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Posterior cervical fusion recovery.

MackieSMMackieS Posts: 4
edited 08/12/2015 - 8:44 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My husband is scheduled for a posterior cervical fusion on August 27 he has taken the week of August 24, 2015 off for the surgery. Originally it was to be an anterior cervical lamnioplasty, after the mylegram orthopedic surgeon said that it would need to be a posterior cervical fusion, gave him soft collar for after surgery, said only over night in the hospital. My parents have said the amount of time he will be off work post surgical is not enough time, surgery on August 27, 2015 back to work August 31, 2015. We have a 3 year old and a 5 month, that he will have limitations, I am suppose to be in a wedding on August 30, 2015 my husband says there will be no issue, I should be able to attend but that's only 3 days post op. The ortho has made it sound like its a mild and easy procedure. My parents think my husband's expectations are way too high, recovery takes time and think ortho is to surgery happy. Are my husbands expectations realistic, what is involved in recovery, is 4 days enough time off from work. Will there be limitations.


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  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    This is a hard recovery, To be back at work in one week IMO is ridiculous. I went back at week 4 but that was only because I was out of FMLA leave. I was not ready to go back to work, I do not know the disc they are operating on but mine was c3-c7. The problem with this surgery is the muscles get pretty angry. Good luck and hope his recover is quick as they say
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    I am shocked that your husbands surgeon said he would be back at work after 4 days!? I had this surgery on C4-5 & it is a very rough surgery to recover from. It's very painful & like Susan says, the muscles are very angry after.
    I would definitely discus these concerns with the surgeon.
    Did you get a second opinion? If not, I would recommend that you do.
    I ended up staying 2 days in the hospital because they couldn't get my pain under control.
    I don't mean to scare you, but I think your husband needs to know that those expectations are almost impossible.
    Good luck.
  • I had neck surgery years ago without fusion and it was easy to get over. Had 8 back surgeries and compared to them the neck was very simple and !mostly pain free afterwards. You never know how spine surgery will go tho. Always chance for complications. Best of luck and God be with you.
  • Best of luck to your hubby on his surgery! I cannot speak from experience (I am still waiting on a neuro to contact me...ugh!!); however I have had abdominal surgeries, several. All I can say is, he needs to follow his bodies lead and listen to how he's feeling. No one truly knows how they will react to surgery or how long recovery will be. I'm sure if he needs more time off, the doctor would be willing to take him off work longer.
  • MackieSMMackieS Posts: 4
    edited 08/13/2015 - 9:24 PM
    I appreciate the responses. I kind of had a feeling we were in for more then hubby thought. My husband previously saw an orthopedic surgeon at [edit] said it would be a level 3 surgery, and he wasn't all that anxious to do the surgery and that was well over 2 yeara ago, sorry if I seem kind of ignorant with the terminology. We saw an ortho surgeon at [edit] med, since the doctor at [edit] was hesitant to do the surgery hubby decided to see this local ortho surgeon. My hubby is looking for a quick fix, he is under the belief, a few days of pain and then good to go. The ortho surgeon also told us that the mylegram showed more damage than expected thats why it was going to be posterior cervical fusion as oppose to original plan for anterior cervical fusion and would more then likely need hips replaced in next ten years, my husband is 28. Then the ortho surgeon went on to say that sometimes fixing the cervical problems would resolve the hip issue. This seem like it all happened so fast first appointment, then mylegram,then results, then surgery scheduled in less then 6 week time span. My parents are a wonderful support system but are very cautious in regards to this kind of surgery as my dad had a failed lumbar fusion in 2002, my dad was 35 at that time, now he lives in chronic pain. My parents said there are too many red flags, slow it down, nothing about this is fast, surgery should not be taken lightly, only as a last resort, my hubby just wants it all fixed as fast as possible believes this is solution and he will be great, pain free within a few days. First ortho surgeon at [edit] said it would be a level 3 surgery what does that mean. First ortho didn't want to do the surgery but this ortho surgeon talked about anterior cervical fusion at first appt. Any advice, personal experiences, things to be aware of, i am so confused and concerned.
  • OI8T12OOI8T12 Posts: 44
    edited 08/15/2015 - 6:47 AM
    You don't say how old your husband is, but a 3 level fusion is nothing to take lightly. I just had a 5 level posterior fusion 12 weeks ago, and although I'm doing much better now, I did have quite a bit of pain for the first 10 weeks. I don't know why his surgeon thinks this surgery will be a quick recovery, but I think he's sadly mistaken. Everyone is different on their recovery time, but I don't think he'll be able to recover in 4 or 5 days. Unless I'm missing something, the time off for recovery is not long enough. I do wish you and your husband a fast recovery, and I hope this will be his first, and last surgery.
  • I had ACDF of c4, c5, c6. I was told that I would be able to return to work after 2 weeks. Well, that was far from reality, I could not even hold my head up properly for the first 2 weeks. As well as swallowing problems, no voice, bad muscle spasms, shoulder aches. And this was Anterior. I heard Posterior is far worse. I did not return to work for almost 3 months.
    I am know having issues again after 4 years and may be facing another surgery. Did X-ray 2 weeks ago, it showed a loose screw and problems above and below previous surgery site. I go see the doctor today to find out the results of my MRI and CT scan that I had last week.

    Tell Hubby to slow down and allow his body to heal correctly. The spine is nothing to take lightly.
    Please update when you get the chance.
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