Procedures, FAQs and other important patient information.

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Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

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**The information on this page is for reference only.  Please keep in mind that every patient is different, therefore, every patient’s recovery is different.  Your doctor will give you specific guidelines to follow. 

What will my post-operative pain be like?
Most patients have minimal postoperative discomfort.  Sometimes the muscles in the neck or around the shoulder blades can hurt for a week or two.  Your throat will be sore for about a week and you may have difficulty swallowing solid foods (steak or chicken) for about 1-3 weeks.  This usually resolves quickly and you may even lose 5-10 lbs! 

Most patients wear a soft collar for a few weeks for comfort.

Will I be able to care for myself at home after surgery? 
Yes.  Bathing, dressing and basic household chores are fine to do but stock up on meals and household supplies before surgery.

Approximately, when can I return to work? 
Most patients can return to work 3-6 weeks after surgery depending on their type of work and their recovery.  A patient who performs a desk job can return to work in 1-2 weeks.  A patient who performs manual labor can return to work in 4-6 weeks.

Will my activities be restricted? 
Yes.  Lifting is restricted to 15 lbs initially.   Gradually, the amount of weight that can be lifted will increase.  The doctor may ask you to limit your range of motion initially but will increase your range of motion over the first 6 weeks.    Walking is encouraged during your recovery.

When can I begin physical therapy? 
Most patients are able to participate in physical therapy between 3 and 6 weeks after surgery.  Not all patients need physical therapy.


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