When something goes wrong in the cervical region of the spine, it is often the result of a herniated disc compressing a cervical nerve as it exits the spinal canal. The symptom that is often most noticeable is severe arm pain, but some patients also complain of numbness and tingling in their fingers. A patient scheduled for the decompression and fusion operation to fix this issue may be wondering how to prepare for anterior cervical fusion surgery.
Possible risks for this procedure are rare, but can include damage to the spinal cord or esophagus, failure for fusion to properly heal, nerve root damage, bleeding and infection. Rather than focusing on these possible complications, though, patients are encouraged to do what they can to proactively learn how to prepare for anterior cervical fusion surgery. There are several important steps you can take.
How to Prepare for Anterior Cervical Fusion Surgery with Decompression
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. The stronger and healthier your body is in general, the better chance you have at a successful surgery and a quick recovery. This point may seem obvious, but it is one that many patients dismiss as trivial when in reality, it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as your decompression and fusion surgery approaches.
2. Quit smoking. This is always recommended simply because it is harmful to your health in general. But specifically as it relates to how to prepare for anterior cervical fusion surgery, quitting smoking can contribute positively to the body’s ability to heal. Many patients don’t know that smoking independently increases the likelihood that you’ll suffer from chronic back pain
at some point. Do yourself a favor and give up the habit now.
3. Prepare for your recovery process. Patients are usually able to walk immediately after a anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery and often go home the next day. If a longer stay is necessary, it is not often longer than two days. Your physician will provide you with instructions for how to manage the rest of your recovery from home, but it is always recommended that patients arrange to have some help around the house for the first several weeks.