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Recovery from Level 2 Posterior Cervical Fusion.

I am scheduled to have a level 2 Posterior Cervical end of September. I have many questions about the surgery and recovery. The doctor makes it seems like a relatively essy procedure. Here is a little background and how I got here. I am 28 been having pain in neck, back and hips for several years, I am not sure how it happened. I have had facet injections, steroid injections, the relief has always been short lived. I ssw a orthopedic surgeon at University of Kansas Medical Center several times beginning about 4 years ago, he did several injections and eventually said surgery was in his book the last option, he really didn't want to proceed down that road as it would be a major surgery. So I went back to a local orthopedic surgeon I had seen years ago. He immediately felt surgery was the best option, I would have an anterior cervical lamnioplasty, he set me up for a mylegram, two weeks later hsd sn appointment ti duscuss results abd schedule surgery, after the mylegram he discovered it was worse then he thought, the surgery was now going to be a level 2 Posterior Cervical Fusion, he said i just one night on the hospital, really made the entire process and recovery pretty y straight forward and not so bad. Ieftt his with a soft collar to bring with for post surgery. I want to hear from others who have been through the same pricesure, surgery everyone is telling me its a rough recovery, that I will need mire then a week off which is what I have scheduled. Will I be able to make e a 2 hour road trip to family reunion 2 days post op. We have a very hyper border collie /kab mix and a smaller dog that is hyper and high strung as well they run and jump on everyone, should we consider finding someone ti take for awhile. My mother in law thinks I am not fully understanding the extent of the surgery, that my surgeon has not given enough information and he is misleading about recovery. She thinks I should have arranged at least 6 weeks off from work, the family reunion 2 days post op will not be possible, and our dogs will ve to risky to have under foot during recovery. She thinks I will be in quite a but of pain for awhile. I love her, I know heart is in right place but i can't help but think she maybe overreacting. When she watched our 3 year old and 7 month old when we went to orthopedic surgeon appointment for myelgram results and to schedule surgery, when we told her surgery was happening, she had so many questions, several I could not answer. What exactly am I am in for? I have heard anterior would be easier recovery, is the difference that significant. I am very nervous.


  • Hi MackieS, I'm so sorry to hear that you are having to go through this. I myself have had a cervical fusion which was done with an anterior approach. I was happy with that approach as he made the incision in one of the creases in my neck. I have degenerative disk disease and after many years of pain in my shoulders, raidiating down my left arm and causing numbness in my pinky and ring fingers. Also trying for several years prior to doing the surgery, every thing possible for my situation. These things included Accupuncture, chiropractic visits, PT, injections, massage therapy, tens machine and medication. Unfortunately none of these treatments worked. So the last resort was surgery. I was in the hospital for 3 days post op and in a neck brace for 6 weeks. Now due to the location of my fusion C5-C7 I was able to regain full range of motion with physical therapy and finally facet injections. I am so glad I did the surgery. Now having said all that, because you are having ( to my interpretation ) C2 fusion you may not be able to regain as much range of motion. I say this because C1 which is also called your atlas and C2 which is called you axis are the first two vertebrae starting at the base of your skull and allows for you to have the ability to rotate your head from side to side. Being such a young person I would hate for you to not be able to turn your head without having to rotate your torso. This inability to rotate your head could make some of the things you enjoy to do in life quite difficult. It may even cause certain things like driving a car extremely difficult. Now this is just my opinion and if I were you I would do a bit more research before you commit to this surgery. You will definitely want to rest after surgery and I don't feel that you will be very comfortable driving in a car for a few hours as well as hanging around at your family reunion. Also the dogs may be a hinderance on your recovery. Again these are just my opinions so do what you feel is best for you. Maybe you can postpone the surgery till the winter time where you can recover at home and feel as though you aren't missing out on anything. Good luck to you and I hope my suggestions have helped. Please keep me posted and know that I am pulling for you to get through this with as speedy of a recovery as possible.
  • Hi MackieS,

    I'm 6 months post op and I can tell you from my experience that you will need more than a week off from work, and a family reunion 2 days post op is probably not the best idea. Remember this is a major surgery and the first few weeks are the most important as you will experience post op pain and discomfort. Why is your doctor recommending posterior approach? Anterior recovery is less painful. My advise to you is to do as much research as possible and your surgeon should be able to answer all your questions.
  • TWynnBTTWynnB Posts: 266
    edited 08/25/2015 - 2:43 PM
    Wow, I didn't have posterior - lots of threads on here, but I did have a 3 level anterior with corpectomy. In my opinion, there's absolutely no way you'll go on a long drive in 2 days (oh my, it was painful for a couple of weeks, in fact my discharge said nothing over 50 miles for 2 weeks), and way more than a week off. They say the spasms with posterior are pretty bad the first couple of weeks, but I've heard a lot of people say their recovery after pain was over was excellent.
    Did you get a second opinion? It is pretty uncommon, especially in someone so young, to get a posterior approach done, but there are good reasons to do it.
    Good luck!

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

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