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ACDF this Monday - questions

precsmmtspprecsmmts Posts: 52
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am having a 1-level ACDF on Monday of c5-c6, with hardware. My doctor is putting me in a Miami J collar for 3-4 weeks. I am really getting super nervous now, and making myself crazy trying to picture what life is going to be like afterward. I've been reading everyone's posts for the past few weeks, and they have been very helpful! I do have a few questions though about how to do some of the everyday things...

What is the best way to brush your teeth? Wash hair? Brush hair? (I have curly hair that is just below shoulder length) How about putting on a bra?

I welcome any and all advice.

Thanks so much!



  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hi Tina,
    I understand your apprehension, been there and now I am glad I had it done.
    I'll answer all of your questions by saying, "very carefully" however I can not
    truthfully answer the last one, no experience.
    All kidding aside please try to stay positive and upbeat through this new
    adventure come Monday. I wish you the very best and take care of yourself.
  • hi tina

    you will be fine. we were all nervous too but you will be so relieved when it's over. your questions....
    i never had trouble brushing my teeth.
    i wore some older, looser bras for a bit. fastened them in front then turned them around.
    washing my hair was difficult for the 1st few wks. i normally do it every day but ended up doing every other day cuz it took so much out of me. it will get easier in a few wks. you will figure out the easiset way to brush it... i found holding my upper arms close to my body made it easier.

    best of luck to you and remember everyone is different, listen to your body and you will do fine.

  • I never wore any collar after my surgery...but I agree, you should be fine. I found it hard to tilt my head back in the shower at first, but it gets better with time. I had the same level as you done. One important thing to remember is to have plenty of straws for your drinks! That helped me as ice water, other drinks were so important for me to have. (bendy straws are the best). Wishing you the best!!!!
  • I'm almost 3 weeks post op with no collar and I've been showering normally for the last 2 weeks. The first week I sat in the shower and used a hand held shower head. I use two cups for brushing my teeth, one cup for water and the other to spit in. I put my hair in a pony tail everyday. I do not have the energy to straighten it. My hair is past my shoulders.

    Good luck with the surgery. You will be surprised how much you can do yourself after the surgery. The one thing I really used the most was a 12 inch wedge pillow. It was a life saver for me and I slept on the couch with it for 2 1/2 weeks.
  • I know surgery is nerve wracking, but after it's over, I'm betting that you'll feel like most of us cervical spineys - that the anticipation is worse than the surgery itself. I wore the Miami J collar for 4 weeks also, then a soft collar for 8 more weeks. I liked the hard collar because it made me feel like my neck was safe and protected, but you might get a little hot under the collar (pun intended).

    When I brushed my teeth, I used the tub that they had in my room - I just held it under my chin and spit in it.

    I had my hair cut to just above shoulder length and, as it's naturally wavy, I just fluffed it and left it. And as for washing my hair (luckily I only wash it twice a week) and showers in general, I had a chair for the bathtub and my hubby gave me my showers and washed my hair until the hard collar came off.

    You're going to do fine. As it usually does, time will pass very quickly and before you know it it will all be overwith. Good luck on Monday and I look forward to seeing your post-op post.

  • Hey Tina,

    I can truly appreciate your apprehension. In my situation, I didn't have any anxiety until the day before surgery.

    Its been eleven days since my c6-c7 surgery. As an example of my activity level, I just finished walking my dog for approx one mile.

    My doc gave me a soft collar to wear after discharge from the hospital. At home i only wear it if it makes me more comfortable. When I'm out and about, I wear it as a precaution.

    For me...after hospital discharge I slept in a recliner for about five days. The first couple days were tougher mentally than physically. I was very worried about falling, overdoing it, etc. Looking back over the past week,my biggest obstacle has been trying to relax.

    The only surprise came when I was watching TV in my recliner without wearing the collar...I sneezed. I laugh about it now, but the sneeze made me a little uncomfortable for a few hours. It wasn't terrible pain, but more of an achy feeling.

    Good Luck and be sure to let us know how things go. I have me first post-op appointment tomorrow.
  • Thanks so much for the ideas and good thoughts. Off to the hospital - wish me luck!
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