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Recovering From Cervical Fusion and Surgeon offering little advice

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just had a 3 level surgical fusion in the middle of June, and although I'm told that that my surgeon is excellent, he has not been forthcoming with a lot of advice about the do's and don'ts after surgery. I've been wearing a soft collar for about six weeks now, and when I had my most recent appointment with him, I explained that it has been causing me a great deal of discomfort. (On average, it is about 115-120 degrees outside where I live.) Originally, he was adamant that I neeeded to wear the collar for three months, but after my expression of concern, now he's telling me to stop wearing it.
I have to say that this has been the most difficult surgery that I have ever had to endure, and I am scared to death of doing anything that will affect my healing and/or cause further injury. I can't find any books, pamplets, or written advice about recovering from this type of surgery. Does anyone have any ideas that might help?



  • First let me say welcome to spne-health. The issues over the collar have gone on for quit sometime. However, in my experiences collars are used for the reason the surgery was done to begin with. It is true some surgeons just like to use them, but some on them for a stability issues as well. Maybe he thought since it was so hard for you to wear the collar that he wouldn't make you feel guilty about it. Second I am sure he took some films and seen everything was looking good and felt ok with you not wearing it either. You have to remember before surgery he was working off films but after surgery he had done direct visual of the situation as well. Don't be to alarmed that he says it is ok to take the collar off. As far as recovery you need to take it easy. Albeit hard that is all they want you to do for now. When it is time i am sure your surgeon will order therapy for you as well. You have bone that needs to fuse in three levels so it is going to take sometime. If you look in the neck forum you will find many three level fusions there as well.

    Just wanted to welcome you to spine-health. Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.
  • You're still very early in your recovery. I didn't have my lifting restrictions over until the three month mark. If your surgeon didn't tell you about or give you a flyer on restrictions, it's almost always no BLT (bending, lifting, twisting). For the first three months (at least), don't lift anything heavier than 5 lbs. Don't bend over and try not to twist. Treat your neck like a piece of treasured crystal because it's the only one you've got and you only had surgery in June.

    Your surgery has a long recovery so take very good care of yourself. If you feel like you shouldn't be doing something, chances are you shouldn't.

    I agree with Tamtam on the neck brace. I personally was glad to wear one, but mine was a hard collar for the first four weeks and then a soft one for six more.

    Take care and just take it easy. Give yourself time to heal. You just had major surgery, so give it time.
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  • I just had 2 level fusion on July 13th. My doctor had explained to me up front that I would probably be wearing a cervical collar for 6 weeks, as well as a cervical stimulator device (it looks like a giant Hello Kitty head necklace). My surgery was done on an outpatient basis, and I was home 5 hours from my surgery appointment time, which included a 1 1/2 hour drive home. When I woke up, I wasn't in a collar, just butterflies, some gauze, and a big patch of clear tape holding it all on. I called his office when I got home, and when they got back with me he said it was up to me if I wanted to wear a collar. I decided to wear one for a couple weeks until I was used to not bending my neck. I'm also restricted to no heavy lifting (over 8 lbs), no vacuuming, etc. I know it's frustrating not being given clear directions on what you can and can't do. Like Cath said, if you feel like you shouldn't do something, you probably shouldn't. Also, if you're not sure if you should do something, it's best to err on the side of caution and not do it until you get the OK from the surgeon.

    Take care and let us know how you're doing!
  • collars really donothing if a plate was used exept cause muscle atrophy and prolonged recovery. Not a fan at all
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