Activity: No lifting > 5 lbs in the first two week post-operative period prior to your follow up appointment. Please refrain from bending, or any pulling or pushing movements with your arms. Avoid repetitive motions. Do not drive a car or ride a bike. When riding in a car, wear your soft cervical collar. You may wear your collar for comfort purposes and extra support, but it is not necessary to wear at all times. Ambulation is encouraged for short periods of time/distances. Light side to side and up and down exercises to stretch your neck muscles are permitted.
Diet: After anterior cervical spine surgery, a very common complaint is difficulty swallowing. Please eat soft foods and drink lots of liquids after surgery especially when taking medications to help minimize this side effect.
Wound Care: If you have staples on your posterior neck, please keep the wound covered for the first 5 days with a bandage, and then it may be open to air. You may shower with the staples covered. Take down bandage, pat dry, and apply new dressing or leave open to air. Do not soak wound in a bathtub or swimming pool. Incisions heal best clean and dry.
For visible sutures in your posterior neck, keep bandage over sutures until your post-operative appointment. Shower with the bandage, and change the bandage after shower. Keep clean and dry. For visible sutures in anterior neck, your incision may be open to air. Cover incision when showering, and pat dry after the shower.
If you have dissolvable sutures underneath the skin, your incision may be open to air.
Showering is permitted. Pat wound dry after shower. If there are steri-strips, allow them to dry up and flake off on their own (usually 3-4 days). If the skin is closed with skin glue, incision may be open to air.
For wound swelling: Ice and heat may be applied over a clean towel on anterior or posterior neck in 20 minute increments, alternating modalities. Ice and heat may also alleviate muscle spasm.