Anterior or Posterior Cervical Postoperative Instructions

Incision Care
  • If you have a dressing at the time of discharge, you may remove it the following day and leave it off if your wound is not draining. If your wound is draining, change dressing daily to keep incision dry.
  • If you have steri-strips, you may remove them after seven days, or they may fall off on their own.
  • If you have staples or external sutures, please call the office for an appointment to have them removed, generally in 7-12 days after surgery.
  • Ice to incision as needed.
  • Do not use ointments, creams or lotions on incision.
  • If you do not have a bandage, you may shower immediately, as long as you do not soak the incision in water. Keep incision as dry as possible for up to two weeks.
  • If you do have a bandage, you can remove your bandage and shower beginning the second day after your surgery.
  • Pat the incision dry with a towel; do not rub.
  • DON’T use bathtubs, swimming pools, lakes or hot tubs for two to three weeks; or until there is no scab on the incision.
  • Walk as much as possible. Short frequent walks are better than one long walk.
  • If long car rides are necessary, plan to get out of the car frequently and walk around, at least once every hour.
  • No jarring or bouncing activity, such as riding lawnmowers or recreational vehicles.
  • No vacuuming.
  • No lifting greater than 10 pounds for one month.
  • Avoid working with your arms above your head.
  • Sexual activity is permissible if it is comfortable.
  • We will discuss advancing your activity at your follow-up appointment.
  • DON’T drive if you are given a hard cervical (Miami J) collar to wear or you are taking narcotics.
Symptoms to Report to the Office
  • Recurrence of severe pain.
  • Weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Difficulty breathing or inability to swallow.
  • Fevers greater than 101.0 F.
  • Drainage of any kind from your incision.
  • Use an over the counter stool softener as directed on label while you are taking narcotics.
  • Do not use anti-inflammatory medication unless discussed with your physician.
  • Be sure you have pain medicine or prescriptions before leaving the hospital.
Follow up
  • If you don’t already have a follow-up visit, please call the office when you get home and schedule an appointment.