Post op swallowing issue

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Raew64333
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 10/27/2017 2:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone!! Saw my NS today for my incision.. Have 2 abscess small but in incision. Round of antibiotics should be fine.
Still having swallowing issues at 6 weeks from my 4 level acdf surgery.. Sending me to specialist. I may have band of scar tissue built up from my first surgery many years ago and new scar tissue forming.
Possible to stretch esophagus and resolve the issue.. Anyone out there?
I am doing quite well otherwise.. The normal things we experience after this type of surgery. I am learning to listen to my muscles. Not do certain things.
Easy does it.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15149
   Posted 10/27/2017 5:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Raew, sorry to read about the abscesses found in the incision. Hopefully the antibiotics will will knock out the infection pretty quick. Are you going to be seeing an ENT? Swallowing issues seem to go hand in hand with this surgery. Some members say their problem resolves about 6 weeks post op, it just depends on the person. Our other moderator here, WhiteBeard, has some pretty tough issues too. Hopefully, when he checks in he will see your post here.

Yes, listening to your body with your recovery is a must. Glad to read that other than the swallowing issue you are on the right track. You can also use the search feature at the top, type in swallowing issues after ACDF & will be able to pull up threads from members to read.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Raew64333
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 10/27/2017 7:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for reply.. Seeing spealist not sure if ENT.. I assume so..

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3670
   Posted 10/27/2017 11:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Raew64333, after my first ACDF at C6/7 in 1985 I completely lost my voice for well over 3 months and had swallowing difficulties and laryngeal spasms (retching and gagging episodes) for year and years afterwards, over time it has become less and less but even now if I strain my neck to much it will come back. I was told by an ENT doctor back in 2009 when I was having a second ACDF done, (this time at C5/6 the disc above my previous fusion) that my vocal cords on the right side were still partially paralyzed from my first ACDF! That ENT doctor said he was surprised that more people didn't have problems like mine from having that Surgery! He said that by doing the ACDF they have to move the throat and everything out of the way to get at the anterior cervical spine and this often stretches and damages the nerves that innervates the vocal cords and muscles of the throat. Hopefully your swallowing problems are only temporary and the nerves will finally regenerate and heal themselves. My voice came back, but the swallowing difficulties and laryngeal never did completely resolve it self! And I seen many many Doctors and specialist about it, without resolution,!

So anyway I can and do empathize with your situation, and I wish you all the best, and hope this proves to be only a temporary condition, for you!!!

Good luck to You! And again I wish you all the Best!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Raew64333
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 10/28/2017 8:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks whitehead.. I appreciate your info. I hope you are doing better in life as I have read a lot of your posts.. Hope life is treating you well .. If you get bored feel free to send me email to chat. I have so much time on my hands I get bored silly!!
Hard when I have so many limitations at present.

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4906
   Posted 10/28/2017 1:28 PM (GMT -7)   
I had the op 4 years ago, fused 3-4. I couldn't talk or swallow for a week or so. After a month it got better, but I still have a fair amount of difficulty swallowing. I avoid hard foods like crusty bread, beef, and rice, and I can only swallow the smallest pills, although I can swallow 4 tiny ones at a time.

I find swallowing things like pills is easier if I don't use water, but have something like milk or my coffee or tea with milk in it.

Since it's a nerve issue, I doubt stretching the esophagus would help, unless your doctor takes a look and says it's really tight. Then I would get a second opinion, maybe a neurologist.

I think most of us don't know if there is anything to do about this, so we don't complain. Doctors ignore the issue. Nothing I have ever taken for other nerve issues, leg muscle spasms, central cord syndrome, nerve pain, spinal cord pain, etc., has ever helped my throat.

Raew64333
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 10/28/2017 7:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I thank all info given to me.. I have a really good neurosurgeon. He is staying on top of any issue I explain to him. He is not waiting months to see if it improves. He is taking action.. So will see here what happens. I know a lot of docs want to wait.. During the wait time we suffer. I like his aggressive approach to my issues. Will let you know what happens..
Thanks to all replies.

(Seashell)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 675
   Posted 10/28/2017 7:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Raew:
Difficulty in swallowing following acdf surgery is usually due to a transient traction or stretch injury to the vagal nerve when the surgeons move the throat structures to gain access to the cervical vertebrae.

If this is the case for you, then time and patience will be your best friend. It can take several months for traction/stretch nerve injury to recover.

Thickened liquids will be easier to swallow than thin or clear liquids. In addition, soft and moist foods (ex. maccaroni and cheese, cream of wheat cereal, creamed chicken) will be easier to swallow than hard and dry food choices (ex. a piece of toast, a cracker, a slice of beef).

That’s fantastic that your neurosurgeon is taking your expressed swallowing challenges seriously. You are blessed to have an attentive provider.
Karen
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

Post Edited ((Seashell)) : 10/29/2017 5:06:11 PM (GMT-6)


Raew64333
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 10/31/2017 12:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for responses.. I treasure the info you have shared.

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3670
   Posted 11/4/2017 10:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Raew64333 I hope your doing well! I do hope you'll keep us all informed of ""hopefully "" progress and improvement of your condition. I do hope the doctors can do something for you!


White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.
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