A cervical spine, or neck fusion surgery involves removing the damaged disc, inserting a bone graft, and then fusing the vertebrae together with a plate. Neck fusion surgery recovery allows the patient's bone to grow together as one.
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Pain management through medication is sometimes necessary after fusion surgery to relieve pain and alleviate swelling. Speak with your physician about the use of aspirin products and non-steroid anti inflammatory medications as these might interfere with the healing process.
The length of sick leave from your work will depend on the number of vertebrae fused and the type of job you have. If you have a sedentary job, you may be able to return one week after surgery. It could require several weeks to months if you have a physically demanding job.
After a neck fusion, a patient should rehabilitate the back and neck to improve flexibility and the range of motion, as well as treat lingering pain. A doctor may recommend physiotherapy and massage to help you regain some of your strength and reduce pain or swelling. Physiotherapy following a neck fusion usually begins at three months after surgery.
In the first few months after a spine fusion, a doctor may recommend avoiding excess motion and heavy lifting to avoid putting stress on the fused vertebrae, which can cause delays in recovery.
The bones that are joined together with a plate or other hardware during surgery may start to fuse around six weeks, but the whole process can take approximately one year. Recovery time varies from patient to patient.
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