CERVICAL FUSION POST-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

7-10 Days Post-Op Check Up

INCISION

  • You may shower and let the warm water run over the incision. If there is drainage, a dry gauze dressing may be applied.
  • Do not apply any type of medication or ointment to your incision. This includes: cream, Neosporin, or peroxide.
  • Report any persistent or pus-like drainage, an increase in swelling, increase in redness around the incision and/or temperature around the incision (>100 degrees).

PAIN

  • You may experience significant pain and spasm in your neck and between your shoulder blades. This is very common and is to be expected after surgery. Valium, hot showers, heat packs or ice packs can help settle this down. Frequency and duration of these episodes should decrease with time. Pain on moving from bed to chair or standing position will steadily improve.
  • You may take over-the-counter medications (NSAIDs such as Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen or Aleve) as needed, following the instructions on the bottle. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) can be used when you no longer require narcotic medications.
  • You have been given strong pain medication. If it does not appear to be working, taking more will not help and can be very dangerous. Call the office if you are having trouble with pain management.

ACTIVITY

  • You may drive 10 days after your cervical surgery, as tolerated. Start by driving short distances first and see how you do. Do not drive while taking narcotic pain medication.
  • A neck collar will be given to you on discharge from the hospital. This is for your comfort only.
  • In general, if activity increases discomfort, do not do it.
  • Walk as much as you comfortably can.
  • Do not lift anything greater than 15 pounds.
  • Dr. Hope will discuss additional activities you can partake in at your next office visit.
  • Do not sit, stand, or ride in a car for long periods of time without getting up to walk.

FOLLOW UP

  • You will schedule a follow up appointment with Dr. Hope around 3 weeks from this appointment. At this next appointment, please have your new cervical x-ray completed and bring it with you to the next appointment for Dr. Hope to review with you. It would be best to have this x-ray completed at least 1 week prior to your appointment with Dr. Hope.
  • At this appointment, Dr. Hope will discuss his surgical findings and your continued plan of care.

After 1-Month Post-Op Check Up

INCISION

  • You may use scar cream starting at 6 weeks - Mederma can be purchased over the counter. (DO NOT start prior to 6 weeks because it can open the incision)

PAIN

  • You may experience some spasms on and off in the back of the neck, radiating out to the shoulders. Hot showers, heat packs or ice packs can help settle this down. Frequency and duration of these episodes should decrease with time.
  • You may take over-the-counter medications (NSAIDs such as Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen or Aleve) as needed, following the instructions on the bottle. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) can be used when you no longer require narcotic medications.
  • Call the office if you are having problems with pain management.

ACTIVITY

  • In general, if activity increases discomfort, do not do it.
  • Walk as much as you comfortably can.
  • Gradually start to increase activities. In general, you should be able to resume activities that you participated in prior to surgery at 12 weeks from your surgery date.

FOLLOW UP

  • As determined by Dr. Hope.
  • If you wish to complete physical therapy, we generally recommend starting at 6-8 weeks post surgery.
  • Typically, there is no need for follow up x-rays or MRI.