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Cervical collars after ACDF

TatiyanaTTatiyana Posts: 194
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
As some of you can probably tell, I am getting very nervous about my surgery & have lots of questions... :S

I am wondering what the collar is like that I will have to wear after my surgery next month...

I can't remember if he said soft collar or what & I realize Dr.'s vary, but can you guys give me an idea of what kind of collar you were prescribed or sent home with?
Do you sleep in it??? (I have a hard enough time sleeping)

I am pretty petite so if it is something they dont fit you with & send home with you, I am going to need to special order something smaller I am sure....

TIA :)



  • Thankfully my surgeon did not prescribe one for me. I did fine without one. Wishing you a speedy, uneventful recovery.....

  • I think the bracing all depends on the type of surgery you are having and what the goal of surgery is. If you have concerns as to wether the facility you are having surgery at has the proper size of collar you can call and ask them. Almost all hospitals and surgery centers get regular deliveries of needed medical equipment. Keep in mind all the collars and braces use velcro so they can fit alot of sizes with the s-l braces. If it is a hospital doing any trauma they should have it in case of children needing them. I know on one of my surgeries they actually had the rep come and fit me for my miami J brace, since the center did keep those braces on hand.
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  • I had to wear a Miami J collar for four weeks. It's a hard collar. Personally, I found it very comforting (notice I didn't say comfortable) to have something protecting my neck because I was terrified of hurting it or turning by accident, or any number of things that can happen.

    You get used to it but somethings to keep in mind if you have to wear a hard collar: It can really get hot under the collar so make sure you have extra pads to keep clean so you can change them out when you want to. It'll be weird putting it back on the first time you take it of (when you shower) but you'll get used to it in no time. You can also pain your favorite team logo or something on it if you want.

    I didn't find sleeping in it too bad, really - I got used to it. When you wear a hard collar, people really try to help you a lot by opening doors, etc. It's quite obvious that you've had something serious happen. You wouldn't believe how many people came up to me and asked if I'd had "that" neck surgery.

    If you then have to go to a soft collar, get ready for those same people who felt sorry for you before to give you "the look" that says, "she must be trying to sue someone." LOL Sounds crazy, but it's true.

    And, for the soft collar, I bought a bunch of those knee-high socks with different colors and patters, cut the toes out of them then thread the collar through it. I had a collar cover for every occassion - even a beautiful black one I wore to my company holiday party.

    Ooops, got off on a tangent there, sorry.

    Take care. I know you'll do just fine and you'll be in recovery before you know it.

  • That is exactly the information I am looking for..I love the sock idea!

    I know "that look" well as I get it quite often when I use my handicap parking permit (lumbar surgery last winter) or ask to drive up for my groceries...people can be so judgemental!

    Send any tips my way...as I said I am very nervous :S

  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I had an Aspen Collar and was fitted for it about 2 wk prior to surgery. At first they sent me home with one size and I found it very uncomfortable after trying at home for an hour. I went back and they gave me the next size down which was good. I had an Aspen which has pads so I paid $15 for an extra set of pad so I could wash and dry one while wearing the other set.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,630
    depends on your surgeon. I know some like to have their patients in a Hard collar, some go for the soft collar and there are some doctors that do not recommend a collar at all.

    For me , my ACDF Surgeries (1994 adn 2000), I wore a Philidephia Hard collar 24x7 for about 7 weeks.

    After that period and after going to Physical Therapy, I used a soft collar. I used that for about 8 weeks. My Physical therapist tod me, that I need to eliminate the need for any collar.

    It was important to build up your upper muscles to reduce any strain on the neck..

    But really, the direction you get from your doctor are the ones that really count
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi! Ran across your post and thought I'd add my two cents. I had C5-7 ACDF in October 2009. I wore no C-collar and returned to work 3 weeks later. I'm a Respiratory Therapist and it's a pretty physical job. I had absolutely no pain and no problems with fusion. The surgery totally changed my life for the better. Then in July, 9 months later, I was in an auto accident, which loosened the screws. It's been four months and I still haven't refused. I started PT two months ago for upper arm strengthening (I had no strength in shoulders and upper arms). Still no fusion, so now have to wear an Aspen collar for 6 weeks. Not thrilled about it, but it did minimize the inflammation and it does help me feel more stable. One week into my c-collar "sentence" I started getting a rash under the pad on my upper chest. So I decided to make a different pad.


    Everyone at work told me I should bedazzle the collar and I told them I didn't want to make it MORE obvious. Well, I ended up using zebra fabric for the replacement pads! I used cotton batting and cotton fabric to decrease the itch factor, but it is hotter. My next one I am going to try polyester batting.

    If I don't fuse at the end of six weeks I will have to have surgery again, but this time it will have to be posterior, instead of anterior, and will involve plates. He said that this type of surgery hurts a lot more than anterior. I seriously had no post-op pain, only some discomfort from retracting my trachea. It was immediate relief. I guess because I had 9 pain-free months it makes it worse now because I know what it was like to not have pain. Oh, and I also have fibromyalgia and it went into remission after the surgery. Well, it's back now.

    Love your attitude about not letting your pain control your life. I feel the same way. I decided a long time ago that pain was not going to define who I am. Not a lot of people know about the fibromyalgia. But it's a little hard to pretend I'm fine when I'm wearing a c-collar! LOL

    Anyway, if you have any questions don't hesitate to email me.


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