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Cervical Spine Surgery Discharge Instructions

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  1. Lie only on a bed. No sofas or recliners. Sit ONLY in a straight back chair (such as a dining room or kitchen chair or a structurally substantial chair such as a "Wing Back".)

  2. NO BENDING, STOOPING, PUSHING, LIFTING or STRAINING. Get up from a lying down position by turning first on one side or the other. DO NOT PUSH BACKWARDS WITH YOUR HEAD & NECK to adjust your position in bed. Turn on your side to do this. LIFT ONLY WITH ONE ARM at a time & ONLY a weight that you can easily manage.

  3. For MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY you may shower the 2nd morning after surgery. For ALL OTHERS, you may shower 4 days post-operative. The first day is the day AFTER surgery. Do not soak the incision. Do not disturb steri-strips. For surgical skin clips or sutures, you will be given instructions.

  4. Begin walking in the house and progress to outdoors. Take someone with you the first few times. Slowly increase the distance each day so that you will be walking 1 mile/day by your 2nd post-operative week, 2 miles/day at 2 weeks post-operative. Hopefully by 2 months post-operative you will be walking 4 miles/day. If you feel soreness, reduce the distance and REST. These are GUIDELINES, NOT RULES.

  5. After leaving the hospital you will be allowed in the car TWICE, ONCE TO GO HOME, THE SECOND TO COME BACK TO THE OFFICE. You will get your next set of instructions upon your return. For patients from out of state or country, there will be specific instructions.

  6. PAIN IS A RED FLAG TELLING YOU TO REST. Avoid taking pain relieving medication in anticipation that something you will do is going to cause pain. (See # 10 "Medications" for further information.)

  7. CALL THE OFFICE if you develop a fever of over 101 orally or if there is excessive wound redness, swelling, drainage or infection. If you develop a low grade fever, keep a chart of your temperature pattern at 8 AM, 12 noon, 4 & 8 PM. Bring the chart to the office at your next visit.

  8. If you question whether or not you can do something beyond the instructions given, it is safe to assume that the answer will be NO.

  9. Return to the office for your first visit approximately 10 days after surgery. Call my office for an appointment (972.566.6444) or if you have questions or concerns. For GENERAL MEDICAL PROBLEMS CONTACT your personal physician.

  10. Medications: You may have a "Duragesic" patch (a slow release narcotic) applied before you leave the hospital. Remove it on your 4th post-operative day. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE until you wash your hands once you have touched the patch. If you have excessive nausea/vomiting in the first post-operative days REMOVE the patch. For additional pain medication, try Extra strength Tylenol or similar agent. DO NOT USE ANY ASPIRIN or ASPIRIN containing medication. DO NOT use ADVIL or similar medication. These interfere with the clotting mechanism. You may take Celebrex if your general physician finds that it does not interfere with your OTHER MEDICATIONS.

  11. COLLAR Most patients will not need and should not use a collar. For those who have been fitted with one, keep it on at all times except for showering. Specific instructions will be given to you.


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This page last edited on 2/20

All content ©2022 by Neurosurgical Consultants, P.A.
Author, Martin L. Lazar, MD, FACS
All Rights Reserved. See Usage Notices.