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ACDF post-op incision questions

surgerysoonssurgerysoon Posts: 28
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I'm a 34 Y/O AM female 4 days post C4-5 ACDF . My incision was closed with an internal stich and derma bond. I took my bandage off yesterday. My NS F/U apt is in 2 weeks. I'm wondering how to treat my incision in the meantime. :-)

1. Should I leave it uncovered? If, so how long?
2. Should I apply anything on it?
3. What should I use to prevent or reduce scaring?
4. Did you use cocoa butter?

I'm having some incisional pain which is to be expected. The incision also feels very tight, almost restricting neck movement and I can see my heart beat by looking at the incision. Is this normal? What should I expect?

Thanks! D
C5-6 ACDF 9-2011
C4-5 ACDF 11-2014


  • It is too early to start applying anything to your incision. You might cause irritation or infection. Did you NS say it was okay to take your bandage off? I honestly don't remember exactly when mine came off. Just make sure that you allow it to air dry and keep moisture away for now. Good luck! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • my surgeon had me continue to keep a bandage on until my follow up, which was 10 days out. He also had steri-strips on mine though. He took them off at follow up visit also. If there is any question I would definitely give a call to their office, I'm sure they would be glad to let you know their procedures.

    I didn't start applying anything to my scar till about a month out, and that was just an antibiotic cream, but i'm really not to worried about scars at this point, I pretty much look like frankenstien now.
  • I found my dIscharge instructions: Remove dressing in 24-48 hrs. Then keep clean (use soap & water) and dry.

    I guess I'm just over thinking it. :ss


    C5-6 ACDF 9-2011
    C4-5 ACDF 11-2014
  • Did you have a bandage and then steri strips? That's what I had. The bandage could come of in 24 hours, the steri strips had to stay on as long as possible, which ended up being a week.

    I had numbness from the bottom of my chin to the incision. Currently 3 months post op I still have some numbness but it does not go all the way to my chin.

    I wouldn't put anything on the incision yet. I am sure you could call and ask your surgeon just to be safe.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • I had to take my bandage off daily and wash with antibiotic soap over the steri strips, then rebandage until first follow up, but every surgeon is different.
  • NS just used dermabond (glue) & bandage. I took the bandage off as instructed and am going to just keep clean/dry.
    C5-6 ACDF 9-2011
    C4-5 ACDF 11-2014
  • I started to use Mederma for my scar about 2 months post-op and continued for 2-3 months. My scar is barely noticeable. People tell me all the time that they wouldn't have know I had surgery if I didn't point out the scar. Not really sure if it was because of the Mederma, but why not give it a try?
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • So, it sounds like I just need to be patient and not rush the healing process. Ok, ok :). I don't want an infection, so I can do that!

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

    C5-6 ACDF 9-2011
    C4-5 ACDF 11-2014
  • Hi- surgerysoon and I both had our surgeries the same day- so I'm about 8 days out.. I had internal stitches w steri strips- the NP who works w my NS told me that the steri strips could come off in a wk, which they did (started falling off).. So now I have a swollen incision which just looks gross but I'm keeping it clean etc. My chiropractor months back recommended I try wheat germ oil on a tattoo I had that my skin was rejecting the ink from- to reduce scar tissue. I bought a bottle of capsules and like fish oil, I opened them and squeezed the oil onto my tattoo- it healed w almost zero scarring.. She mentioned it again re: incision.. Since my skin is normally really dry, I've been putting some of that oil on it when I get out of the shower & it's been keeping it from feeling dry & itchy. Not sure if anyone has tried this- or is it too early for me to do this? I will take a break from it tomorrow & see how it goes..

    Also- how long is it supposed to be swollen for? I've never had an incision before so I'm not used to this healing process..

  • I am 3 weeks post op and have a clear dressing which my NS said not to take off. He said to let it just come off on its own. It's still holding strong. He was happy with how my incision looked, but it looks scary to me-swollen and ugly.

    I finally went to my hair dresser yesterday. I couldn't lay in the shampoo bowl long enough to wash the color out of my hair because it hurt too much to do it, so they had to wrap my head in a towel and let me go home to shower. As I was leaving, an elderly lady said, "Sweetheart, I think you've got a bunch of color on your neck." It took me a sec to understand what she was talking about. Kind of embarrassing for both of us, lol.
  • i was told wash dura bond after 1 week and the stitches are ok but i feel them coming out

    im 50 days post op lol im counting so i can take my brace off

    the scar will actually not be that bad and its always a good story teller

    i ad a c3-t2 acdf
  • I was told to leave mine uncovered whilst at home to let it breathe and help it to stay dry etc. To cover it when in the shower or going out.

    I've also been told to soak my steri-strips off after 2 weeks using warm water and to keep the incision covered when out until the swelling starts to go down.

    I hope that helps!
  • Hi I had an ACDF 10 days ago. Had my stitches taken out 3 days ago! Well I don't know if this is normal but the incision is swelling and turning red. I don't have a fever. But I am worried about an infection. It is very tender to the touch. So I put a large bandage over the site and then I am using an ice pack . Hoping to bring the swelling down. It also feels like bugs are crawling over it but they are not. Its driving me crazy. So if this is normal how long will this last. It is Friday evening my doctors office is closed for the weekend. It has me a little worried.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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