After a cervical disc replacement procedure, do everything you can to allow your body to heal in the best way possible. Keep the following checklist in mind.
Tylenol may be recommended for pain. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Naprosyn or a COX 2 inhibitor (Celebrex) may also be prescribed. If Tylenol and NSAIDs are inadequate, narcotic pain medications can be prescribed by your doctor.
Always talk to your doctor and spine surgeon before taking any medication.
Tip: You can use the symptom and pain tracking section in the DoctorPlan app to log your symptoms and pain levels, so you won’t leave out important clues for your doctor. This way, they will get a full understanding of how your condition has developed over time.
Regarding movement, your doctor will likely provide you with the following comments:
- Start walking as soon as possible after your surgery. Walking prevents blood clots and increases muscle strength.
- Avoid heavy lifting for two to four weeks after surgery or as approved by your doctor.
- Avoid activities with physical contact until cleared by your doctor.
- Avoid prolonged upright sitting on hard surfaces or long car rides until cleared by your doctor.
Your doctor may recommend you begin driving when the pain has decreased to a mild level and the mobility of your neck has improved, which is usually between one and two weeks after surgery. You need to be able to turn the neck and body enough to see right and left while driving. Do not rush into this after a cervical disc replacement procedure.
When driving for the first time after surgery, make it a short drive and have someone come with you, in case the pain flares up and you need help getting home safely. After you feel comfortable with a short drive, you can begin driving longer distances alone.
- Any bandages may be removed the second day following surgery.
- If your spine surgeon used Steri-Strips, they should be left intact on the incision until you return for your postoperative follow-up.
- If you’re discharged with a drain, you’ll need to track the daily output of the drain. Almost all drains are removed within one week after surgery, but individual cases vary.
You are most likely using either a soft cervical collar or padded, plastic neck brace. This reduces the stress on the neck and helps decrease pain. It can also be used to improve bone healing by maintaining the neck in a rigid position, especially in the first few months after surgery.
The wound area can be left open. No bandages are required. Small surgical tapes affixing the suture should be left in place. Keep the area clean and dry.
- You may shower immediately after surgery but keep the incision area covered with a bandage and tape and try to avoid the water from hitting the surgical area.
- Avoid scrubbing your body and the affected areas.
- After your shower, remove the bandage and gently pat the surgical area dry with a clean towel.
- Don’t soak in a bath, hot tub or pool for at least two weeks or until approved by your doctor.
As pain medications can cause constipation, a high fiber diet is typically recommended by your doctor and spine surgeon. In addition, your doctor may recommend options like prune juice, Metamucil or magnesium.
Note: Your doctor may advise you to call their office or go directly to the ER if you experience any problems related to difficulty swallowing or breathing, significant neck swelling, new numbness, weakness or fever.
Disclaimer – All information on is for educational pursuit and information purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding their medical condition, diagnosis, procedures, treatment plan, or other health related topics.