How Do You Recover From Neck Surgery of the C6-7 Vertebrae?


Quick Answer

Recovery from neck surgery of the C6-7 vertebrae begins with a one- or two-day stay in the hospital if there were no complications, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. After the operation, the patient receives a cervical brace, and on the day after the surgery, a physical therapist helps him sit on the side of the bed and then stand.

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A nurse monitors the patient, and he receives an Incentive Spirometer to help his lungs expand and to avoid pneumonia, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. The nurse changes the dressings over the surgical area, and the patient may use an ice pack to ease any discomfort or swelling in the area. He also takes pain medication and antibiotics.

The physical therapist continues to help the patient sit and stand, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Eventually, his doctor encourages the patient to walk for short distances with the help of a cane or a walker, and the physical therapist teaches him exercises for his legs, thighs and buttocks to discourage fluid buildup and blood clots. As the anesthesia clears from his system, the doctor discontinues intravenous fluids, and the patient can take clear liquids and then solid foods.

The patient learns how to use, put on and remove his cervical collars, says University of Maryland Medical Center. Before discharge, the doctor gives the patient instructions on how to keep the incisions clean and how much and what kind of activity he can safely perform, says SpineUniverse.

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