Common Questions About Recovery from Anterior Cervical Fusion Surgery

Recovery from anterior cervical fusion surgery can take several months, and it is easier for some patients than for others. This depends on a variety of factors, including the extent of the abnormalities causing spinal compression, the age and activity level of the patient, and overall physical health. Any surgical procedure comes with a challenging recovery process; however, a spinal fusion operation will strictly limit the patient’s capacity to lift certain items and to perform regular activities around the home and at work for several weeks. In the end, after recovering from anterior cervical fusion surgery, most patients report significant improvements and a decrease in pain.

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute offers several options for patients with spine disorders. Depending on the anatomy of any given patient, along with the specific cause of spinal compression, the patient may be a candidate for anterior cervical fusion surgery. The prognosis depends largely on the severity of compression that is affecting the spinal cord, as well as the length of time during which the patient has experienced symptoms. In general, the sooner a patient seeks treatment for his or her pain, the better the chances of a successful recovery from anterior cervical fusion surgery.

The physicians at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute often hear a lot of questions from our patients regarding the details of recovery from the various orthopedic surgical procedures we offer. If you or someone you know are seeking a spinal fusion surgery, or if you have talked to your doctor and considered that this procedure might be a viable option for you to explore, please look carefully at the following questions and answers. As these are frequently asked questions, we hope that they will speak to your concerns about recovery from anterior cervical fusion surgery.

Recovery from Anterior Cervical Fusion Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

How long does recovery take?
When you take into account all of theWhile physical therapy isn’t usually necessary after anterior cervical fusion surgery, your surgeon may provide you with instructions on how to perform isometric neck strengthening exercises. necessary after your anterior cervical fusion, Your complete full recovery could take three to six months. Results take several months, but result vary based on a number of each particular patients’ circumstances, and patients with other health problems might may take even longer to heal. Physical therapy can begin 4 to 12 weeks after surgery, and it can take 6 to 12 weeks to complete.

What do I need to do to care for my surgical wounds?
In most cases, we use absorbable stitches that will not need to be removed, and small strips of tape may be used to keep the wound closed in order to let it heal under less tension. After bathing, pat your wound dry with a clean towel. As the wound drains blood or fluid, simply change the dressing. If the fluid persists for a day or two, contact your surgeon immediately.

How long should I avoid movement and lifting after surgery?
Neck movements should be limited, as the muscle and other tissue will take several weeks to fully heal. Other movements should also be taken with caution, especially if they are repetitive or sudden motions; however, it is generally safe to climb stairs, one at a time, or to lean over a sink to wash your face or brush your teeth. Most patients are permitted to lift up to 8 pounds (roughly the weight of a gallon of milk) for the first few weeks of recovery, as long as the weight is kept close to the body and the movements are not repetitive. Lifting above the head is to be avoided, so take caution when performing simple tasks like dressing yourself or putting groceries away.

Can I drive during my recovery from anterior cervical fusion surgery?
Driving may be permitted for patients after 1 or 2 weeks of recovery. However, if your surgeon advises you to wear a hard collar, it is recommended that you avoid driving, as this brace will prevent you from driving safely with a full view of the road.

Will I be able to play sports after I recover?
Like many of the aspects of recovery, this depends on a number of circumstances. Most healthy patients can return to any normal level of physical competition activity upon completion of a full recovery following their procedure. In the case of a two-level fusion, contact sports are often ill advised, but patients are still encouraged to participate in other sports and pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. physical therapy, in many cases it is advised to restrict movements in order to prevent further injury.

Contact Rothman Orthopaedic Institute if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery from anterior cervical fusion surgery. For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.  

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