Cervical (neck) surgery recovery

Your recovery period after cervical (neck) surgery depends on the type of procedure you received. For example, if you underwent a traditional open neck surgery, your recovery period will most likely be much longer than if you underwent minimally invasive surgery.

Traditional open neck surgery requires an immediate hospitalization for the first few days following the procedure. This is due to the highly invasive techniques used during the surgery, which increases a patient’s risk of developing infection and complications. Once the first few days have passed and you can return home, you may experience stiffness and inability to move your neck very far. In fact, many patients of traditional open neck surgery are required to wear a neck brace for up to several weeks after surgery to support and stabilize the neck. This is because the invasive procedure requires that the muscles surrounding the neck be cut in order to perform the surgery.

However, if you underwent minimally invasive cervical surgery at Laser Spine Institute, you might feel some soreness around the incision site and you might want to wear a neck brace for the first few days after surgery, but generally many patients don’t require an extra brace. Our procedures avoid disrupting the muscles surrounding the spine, which means our patients have an easier, shorter recovery time* than patients who choose traditional open neck surgery.

Potential complications during traditional cervical (neck) surgery recovery

In addition to an overnight stay at the hospital and the usual residual pain associated with any major operation, traditional open neck surgery is never guaranteed to work. Postoperative complications that can arise after such a highly invasive procedure include:

  • Postoperative infection
  • Hardware malfunction
  • Nerve injury related to a surgical mistake
  • Epidural or subarachnoid scar tissue
  • Development of a spinal condition at another vertebral level

You should always consult your physician if you feel extreme pain or discomfort following your procedure or an activity during your recovery period. If this happens, you should stop what you are doing immediately and rest.

An alternative to traditional open neck surgery

Tens of thousands of patients have turned to Laser Spine Institute for procedures that are an effective alternative to traditional open neck surgery.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, which means our patients are able to return home just hours after surgery. Due to our muscle-sparing techniques, our patients experience a shorter recovery time,* fewer complications and a higher patient satisfaction rate (97%) than patients who undergo traditional open neck surgery.

For more information about the minimally invasive procedures available at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.