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How Long Before Returning To Work

WandtmacWWandtmac Posts: 122
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am scheduled for Surgery this Thurs 9-3-09 for removal of c5 and fusion. How was it before you returned to work? They are saying a recovery time of 3 to 4 months? I do work at a desk job typing for the most part of the day and the rest of my time on the phone. I am just wondering how long it takes to regain full use of your arm after surgery? I have lost all feeling in the arm. No reflect movement and no muscle contraction in my bicep right now. Just looking for everyones experience.


  • is different...youll just have to wait it out. first things first...just hope arm comes back...i will be wishing the best for you....pete
  • Yeah I am justing waitin for Thursday to get here and hopefully I can get some sleep right after the surgery. But if any indication of the past 9 surgeries it will be awhile before I get a good nights sleep. Right now I am suffering from sweats, chills and constant trips to the bathroom so rest is not a possiblity. Just scared this is going to turn into a permanent disability.
    Thanks for the well wishes... I am lucky to had found this site. Alot of good advice and sharing here.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Recovering from Cervical surgery (ACDF) is generally shorter in time then lumbar surgery. So that translates into a short time before you can return to work. But the actual time frame will vary from patient to patient. The 2-3 month period is a good guideline.
    Years ago with almost all ACDF surgeries the patient would be using a hard collar up to 7 weeks. Many doctors today are not doing that.
    That feeling or loss of feeling in your arm would generally be associated with some nerve damage. Nerve problems take longer to heal than the actual fusion.

    To me the bigger problem you will be faced with (and their are solutions) is working at a desk. Working with a computer will put some strain on your neck as well as the phone. A phone solution would be using a comfortable head set so you dont physically have to hold the phone to your ear.
    As far as the computer work, the best thing to do is get up every 45 minutes or so, stretch, take a little stroll, but take from 5 to 10 minutes before returning to your deck
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • If this is easier than my low back fusion at L4-5 L5-S1 then my recover shouldnt been too bad if I can get my feeling back in my arm. My low back surgery was at extreme need. I couldnt walk and lost all feeling below my waist. Wasnt an accident and never knew what caused that problem. They expected me to have a recovery time of 12 weeks, I returned to work in 3 weeks. Couldnt believe the relief I felt when I awoke from that surgery.
    This surgery is scaring me a little due to it came about so quickly. Same as before, no known cause and I went for MRI to NS in a matter of 3 days. Numbness happened last week and they almost opted to do surgery this past weekend but I asked for a few days to get my life in order. I had to agree if symptoms worsened to get to the ER!
    Thanks again and take care
  • I was 100% fused at 4 months, but I went back to work after 6 weeks. I work at a desk, too, and as long as you have everything changed over ergonomically.... you should be ok. You just want to make sure everything is at arm level, don't pickup anything or bending. I also had the arms removed on my chair, and had a book holder added in front of my monitor.

    I'm 47yrs... and I commute 75 miles round trip everyday. Driving was more of an issue than the desk job! So I changed my hours to come in early and leave before traffic got bad.
  • The good part is that my desk was setup by our HR dept after my 2002 surgery as a ergonically correct desk. They paid a small fortune for the Leap chair they bought me. I guess I am more concerned about what I am going to do if I dont get the feeling back in my hands. I cant see me keying all day at work with one hand. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I am not sure how damaged this is yet but I know they told me maybe 12 weeks before returning because the muscles is so weakened in that arm and they dont know how much or long PT will be needed. Just wishing for the best for now.

    On another note...EVERYONE on here is so friendly and quick to help. Great support system!
  • Good luck to you. If you went back to work at three weeks after a two level fusion, I think you must be a quick healer!!

    Hopefully this surgery will go as well and you will have the same excellent results.
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