Recovering from neck surgery
In the days following your procedure, your surgeon, nurses and physical therapists will closely monitor your condition and progress. Although the recovery process varies for each patient, here is what you might expect in the days following surgery:
After neck surgery, some patients are able to go home the same day or the next day, so most of the recovery time is spent at home. You may be asked to walk the day of or day after your surgery.
It may be easier to wear shirts that have zippers or button up the front, rather than those that go on over the head during the initial recovery period.
It is normal to feel pain following the surgery, so your doctor may prescribe pain medication. Driving must be avoided while taking certain medications or muscle relaxants. Speak to your doctor about any medications he or she prescribes for you.
Having a sore throat and/or difficulty swallowing for the first few days is common after anterior cervical spine surgery. The medical term for this is dysphagia. While the sore throat usually goes away within a week, difficulty swallowing may linger. Eating soft foods is recommended, and if the pain persists, throat sprays may be helpful. Be sure to call your doctor to report or discuss any concerns you have.
All patients are advised to move carefully. You may be asked to avoid certain activities like turning the head sharply, lifting anything heavy, or bending over for a specified time following surgery. Your surgeon will tell you when it is safe to resume normal activities.
Some patients may be required to wear a neck brace to avoid unsafe movement and to provide stability. If this happens, you will be shown how to put the brace on and take it off. You also will be given instructions on when to wear it and for how long. Driving must be avoided while wearing a neck brace.
Smoking or any type of nicotine intake increases the risk of complications and may interfere with the bone-healing process required for a successful fusion. Speak with your doctor to better understand the risks associated with smoking or nicotine intake.
Physical therapy can help you return to normal activity during the recovery period. The amount of physical therapy that is needed will be determined for you based on your individual goals and progress. In addition to offering guidance on safe ways to perform everyday tasks at home, physical therapists can also suggest ways to protect the neck before returning to work or other activities. Work with your physical therapist to determine what activities are right for you.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SPINE SURGERY
Some of the images on this website depict Stryker’s products. Please speak to your doctor if you have questions about these products or anything else in this website.
The information presented is for educational purposes only. Stryker is not dispensing medical advice. Please speak to your doctor to decide if spinal surgery is right for you. Only your doctor can make the medical judgment regarding which products and treatments are right for your own individual condition.
As with any surgery, spinal surgery carries certain risks. Your surgeon will explain all the possible complications of the surgery, as well as side effects. Each spinal surgery patient will experience a different post-operative activity level, depending on his/her own individual clinical factors. Your doctor will help counsel about how to best maintain your activities in order to recover properly from your surgery. Such activities include not engaging in high-impact activities that could de-stabilize any instrumentation that may have been implanted.
Stryker Corporation or its divisions or other corporate affiliated entities own, use or have applied for the following trademarks or service marks: Stryker. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners or holders.
Ask your doctor if spine surgery is right for you.