Cervical fusion C6 and C7 vertebrae — what to expect after a minimally invasive stabilization procedure

If you are thinking about undergoing or have already scheduled a spinal fusion surgery for the C6-C7 vertebrae in your neck, you might be wondering about the recovery period and what to expect after the surgery. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the recovery guidelines before your surgery so you know what to expect after a procedure.

If you are a Laser Spine Institute patient and have any questions during your recovery from one of our minimally invasive stabilization procedures to treat the cervical spine, please call our SPINE LINE for assistance. Our team can help answer your questions and make sure that your healing process is on course. Patients who are still considering their surgical options can contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of our outpatient procedures, including no lengthy recovery.^

The following information can help you have a better understanding of the recovery process for a minimally invasive cervical fusion procedure performed at Laser Spine Institute.

What to expect during the first six weeks of recovery

For the first six weeks following your cervical spinal fusion, you should exercise caution when performing your daily activities. Follow the in-depth guidelines of your postoperative recovery guide found in your surgery folder.

Immediately following surgery

Once your surgery is complete, you will be moved to a postoperative recovery room. Nurses will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and respiration to ensure you are recovering properly. Once you are completely alert, you will be encouraged to sit and walk. You will be required to have your Care Partner stay with you for the first 24 hours after your spinal fusion surgery.

Two weeks following surgery

Your surgeon will give clear instructions regarding wound care and medications. Additionally, you will likely be required to wear a neck brace and take short walks several times a day. Bending, lifting and twisting should be avoided. DO NOT drive while taking pain medication or muscle relaxers.

You should schedule a postoperative appointment for two weeks after your surgery at either a Laser Spine Institute facility or with your primary care physician.

Two to six weeks following surgery

Activities can increase over the next few weeks, in accordance with the recommendations of your physician. Be sure to use caution when increasing your activities. Should you feel any pain or discomfort during an activity, stop immediately.

More than six weeks following surgery

Your activity levels may increase to include lengthier walking sessions and 30-minute intervals of seated work. Heavy lifting should still be avoided, but limited twisting and bending can be performed. As the weeks go on, you should incorporate additional core strengthening and low-impact aerobic exercises into your plan. If you have any questions during your recovery period, please do not hesitate to contact our SPINE LINE. Our caring team is here to help you along the path to recapture your quality of life.

Patients who have exhausted conservative treatment options and are being recommended for a fusion procedure can reach out to our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.