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Why do some have hard/soft collars for 6 weeks or 5 months??

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Someone asked that on the cervical site, but it was buried in a post about someone's surgery. Thought that it was a good question and someone here might have some insight.

Anyone know the reason why different neuro's have different opinions on which collar and for how long?


  • There seems to be a wide range between different surgeons. I have never understood it.

    With surgery #1 I had a soft collar. At first the surgeon said I would be wearing it for 2 weeks. That turned into about 8-10 weeks (can't remember exactly how long).

    Different surgeon did surgery #2. I was in a hard collar 24/7 for the first 6 weeks, even when showering. When the 6 week x-rays looked good, Dr. said I could slowly wean off of it over the next few weeks. I am now 9 weeks post op today, and only wear a soft collar for support when my neck is tired and needs that extra support. Usually only a couple of hours a day, and I hope to be not using one at all soon.

    For whatever reason, surgery #1 did not fuse. I decided when surgeon #2 told me to wear a hard collar, I would stay in it as long as he recommends, even it if were months and months, because I don't want to have another failed fusion.

    I have no idea what determines the length of time or type of collar worn. Dr. preference? Experience? Old school-new school? If anyone has asked their surgeon why it differs so much, I too would love to hear what you have learned.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • This is a good question. My OS and NS after my first surgery wanted me to use my hard collar while I was in a car or out in public, but when I was home, they wanted me to use my soft collar as needed, but not to rely on it. I guess it had to do with the fusion that was done(2 level). After my second surgery, the hard collar was to be on while I was in a car , out in public and sleeping for the first week. I was able to wear my soft collar when I was not doing anything at all, and after the the first week I was to use it as needed. The hard collar was used in the car for about 6 weeks. I had much more surgery done the second time, hardware removed and 2 more levels fused and a 3 level laminectomy which made more use of the hard collar. I still think it is more doctor related than anything, there seems to be a wide range of times and what collars are used. I'll check with my OS tomorrow at my next visit to see what he has to say about it.

  • didn't wear a collar at all....just thought I would throw in a third scenario there... ;) I have no idea why either but I do agree with what Cindy is saying... :)
  • I will wear the hard collar 3 weeks then change to a soft collar. Strange??
  • I'd just do whatever the surgeon tells you to do, after all...he was the one poking around inside your neck.

    I wore a hard neck brace for a month before the surgery. After the surgery he switche me to a soft collar for roughly 3 weeks then I weaned off of it.

    Good luck with your surgery :)

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