnosed and to try the non-surgical options that I'm now in the middle of my move back to the east coast so I'll have to get all new doctors to get this scheduled once I get there. A little more than frustrating.
    I hear you. My symptoms were mis-diagnosed as a rotator cuff injury for several months, and the pain just kept getting worse and worse. I had to move during physical therapy too. Definitely hire movers!
    Snobbington Hunt clique - Whoopee Wagon Fieldmaster
    Bostonians, join us at- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Boston_Equestrian
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by linquest View Post
    I had ACDF btw C5/C6 11 months ago. Instant relief post surgery! I used a surgeon Laurierace recommended, Dr. Paul McAffee, and he was fantastic. I definitely recommend physical therapy afterward; I think it makes a huge difference to your recovery. I actually have better range of motion now than before my surgery which is almost unheard of. Comparing experiences from my online ACDF support group, what kind of activities and how quickly you can return to them can vary quite a lot depending on age, how in shape you were pre-surgery, the extent of your nerve damage, physical therapy, etc.

    I rode a couple times about 6 months later, just W/T/C and had no problems with the neck. Wish I could say the same about my knees :P I'm looking forward to my 1-year checkup soon.
    So happy to hear that! He is awesome. And will be the first person to tell you so!


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    Well, if you are moving anywhere near Baltimore the choice is easy. I will give you my surgeons info.
    That would be great, thank you Laurie. I'll be in NoVA.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadia View Post
    I am having surgery on weds...terrified... L4 and 5 are going to be fused, and the back half of my vertebrae cut out to allow room for the cord and nerves...I am hoping to be abel to ride in 4-6 months...my "horse of a lifetime" in 18 years old and still in full work... The pre-op prep has been exhausting...good luck!
    Good luck Nadia. I'm sure your surgery will go well. Pay attention to what your surgeon wants you to do when after surgery. Give it time. Come back on here and tell us how you are doing.
    Last edited by equisusan; Mar. 17, 2014 at 11:39 PM.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by linquest View Post
    I had ACDF btw C5/C6 11 months ago. Instant relief post surgery! I used a surgeon Laurierace recommended, Dr. Paul McAffee, and he was fantastic. I definitely recommend physical therapy afterward; I think it makes a huge difference to your recovery. I actually have better range of motion now than before my surgery which is almost unheard of. Comparing experiences from my online ACDF support group, what kind of activities and how quickly you can return to them can vary quite a lot depending on age, how in shape you were pre-surgery, the extent of your nerve damage, physical therapy, etc.

    I rode a couple times about 6 months later, just W/T/C and had no problems with the neck. Wish I could say the same about my knees :P I'm looking forward to my 1-year checkup soon.
    Alright I'll give Dr McAffee a call when I get there. I realize that when I can ride is probably variable. I know they are looking for when the fusion is solid. I will definitely do PT. I can't imagine 6 weeks in a hard collar. I'll be stir crazy and ready to run after that. Ha ha. Where is this ACDF support group online? Us equestrians are tough so I imagine that helps.

    I was misdiagnosed with sero negative rheumatoid arthritis and shoulder arthritis and then everyone focused on severe carpal tunnel based on my symptoms but C5-6 and C6-7 were the culprits. New MRI and EMG were definitive. I need a 2 level fusion.

    Glad to hear you are doing so well. Good luck with your 1 year check up.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  15. #15
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    Default

    Best of luck to both equisusan and Nadia. equisusan, I can't speak about a cervical fusion - but Nadia, I've had L5-S1 fused, then L4-L5 fused 3.5 years later. You won't be on a horse in 6 months, especially if they have to do a lot of decompression (like they did with me). I was just getting back to work (ortho office medical asst.) in 6 months. My surgeon (both of them, different guys for each surgery) said absolutely NO riding whatsoever for 12 months. Your horse will be there (I know he's 18 - I brought my TB who hadn't been ridden in 4 years back into endurance trail work, regularly riding 12 miles a day, when he was 16 yrs old - and he was an "old" 16). Do Not do anything your doc tells you not to - it takes one freak accident to fall off and your fusion isn't quite "solid" at the 6 month point. Please feel free to PM with any questions, I'd be happy to share my experience.

    Best of luck to both of you!


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarynls View Post
    My surgeon (both of them, different guys for each surgery) said absolutely NO riding whatsoever for 12 months.
    Yes this is consistent with what I've heard for my cervical fusion as well. My surgeon and my brother who is also a spine surgeon both say just don't do it. Too risky.

    I have my heart horse who is 22 this year so I may lose an opportunity to show her again but 2013 was a good show year for us so that's ok. My youngster will go back into training and he'll just get more mileage and I'll practice my photography this year instead.

    Thank you tarynis.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  17. #17
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    It might be a bit of a ride and could take forever in traffic so schedule your appts. wisely, but here it is. He is worth the trouble! http://www.drmcafee.net/


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  18. #18
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    I've had back surgery, just a discectomy, but I do pretty well. There are flare ups maybe once a year now for me but it sounds like you are getting a better procedure done.

    Best wishes!
    My herd for life:
    King: 20 year old Foxtrotter gelding
    Ruais: 7 year old Friesian/Arabian mare
    http://imgur.com/a/LSPiJ#0


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  19. #19
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    Jun. 20, 2013
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    My boss has had two cervical fusions, and his latest one was with the new procedure. He's mostly pain free, the numbness in his hands and arms is gone, his range of motion is good, and he's super happy with it. Definite improvement in his quality of life, and he was probably where he'd be riding in about 12-16 weeks post surgery, if he rode, lol.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by romewhip View Post
    My boss has had two cervical fusions, and his latest one was with the new procedure. He's mostly pain free, the numbness in his hands and arms is gone, his range of motion is good, and he's super happy with it. Definite improvement in his quality of life, and he was probably where he'd be riding in about 12-16 weeks post surgery, if he rode, lol.
    What new procedure? My surgeon says I'll be back to normal life after the hard collar comes off after 6 weeks. You may feel like you can ride but the docs don't want you doing any activities where you could fall or otherwise hurt your neck for a year. It's not that you can't physically ride it's that the damage could be catastrophic if you fall off before it's fully fused at one year.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



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