Spinal fusion surgery

The recovery process following a minimally invasive stabilization surgery like an anterior cervical discectomy fusion (ACDF) will likely be much shorter and less painful than from a traditional open spine fusion. However, it is still important that you do not try to overexert yourself in the weeks and months following surgery. Listen to your body, immediately stop any activities causing you severe pain and stay in contact with your physician so he or she can stay informed on your rehabilitation.

What to expect

Although you should avoid overexertion following minimally invasive stabilization surgery, becoming sedentary can also hurt the recovery process. While certain amounts of rest are needed, it is important to begin taking short walks in the first few days after your procedure. Begin with 10 to 15 minutes of easy walking several times each day. By the sixth or seventh week after your cervical spine procedure, you should be able to walk about two miles without experiencing pain. It is extremely important that you do not do any heavy lifting for about two months following your surgery, and, even then, do so only with a physician’s consent.

You can experience some discomfort as you become active again after a cervical spine surgery. Commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Discomfort, tightness, or mild muscle spasms in your neck and upper back
  • Pain, soreness, or mild swelling around the incision site
  • Periods of tingling or numbness in your neck, shoulders, arms, or hands
  • Pain while switching positions, such as moving from a seated to a standing position

This discomfort should lessen after a few weeks. Patients who have desk jobs can normally return to work within two weeks, and patients with physically strenuous jobs should wait at least six weeks, depending on the job and type of procedure performed.

Where to turn for questions

Should you have any questions regarding your recovery process following minimally invasive stabilization surgery on your neck, please feel free to contact Laser Spine Institute. Our Spine Care Consultants and the professionals in our Patient Services Department are here to make sure that you are fully informed about the steps to take during your recovery. Our Patient Services Department will follow up with you to ensure comfort, satisfaction and surgical success at one, two, six and 12 weeks post-surgery.