The anticipated recovery time for cervical ACDF, or anterior cervical fusion surgery, is 4 to 6 weeks, according to Mayfield Clinic. Each body heals at its own rate, so it is important to listen and understand the body's own recovery pattern to know when total healing has occurred.
After ACDF surgery, soft tissue around the surgery site may take up to 6 weeks to heal, while physical therapy may reduce recovery time to 4 weeks, according to UnderstandSpineSurgery.com. However, patients should not lift more than 8 pounds or engage in any repetitive neck movements for three months, as this may prevent full recovery of the muscles, states Mayfield Clinic. Patients should also refrain from driving for four weeks, due to the possibility of unknown side effects from the pain medication. If full recovery is not accomplished within six weeks, a follow-up visit to the physician is necessary, notes UnderstandSpineSurgery.com.