Anterior cervical fusion surgery ACDF is generally a quick surgery to recover from.
There are variables that can make the surgery take longer to heal. Posterior neck discomfort immediately after ACDF surgery is normal.
The level or levels chosen for surgery have quite frequently collapsed after years of degenerative changes. Surgery restores these levels to their previous normal heights yes, many patients get taller after surgery.
You've decided to have surgery, now what? Occupational and Physical Therapy after Spine Surgery
The posterior ligaments have contracted from years of shortening and tend to cause temporary discomfort when stretched back to their natural lengths. Some patients develop dysphagia, swallowing difficulty after surgery for some days to weeks.
The esophagus which is made of muscle is retracted during surgery. Muscle can dysfunction after retraction and swallowing is a coordinated muscle contraction to push food into the stomach. Some dysfunction can feel like food is getting caught.
This feeling normally goes away after time. If swallowing is an issue, especially with pills, use a thicker liquid to swallow with. Yogurt or a smoothie can make swallowing much easier.
You will be given 2 neck collars after surgery, a Miami J and a Philadelphia collar. The Miami J is white and blue- made out of hard plastic and padding and the Philly collar is a pink medium foam. Use the Miami J for daily use and the Philly for showering.
After the shower, first dry your hair. Then sit upright, remove the Philly collar keeping your head still, towel dry your neck and put the Miami collar on. After approximately 1 week, you will be able to remove the collar and go without it during the day. Some individuals like the collar and can wean out of it more slowly.
The grafts normally need at least 6 weeks to heal in if autograft and longer if allograft cadaver bone.
Physical therapy will be started at about 6 weeks in most patients. Specific exercises can be started much earlier.
See the video on this web site for information and demonstration regarding this exercise. See the video also here. This video is also displayed on this web site. See also incision care and driving after cervical spine surgery.
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Ask a Question. Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain.
Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.