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Collars after Cervical surgery .... Yes or No



  • Hi Cindy,
    I agree that wearing a collar has benefits but I am going to attempt to do this the way my doctor wants to. I think (I hope) I have fairly strong muscles in my neck. I have been doing neck exercises for the last 8 years in my attempt to delay the surgery I finally had this month. As I mentioned in another post it will be interesting for all of us to continue to compare results and see what kind of differences we get with the collar and without. Of course there are lots of other differences also like age, spine condition, smoke or don't smoke but still we should be able to get some idea.
  • As mentioned this will be an interesting one to keep track of.
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  • Hi Mark,
    I like seeing comments like yours, since it's important to us to know that there is success down the road. I really hope that my surgery was a success and I get to provide positive feedback. So far I feel pretty good. Tired from not getting enough sleep but all in all not bad for 9 days post surgery.
  • My surgery is 10/15: 3 level (C4-7) ACDF with instrumentation. My NS said that if it were a 2 level he would say soft collar, but with 3 level and the length of my neck, I am going to be too unstable. He said 8 weeks hard collar. We'll see...
    Interesting all the different views for the same procedures.
  • I was fused 3 years ago 3-6 with instrumentation & cadaver bone. I am a smoking diabetic. I woke up in CCU with a soft collar, and the nurse threw it out! Said I didn't need it. Later, next day?, I got a J collar, and was told to wear it at all times, except in the shower. On release from hospital, they gave me another soft J type collar for shower. Trying to sleep with that J collar was a real challenge!! I don't move much when I sleep, so that lasted about 2 nights. I'd wear it during the day, or in the car, and after about 3 weeks of that, in Florida, in the summer, that was the end. I also had a bone stimulator to be used 30 min a day. I did that for about a month. OK, so I'm not the model patient. X-ray & MRI show the fusions are solid.

    Everything above, below, and around the fusions has gone to pot, but the fusions are great.
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  • Well I have to say this is my second surgery and the first did not fuse the way it should of, it was not solid, and I had screws that were drilled into bone that was not solid.. My doctor calls me his special child, because they dont often see this happen 4 years later.... because I didnt fuse right he is not taking any chances of me not behaving and I also have had 6 levels fused, in all... I didnt have a collar at all the first time around, and now I wish I had of.. Each dr is different. I have had this surgeon for 4 years now and I love him.... Its interesting to see the different thoughts..... I have a aspen vistor collar, the newest in collars, Its really not that bad now that I have gotten used to it.... I dont smoke, but I am 50 and it will take me longer to fuse.... I almost came out with a HALO.... thank Jesus that did not happen....
  • See......what you say makes sense to me. The more levels the more unstable and yet here I am with 3 levels and no collar. I really HEAR you when you said you knew something was wrong. I had a herniated disc in my neck 8 years ago but decided on a conservative treatment at the time and things were basically ok (moderate pain on occasion) for a long time. Then over a year ago I started having problems with my arms and hands at night. I saw my doctor (just a regular doctor) and she just said I was "tired" from working on the computer all day. This went on for a long time and then in March all my finger tips developed numbness and pain and pain ran up/down my right arm and shoulder. This pain and numbness NEVER went away and I started seeing doctors. First my regular doctor who said pinched nerve then a neurogist who said carpel tunnel and did an EMG and had me wear hand splints for a month (and I do have carpel tunnel, moderate in my right hand and borderline in my left but that was not the issue). Finally the neurogist sent me for an MRI and the rest is history. By the way I actually could have had a 4 level ACDF because C6/7 is damaged but mild in comparison to C3/4 and C5/6. My NS said its a huge difference is difficulty and healing to go from 3 levels to 4 so he wanted to do 3. I talked to him about future problems because I really don't want this to be one of many surgeries. He said because of my age, I'm over 50 he felt I would be ok. If I was young he would have fused 4 levels. Boy did I get off the topic of collars. Sorry,
  • Hi Barb,
    I'm glad to hear you fused well but the fact that you say everything above and below the fusions has gone to pot is scary. This is of course the other issue for all of us with DDD and spinal problems. The stress the fused bone puts on the adjacent unfused levels. I hope things are not too bad for you. Are you considering additional surgery?
  • Hey there,

    When I had my first cervical surgery in January of this year, Posterior Cervical Foaminotomy of C 3-4 and 4-5, I was given a sof collar and I was in misery! Looking back now I wish I would have been in something more stable then the soft callar.
    I never really felt much better after that surgery and I was told way before the Foraminotomy that I would need Later Fusion.

    So months later I was still miserable and had no life pain every day. I decided to change from my NS to an Ortho spine specailist. I have bben treated much better by this practice and its medical professionals.

    When we decide to have the ACDF done I was told about the Apen collar I would need to wear for 4-6 weeks post op! My Ortho surgeon said that I will then go into a soft collar.

    I could not even think of having any cervical surgery without some sturdy type of support afterward.

    Yes, my collar is a pain in the you know where, but on the other hand I am gald to have it and if my surgeon had said no he does not use them I would have been a bit skeptical about having them do my sirgery.

    Different docs do things differently. I have no idea if any resaearch has ever been done on the advantages and disadvantages of having the hard coolar on after ACDF or not. Wonder if the was such research what were the success rates as the two options would have been compaired.

    Anyhow I have seen many on this board who have gone either route some siccessfull and some not. The human body is just amazing and ya never know what might happen!

    Hope you doing well today!

  • I wore an Aspen hard collar to ride in a car or sleep. Soft cervical collar the rest of the time. I had them on 24/7 for 6 weeks except to shower. It was wonderful getting rid of my "prison collar".
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