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After neck fusion who wears their brace 100% faithfully

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
OK let's be honest here. every case and every surgeon is different when it comes to direction and instruction regarding cervical collars post fusion. we all know this. there is no documented proof or study done that even says wearing a cervical collar after fusion is necessary, beneficial or needed.

i personally had c1 c2 fusion twice. i was told to wear this collar for three months (6 more weeks to go). however . . . i do take it off to shower, when i get in from walks to massage my muscles and when i am watching tv.

be honest here people!! how faithful are u to your neck brace or collar??


  • I only have to wear my soft collar while driving according to my doctors instructions. I wear it most of the time,but there are times I forget to put it on before driving. When I realise I have forgotten it I am nervous until I am out of the car. I just keep thinking what if someone hits me from behind. I do try to wear it everytime I am in a car.
  • roxy roxy roxy :D

    i only had the 1 level. i was allowed to take it off when i felt at the 4wk mark. i wore it on and off. i found other says to keep my head straight.
    example pillows. i would always sleep in it I) I) I)
    but while i was up and about in the house i would have it off.
    back on while in the car with someone or going for a long trip as the MALL ;)
    it was pretty much second nature to keep my head straight.
    and pretty much to my knowledge :B that is all that the collar is used for same is with the back brace . so that you do not twist, bend unexpected :O which as we all know can cause unexpected strange feelings or pain.

    same with my NEW SHINEY ok not shiney but black back waist brace for my back. its still sitting in my bedroom. i will only use it when i know i will be sitting up , going somewhere or doing waist level housework. why wear it any other time??? :/ if i am not doing anything to warrent a injury O:) i think that is why i did not have so many issues in the shower, etc after the ACDF because he allowed me to take it off so early. :/ and i started PT at 4wks which was heaven , sore yes, but relieved to get that muscle tone back ahhhhhhhhhhhh :X :X

    hope this is what you were looking for!!!

    NOTE: This is my opinion only and nothing to do with the medical field ;) ;)
  • I faithfully wore my collar for the six weeks. I was allowed to take it off only to shower otherwise soft collar around the house, aspen collar in the car and at night. Because I changed from soft to hard collar I think it was easier.
  • Since this was my 2nd surgery and I never want to do it again, I worse my aspen collar 24/7. Had a different one to shower in. At about 6 weeks I was able to remove it when sitting and eventually wean off of it. So yes, I was very strict about it. Didn't want to jeopardize the fusion process after having a failed fusion the first time around.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • roxy54321 said:
    OK let's be honest here. every case and every surgeon is different when it comes to direction and instruction regarding cervical collars post fusion.
    Hi Roxy,
    Somewhere on here I have a post on the subject of collar or nno collar post cervical surgery. My surgeon is one of those who do not believe in using neck collars after surgery and I had a 3 level with plates and screws so there was a lot of neck involved. I researched my doctor and was impressed with him and the practice he works in. He "claims" that he has never had a failed fusion. He also uses the bone stimulator to promote bone growth after surgery. I guestioned him on the "never seen a failed fusion" because I felt that was quite a claim. He said he has not had a failed fusion but he has had to do revisions so its not like he said that all of his surgeries were 100% successful. Anyway I am getting off topic and what I wanted to say was that my doctor says that collars cause the muscles in the neck to atropy and folks end up having to do a lot of work to regain or build neck strength after they stop using collars. Since I am only 4.5 weeks post surgery I have yet to form my own opinion on the results. Not using a collar is scary but hopefully this will all work out for me. One last thing, I have tried to find studies on the collar/no collar questions but have had no luck.
  • i had posterior with rods screws and wire c1 c2. hurt like hell. the burning pain as everyone mentioned was brutal.

    i have been in this collar since July. my muscles are weak. very.

    my doc said 99% fusion rate. but again i had it twice too . . .lol.

    i will reassess this collar thing when i see him again on oct 31.
  • I have worn my collar 24/7 since august 26 and will wear it until dec 1, I take if off after I shower to change the pads to dry ones, (I sit still while my husband changes the pad... I have rods, plates and screws and have 3 fusions on the front and 3 on the back.. I still have a long way to go , this is my second surgery, Im not taking any chances... I hate it but Im using it...
  • hi roxy my ns had me wear a hard collar even in the shower for the first two months. at the doc visits they would change the pads :sick: for me. i think the 3 month i was allowed to shower without it =D> . i still wear a soft collar after talking to my ns about it, for car rides on bumpy roads, doing small things that would tend to have my neck move to its limits, and in my little fishing boat (not yet) on the lake. i will always follow my ns medical advice and do what i can to prevent another surgery. i wish u a speedy recovery and a prayer for u also.
  • Hi Roxy,
    I wore and wear my collar at a 100% compliance as this was the forth surgery. I have the Miami J collar and while i don't have to wear any longer in the day still sleeping with the collar. Surgeons use collars based on what the diagnosis is and the type of hardware as well as the product they are using to fuse with. In my opinion after going through the surgery the least thing i could do to insure myself a easier recovery was to comply with the surgeons orders. I furthermore have complied with all the lifting restrictions as well as the use of the meds.
  • I only had a soft-collar, but I wore it 24/7 except when in the shower. My NS said after my 1-week post-op check-up that I could shower and remove it then only, and not to turn my neck side to side when it was off.

    After my x-rays, I was informed I could lose the collar as everything was holding, and starting to fuse.

    I'm going to say it is tough sometimes to do what we are told, especially when we start feeling better. However, I did everything just as I was instructed, and I am feeling like NOTHING was ever wrong with my neck right now.

    Of course, I only had one level done, c6-c7, and a soft-collar, so who really knows what these collars really do for us.
  • I'm interested in your question because I discussed the need for a collar with my NR also (although I don't go in for my first, and hopefully only, surgery until tomorrow). I know my propensity to push envelopes, disregard instruction from others and do what feels good, so I was concerned...

    I'm in for C6/7 ACDF, so a little different than the C1/2 where stress from mobility would seem higher. NR basically told me that in my case, he likes taking the "belt and suspenders" approach. I respect it, but I imagine I'll be like I've seen above and wear it more when I'm mobile.

    I imagine I'll also be more careful with this than I have been with anything else, given what's at stake (and my desire not to be back in for a 2nd op).
  • adabulldog

    let me know how u make out with your surgery. fill me in on the collar business too. i am nine weeks post op and i feel pretty good. i go for a ct scan on dec 01 and see my NS dec 4. in collar until dec 4.

    good luck with surgery.
  • I posted a similar comment under the "Collar-no Collar" thread, but I'll summarize again here. My NS (a professor at a teaching hospital who specializes in cervical neck instrumentation and has over 30 years surgery experience) doesn't believe in collars post-op. Like LJ's doctor, he believes the atrophy and lost ROM cause more problems with the patient in the long run. He feels the instrumentation hold my vertebrae in place better than any external device would, anyways.

    I went home without a collar (single level ACDF with cadaver bone) and I am doing fabulous 3 weeks post-op. I have better ROM than before surgery, and I am back to work part time. I have only had one muscle relaxer and no pain meds in the last two days. I was told to move my neck slowly and carefully in all directions from day one. My only restrictions are no activities that bounce, twist, jolt, etc. my head and no lifting over 10 pounds. I had no external sutures to remove so my first post-op visit is Dec 11. It turned winter here in the West last week, so we've already had icy roads. As a precaution, I took it upon myself to wear a soft collar while driving. I don't need a rear-end collision to mess up the wonderful job my surgeon did!
  • I followed my NS instructions to the "T" when it came to my cervical collar, already had went through a L4,L5,S1 fusion a few years earlier and had really good results with that, and I followed my surgeons instructions completely with regards to the back brace. I just wanted to make sure that I did everything I could to heal as fast as possible. Had really good results on the C5,C6,C7 fusion and implementation up until I was involved in a MVA last December just before Christmas.
  • My daughter is 28 yrs old and has been told by several neurosurgeons that she needs a C1-2 cervical fusion. Since you have had such a fusion, I was wondering what to expect. Will she be able to turn her head to the right and left? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
  • What to expect after c1,2 fusion. Thanks
  • After my first fusion, they didnt make me wear a collar. When i had the posterior decompression, I had a soft collar. I wore it all the time. Without it, it felt like I couldnt hold my head up for about 4 weeks. I only took it off to shower and I had to sleep in recliner for a month because of it, but laying flat hurt more. Looking at a revision on my first fusion July 23rd and gonan tell the surgeon I WANT the collar this time. Seems to help with supporting my head. I also wore a bone stimulator 4 hours a day that hung around my neck. That was way more uncomfortable for me than the collar.

  • When I had my fusion I had 2 levels done and wore mine for the full 3 months except for showering. I have since had a laminectomy and when i woke up i had a soft collar on. I am instructed to wear it 1 week, then when I drive or am on the computer. I have followed all instructions because I am trying to avoid more operations. :) I am being honest i swear. My sister had 1 level done and only had to wear hers 1 month, she listened also. :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Hi there,
    I had c5-6 fusion two weeks ago. I had to wear a hard collar for the first 9 days, except when showering. The ortho told me it was to give the soft tissue around my neck a chance to recuperate. I would say for the 6 days I was pretty faithful. I began to take it off more when sitting after that point (though I was scared to death I was going to sneeze...not sure what I thought would happen). When I saw him on Day 9 I was told I don't need the hard collar. I only need to wear a soft collar when in a car or doing anything that may be jarring for 4 weeks, then I'm done!
  • I was told to wear the hard collar for 3 months 24/7. While, naturally, it came off to wash and change to a clean one, I wore it as I was told. I was too scared not to follow doctors orders. I researched surgeons to be sure I found the best for me and therefore, I followed everything I was told.
  • I had to wear my metal brace for 2 weeks to sleep or bathe in. I kept it on the whole time, except for a few minutes I took it off sitting in the recliner. I had no idea what to expect but I thought my head was going to roll off. Obviously it didn't. =)

    But I did wear it without fail other than the one time I cheated.
  • i was given a collar but told to use it only for the first four weeks when i was mobile and doing things just incase something happened and when i was in the car besides that i didn't have to wear it at all.
  • faithfully i wore mine four 5 months strict orders from my surgeon
  • We all discussed this many times back during the winter months so I'm glad to see the conversation continuing. My first surgery my ortho didn't believe in collars so when I woke up in recovery I immediately had the nurse remove it. I didn't understand why I even had it on. It was a Miami J. I fused completely in 3 months without the aid of a collar. Surgery number 2 last week dr. prescribed a soft collar for 4 weeks to hopefully help with muscle spasms. That's his only reason for usig them. He's not afraid that anything is going to move. It's simply for comfort.I wear it when in the car or when I know my neck needs a break. For the most part I'm sitting in my recliner and am not overly concerned about anything moving. As the doctor stated I have enough hardware in there that he isn't afraid of movement. So now I've met doctors on both sides of the issue.
  • Hi. My Name is Nicky from South Africa. I had Cervical fusion done in the same area in August 2007 after being involved in a car accident. Most of us are lucky to be alive after suffering injuries at this level. Your daughter will not gain 100% movement in the neck as i have not. The procedure is very painfull but worth doing as this area is just at the base of the skull. You will have to be strong for her & doctor usually prescribes total bed rest for a while and then onto a neck collar. My neck collar i use now when i travel as a seat belt holds at the chest area and not the neck, so whiplash is dangerous. The pain gets better after the first 4 wks but she will be fine.It was really painfull but doctor will prescribe pain meds. Good Luck & hope she gets better soon.
  • I used mine for 6 months full & did not take chances. I was head set on not going back for another operation due to me not listening to doctors orders. Wow the pain was tooo much not to listen.
  • First had c6-c7 fusion in 1994. Wore the neck brace for 6 weeks, except for showering. Now just got done with a 2nd surgery c5-c6, and c7-t1. Fusion and plates anterior. I have 2 braces. one for normal wear for approx 12 weekes, and one for showering. I plan on following all instructions to the letter. I do not want another surgery if at all possible. Both of these were vital for pain relief..
  • I have not any surgery yet, but spend time in the forums just preparing. I could not imagine not wearing a collar when sleeping. I move around way too much not to wear one.
  • I woke up from surgery wearing a hard collar, but had expected that collar to be soft, since this is what he had told me prior to surgery. I was given another hard collar to switch to when I needed to wash the other, and a very soft 2 inch collar, that would give me as much support as a turtle neck sweater that I could switch to. Knowing in my heart that this collar was wrong, and even though my daughter went to a surgical supply store and bought me a more appropriate soft collar, for the first 10 days till I saw the surgeon I only wore the hard collar. I was told that I could shower with no collar. At my first post op visit he agreed that the 2 inch soft collar was the wrong collar to give me, and he gave me a 4 inch much harder soft collar. I wore that soft collar (except for showers) and while in the car wore the hard collar as I was told. After the 5 week visit I was told that I could wean myself from using a collar, which is what I am still doing, but while in the car I am still using a hard collar which he told me to do.

    I want to drive, have been doing my own exercises with my neck for the last 2 weeks since I stopped PT and have increased my ROM a lot, I am going back to PT next week. I am now 7 1/2 weeks post op and don't have an appointment to see him till Nov. 18, till then he told me to wear the hard collar in the car. I am not sure what to do about driving. I want to listen to his instructions about wearing the hard collar in the car, but If I start driving before my next visit, when I drive I will wear a soft collar, but will only go short distances, and will continue to wear the hard collar when I am a passenger.

    When do most with 1 level fusion start to drive. I did have a myelopathy, I have regained a significant amount of strength back in my arms, and legs since surgery. I still have some old pain, plus have new pain, but still want to drive sooner then Nov. 18, just not sure yet if I will.


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