Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion Post-Operative Instructions

Activity in General:

If you have difficulty breathing, feel tightness in your throat or inability to swallow, you may have “airway compromise” and is a medical emergency. Seek evaluation at once. You should be using a hard collar at all times when not sleeping.

If sitting, use only a straight back chair to ensure proper support not to exceed a half hour at a time. You may increase your sitting time slowly. Lie only on a firm mattress, no couches or recliner chairs.

Absolutely no bending, stooping, pushing, lifting or straining.A bsolutely no driving for 6-12 weeks.

It’s normal to have mild sore throat/swallowing difficulty/hoarseness for several weeks. Over the counter throat lozenges and occasionally oral steroids may help decrease swelling. Avoid housework, especially vacuuming and sweeping.

OK to cook, as long as you are not lifting anything heavier than 5 pounds. Learn proper body mechanics to maintain a neutral spine position.

Wear Hard Cervical Collar is directed by Dr. Song. Increasing pain is a red flag telling you to rest.

DO NOT: Engage in strenuous activity for at least 10 weeks after surgery.

1st Week Post-Operative:

May ride in a vehicle as a passenger, but no driving and no extended road trips. Keep the time in the car less than 20 minutes. Walk around in your home on a smooth, flat surface. Try to be ambulating half of the day.

You may stair climb with assistance. Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds

Take pain medication as directed, don’t try to “tough it out.” You will heal quicker if you feel better.

2nd Week Post-Operative:

Make sure to make your first post-op visit. An exercise program will be discussed at your first visit.

Increase your walking to 1 mile per day if tolerated well. Light housework but still no vacuuming or sweeping.

Refrain from sexual activity.

3rd Week Post-Operative:

You may resume sexual activity if relatively pain free. Increase walking time and distance as tolerated.

Increase light housework as tolerated. If you need to lift, don’t exceed 25 pounds using proper body mechanics

OK to use a hot tub or spa if you are “scab free.”

4th Week Post-Operative:

Gradually increase walking to 1-2 miles daily or as tolerated. Increase housework as tolerated.

Return to work will be discussed with Dr. Song and will be patient specific.