Cervical Fusion

What to expect after surgery

  • Your muscles were cut and manipulated during the surgery. Expect a mild to moderate amount of soreness at the incision and tightness in the muscles across the tops of shoulders and upper back. Hot showers and use of muscle relaxers will help with this, and it should improve significantly over the first few days.

  • You will go home the same day unless you have a complication.

  • Your follow up visit will be in 3-4 weeks. If you have questions in the meantime feel free to call the office at 706-475-1870.

  • You will be given pain medication and muscle relaxers after surgery. Use them as prescribed. If your pain is not controlled with this, call the office. Do not change the dose or schedule of your medications without speaking with us. Usually patients with this surgery require narcotics and/or muscle relaxants for 2-3 weeks after surgery. As your pain improves, you may transition to over the counter Tylenol. Avoid medications like Advil or Aleve for the first 6 months to allow your fusion to properly heal.

  • Narcotics and muscle relaxers cause constipation. Increase the fiber in your diet, drink plenty of water, and use OTC stool softeners as needed.

  • You may still have some numbness and pain in the arms after surgery. This should get better with time. It can take months for the nerves to heal completely.

  • Some patients with sedentary jobs may go back to work after 1-2 weeks. If your job is heavier you will be out until your follow up appointment.

  • You may experience a sore throat or trouble swallowing after the surgery. This usually gets better within the first week or two. Soft, cool foods may help with this.

  • You will have skin glue on your incision. Keep it clean with showering at least daily. Do not put any ointments or salves to the area. There may be some swelling around your incision. This can be normal but call the office if you are worried.

Restrictions after surgery

  • Do not lift anything over 5-10 pounds for the first 3-4 weeks after surgery. No overhead work during this time

  • Do not drive for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery or while you are still on narcotic or muscle relaxing medications. At first you will want to limit your trips to short, local trips.

  • Do not do any exercise the first 3-4 weeks except for walking. At your post op visit you will be given instructions about transitioning back to your normal activities.

  • Do not get in the bathtub or a swimming pool until your incision is completely healed, at a minimum 2-3 weeks after surgery.

When to call the office

  • Please call the office during normal business hours 8 am-4 pm for prescription medication. Narcotics require written prescriptions, so you should call 2-3 days before you are completely out. Medications will not be called in after hours.

  • Call for any temperature over 101.5, increased incisional swelling, redness or increased pain. We may need to see you in the office.

  • If you are having any shortness of breath or swallowing problems, call the office. It it is severe go to your local ER.