Neck surgery may be an option for you if your current treatment options have failed to provide the desired results. Many people make the choice to have neck surgery. But, it can be confusing. How long will it take? The neck is complex and delicate. Some patients may worry about the effects of medical conditions on it.
Below are some details to help you understand your procedure, the recovery timelines, and other factors that could affect your recovery. This will allow you to feel more confident about your health moving forward.
When should you have neck surgery?
It is not easy to determine if neck surgery is necessary. It depends on many different factors. It is possible that your discs are becoming brittle and cause them to grind together.
Maybe your neck nerves have become pinched. These are just some of the reasons neck surgery may prove necessary. If all other options have failed, then surgery may be recommended.
- Cervical radiculopathy means that the nerve root is pinched from a herniated disc. This causes bone growths that irritate and irritate the nerve.
- Spinalstenosis can be defined as a narrowing of the spine’s spaces. This will lead to spinal nerve compression which can result in numbness, and pain.
- Degenerative disc Disease is where the discs are pressed together, pinching and causing damage to the spinal nerves. These conditions can cause your discs to become fragile. This means that your discs can no longer stop the vertebrae from grinding together. This causes significant pain.
Common Neck Surgeries
Most neck surgery is intended to correct an issue with one or multiple spinal nerves. Every level of your spinal cord has nerves. If you have an abnormality, these nerves can become compressed or irritated.
Spinal abnormalities usually involve the discs. These are soft, jellylike structures that act between the bones in your spinal column. They can become displaced or degenerate which can cause nerve compression or irritation. The foramen is the passageway through which the nerve exits the spinal cord, and can cause it to become compressed. Whatever the reason, these issues can easily be resolved by one of these three techniques:
Anterior Cervical Discectomy
An anterior cervical Discectomy is a procedure that treats disc problems such as herniation or degeneration. Your surgeon will access the spine through your anterior (or front) and remove the affected disc. Finally, a bone graft will be used to stabilize the region. She or he may also remove bone growths that press against your spinal nerve.
Most patients can leave the hospital the same day as the operation. Your mobility, pain levels and the ability of you to eat are all factors that will determine your discharge criteria. The average time it takes to return to your full activity is three to six months after you leave the hospital. How long it takes for the bone graft to fuse is the most important factor in your postoperative stability. So if this happens faster, it will impact your recovery. Your doctor will be able to monitor the progress and give you advice about your activity.
Foraminotomy & Posterior Cervical Discectomy
A posterior cervical discectomy is very similar to an earlier cervical discectomy. It aims to remove the problematic disc tissue. There are two important differences. A posterior cervical discectomy is performed from the back. A posterior cervical discectomy is a procedure that removes a portion of the disc and does not require bone Fusion.
A posterior cervical femoral foraminotomy serves one purpose. It expands the space through, which your nerve exits the back. It does NOT address pain caused due to movement in a joint. The nerve will become less irritated by expanding the space and relieving pressure. The surgeon will open a small opening in your back and move the nerve around. This may include the removal of bone spurs or disc material that has been displaced, depending upon your condition.
Both procedures are completed within 1-2 hours. You will need to rest for between 4-6 weeks before you can return to work. However, it takes between 2 and 3 month for full recovery. For your recovery, your doctor may recommend physical therapy sessions.
Cervical Arthroplasty: Disc Replacement
Cervical surgery involves the replacement of damaged cervical discs by artificial discs. The artificial joint functions just like a normal joint and allows for normal ranges of motion. This procedure is similar with an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, in that all damaged discs are removed. The disc removal procedure differs in the type and placement of the implant.
The procedure involves the surgeon making a small, near-the-neck incision and gently pulling away any soft tissues. Once the damaged area has been exposed, the surgeon will remove the bone material and insert an artificial disc. The tissue will be pulled back into place, and then the incision will close.
There will be a variation in the length of stay at the hospital depending on each patient’s medical condition. However most people are discharged that day or the next. A lot of light work can be done within one to three weeks. You can return to normal activity after six weeks.
Factors which affect recovery time
There are many things that will impact the length of your recovery from neck surgery. What type of surgery you had and how severe your condition is are important factors that will impact the recovery time. Other factors to consider are:
- Your age. If you are still young, your chances of recovering faster than if it is older. People younger than average often surpass the milestones. It is not common for younger patients to need neck surgery.
- Your overall health. It’s more likely that your recovery will be slower if you have any medical conditions or are living a poor lifestyle. The shorter the recovery time, the healthier you will be at the end of the procedure. You can make your wounds take longer to heal if you smoke, drink excessively, are overweight, have chronic conditions, or are obese.
- Your lifestyle. People who lead an active lifestyle, and engage in regular physical activity, tend to recover faster. However, those with physically demanding jobs tend not to recover as quickly. It may take longer to get back to your previous level of activity, especially if you’re very active.
How long does it take to fully recover from neck surgery?
The physical demands of surgery are always high, but neck surgery is perhaps the most demanding. Because neck surgery affects your cervical spine, which is responsible for supporting your head and movement, It’s very different from an injured arm that needs a cast or rest.
The fact that you cannot take away all the pressure from your neck following surgery is one reason why recovery may be slower than other types. You can still reduce your healing time with these helpful neck surgery tips.
These tips should be considered as a guide. These tips won’t make you heal instantly. They are not intended to speed up your recovery. You should also follow your surgeon’s guidelines. This will allow you to create a program that suits your specific needs.
- You need to keep the site of surgery and your spine safe from undue pressure. This is done through resting. It is tempting to go back to work or engage in exercise immediately after surgery, but this is not a good idea. You should take time to rest and recover. Your surgery might fail if you are over-exerting. Do not push yourself. When you return to your activities, it should be because the surgeon has approved.
- Physical therapy. You will likely have been referred to physical therapy after your surgery. Many people simply attend the sessions to get their instructions, but don’t follow these through. You must be consistent with your rehab program. That means you must attend all sessions and complete your homework. It will make a significant difference in the length of your recovery.
- Hydration and diet. You need to ensure that your blood has enough oxygen and contains essential vitamins. This will allow the blood to flow freely, and also deliver vital nutrients to your surgical site, which will aid in healing. This isn’t the right way to live. Instead, eat fruits and vegetables while drinking water is always available. This will help you stay hydrated and reduce inflammation. It will also encourage your body to heal.
- A clean surgical area. It may be more challenging if you had posterior surgery. If your procedure was anterior, you should be comfortable keeping your surgical site clean. The tips and instructions given to you by your doctor about how to care for the site should be followed.
- While it was true that you must take it easy, it is also important to keep your neck healthy by engaging in good exercises. It is crucial that you don’t get stiff or stiff neck muscles and that your neck has full range and mobility. It will take you much longer to recover if there is some light exercise like a walk around the neighborhood.
Anxiety both before and during the procedure can be detrimental for your recovery. Your body becomes overloaded with hormones when you are anxious. This can have a negative impact on your immune system, and decrease your body’s ability to defend itself. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxiety and nervousness. But it’s important to be calm. There are good tips to help manage anxiety so you can get into surgery with a calm head.
These are some of the best tips:
- Understanding what’s making you anxious and how to fix it.
- Proper planning for your procedure is crucial.
- You need to be aware of the things you can expect.
- Talk with your surgical team about your fears.
Not least, you must take care of your own health after surgery. It is essential that you feel comfortable and safe while you recover. Most likely, your physician has given you painkillers. Also, instructions will be given on how to care for the wound. You will be told what you can and cannot do. Your surgeon will also tell you how long it will take to return to work.
Some other things to consider after your surgery include:
- Restrictions on certain physical activities The lifting of more than 8 lbs, or bending down to pick up items is strictly prohibited. To help you through the recovery process, ensure you have a support group.
- Driving is banned for at most two weeks to protect yourself and other road users.
- Showering shouldn’t take place as foreign bodies can get into the wound. Give the sutures all the time necessary to close the wound. It is important that you have this information from your doctor.
Neck Surgery Benefit
As mentioned, surgery is not something that anyone wants and many people will avoid it. Neck surgery can offer many significant benefits you should be aware of.
- This will result in less pain and a better life. After you are completely healed, you will be able to resume your normal activities and not have to think about suffering from the crippling pain ever again. Surgery can treat neck pain, which can be life-limiting and debilitating.
- Better health. Neck pain is typically a sign of underlying conditions that need to be treated. This problem can be prevented from getting worse by having surgery.