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Cervical fusion 8 months after lumbar fusion, advice?

Hi everyone. I had L3-L4 fusion with a cage and disectomy this past December (spondylolesthesis due to degenerative disease...47 year old female). Overall that has been awesome! I flare up big time during nasty storms, but other than that I feel as if I got my life back! But now my neck is giving me grief and I am scheduled for C4-C6 fusion at the end of August.

My left thumb went numb with severe pins and needles up and down my arm, horrible pain in the deltoid and bad neck and shoulder spasms...this lasted about 6 weeks. MRI shows significant changes to C5-C6 including bad bone spurs and severe narrowing and nerve compression, C4 has retrolesthesis (grade 1). I then cracked my neck and slowly feeling came back to my thumb and now it's mostly normal. My surgeon however said upon reviewing everything I should consider that this good feeling is temporary and it's just a matter of time before the nerve is back to being compressed due to the instability. I will say I wake up with a horrible stiff neck now and can not sleep through the night because it is so uncomfortable and sore, so I agree surgery to fix it just needs to happen.

I will undergo C4-C6 fusion on 8/31. Can you please tell me what the recovery is like? My surgeon warned me that I will be in a hard collar for 4-6 weeks and that I will have a very sore throat for a few days, but other than that he said the recovery should be significantly easier than the lumbar fusion. I will be on strict weight lifting restrictions, like before, but overall he said it should be much easier.

Please let me know what advice you have for cervical fusion. And if you have had lumbar fusion as well, do you agree that the cervical fusion should be a much easier recovery? I appreciate any words of wisdom you may have, thanks.


  • I had L2/3 & L5-S1 fusion last October, and C6/7 done back in March. I had previous cervical fusion from C3/4-5/6. I can honestly tell you that the neck is nothing. Get you some jello & pudding or ice cream, whatever you like, as first couple of days the throat is a bit sore and sometimes hoarse. The worst part is that hard collar. My doc had me in it, I think, way too long (2 months). The soft collar is much better once you get there, especially to sleep in. Good luck!
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