Cervical spinal fusion surgery is one of the more common procedures for treating degenerative disc disease of the cervical vertebrae. Suffering from cervical instability can cause pinched nerves (radiculopathy), numbness, weakness in the arm, chronic pain and discomfort. Cervical spinal fusion is surgery that joins two or more vertebrae in your neck. When these bones are joined together, it is called fusion. After the joints are fused, they can no longer move, alleviating symptoms.
One of the best ways to expedite recovery from neck surgery is to focus on preparations before the big day. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding what to expect will help you recover more effectively and have fewer complications. Here are some helpful tips to get you ready for your cervical fusion:
- Arrange for a loved one to take you home.
- If you are taking medications, check with your physician to find out when or if this medication should be discontinued. Stop all NSAID for two weeks prior to your surgery.
- Stop smoking and drinking in the weeks leading up to your surgery as this can interfere with your healing and increase risks of post op complications.
- Leave all your valuables at home and wear comfortable clothing.
- Prepare meals ahead of time.
- Move food, pots, pans and other cooking utensils to high shelves or other counter tops so you can avoid bending or looking down.
- Place shoes, clothing and toiletries at a height where you can reach them without bending.
- Remove or secure all rugs so you won't trip over them.
- Many vitamins and micronutrients aid in the healing process after surgery. Consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating lean proteins, and fiber can aid in your recovery.
Cervical spinal fusion surgery can relieve neck pain while it restores function of the spinal column and lessens your pain. If you have questions about preparing for your upcoming spinal surgery, have a conversation with your provider team. Prepared patients make for a better recovery!
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.