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Halo, Hard collar or Soft collar after c5 through c7 fusion?

spinaltapsspinaltap Posts: 50
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I will be going in for my surgical consult Thursday and I was wondering which of these to expect? Anybody know? Also, how long did you wait to drive? I have a 2 hour commute to work everyday, wondering how long it will take me to get back to work.


  • The collar will depend on your surgeon. Each surgeon is different, I had ACDF C5/6 and my surgeon did not recommend wearing a collar.
    I could drive after 4 weeks, but did not feel comfortable. Unfortunately, driving depends on how you are feeling and that is different with everyone. I started driving around 8 weeks, but did not drive much until about 4 months. But like I said everyone if different and it will depend on your recovery.
    I hope this helps. Take care and keep us posted.
  • My surgery was ACDF C6-7 with titanium plating in July. I wore a collar 24/7 except to shower and had soft collar for wearing around the house but had an Aspen Vista hard collar to sleep and ride in cars. No driving for me for 6 weeks.
  • I only had a single level ACDF (C5C6) and I had no collar post op. My NS doesn't believe in collars. He feels the internal hardware holds everything in place better than an external collar and the atrophy resulting from immobility actually weakens the neck, impedes healing, and drastically reduces final ROM. But different doctors have their different opinions.

    I was driving at 2 weeks, back at work full time at 4 weeks and totally pain-free at 2 months with no loss of ROM.
  • I had an Aspen collar that I wore 24/7 for two weeks. No driving for about 6 weeks, I was off work for 3 months. Good luck to you! :)
  • I had ACDF 5-6-7 in 2005 and had no collar. Was told not to drive for 2 weeks. I don't work so I can't comment on that one.

    Just had second ACDF 4-5 7 weeks ago and no collar. I was allowed to drive after 1 week and it wasn't bad.

    Every doctor is different though.

    Good Luck!

  • Soft collar with my first ACDF C5 to T1. Was initially told it would be for 2 weeks, then told 2 more, then 2 more. Can't really remember if it was 6 or 8 weeks that I wore it. Bottom line though, I didn't fuse and ended up needing a revision.

    2nd surgery I was in a hard aspen collar. Wore this for 6 weeks 100% of the time (even in shower) and then weaned off of it over the next 2-3 weeks.

    Maybe it depends on how much work you have done. I don't know. But I would follow my doctors advice and wear it for even longer if it would help with a successful fusion.

    Just a word of caution. I know someone who was supposed to wear a hard collar post op (one level). If you are going to wear it, wear it properly, as I saw this person turning her head multiple times while wearing the collar. She didn't have it on tight enough. She is now facing a revision, which I wonder would have been prevented had she worn the collar as prescribed. Don't know and it does no good to second guess things, but if you are supposed to be using one, please use it properly. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. sorry for the rant.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Isn't it fun showering in the Aspen collar? *not*

    Agree about adjusting it correctly. The ortho guy at the hospital came to my room before I was discharged and cinched mine up. "There, that's how it should feel" Hated it, but I wore it like I should.
  • I was fitted for Aspen collar pre-op. When I put it on day of surgery to "try it out" it seemed to be too large. Post op the first few days were very difficult with the hard collar. My chin kept "slipping" under the front of the collar and the sides overlapped a lot. 5 days post op I went back to the "brace people" and was re-fitted with a better collar that had an adjustable front piece - called the Aspen Vista. What a life saver - fit really well and had a dial that is used to adjust the height of the front of the brace where your chin sits. Good fit with a hard collar is important.
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