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What should I expect after having cervical spinal fusion surgery?

After cervical fusion surgery, you will first go to the recovery room for monitoring, where nurses will check your vital signs and incision. You will most likely have a Foley catheter to drain your bladder. This will be removed as soon as you are able to walk to the bathroom safely.

You will have sequential compression devices on your legs that gently squeeze and release your calves. These help prevent the complication of blood clots. You will still have an intravenous (IV) line.

If you do not go home the day of your surgery, you will most likely stay only one night. You will be transferred to the nursing unit where the staff is specially trained to care for people who have had spinal surgery. You and your family/friends will be introduced to your healthcare staff and briefed on your room.

Your pain will most likely be controlled with medication through your IV. Your diet will start with liquids and soft foods. As you tolerate these then your diet can be advanced. You will most likely get out of bed with assistance on the day of your surgery. You may have your Foley catheter removed.

The day after your surgery is considered Post Op Day #1. On this day you should expect to reach your goals for discharge. These goals include:
  • performing your daily hygiene and activities while following your spine precautions
  • transitioning to oral pain medications for pain control
  • walking 50-100 feet
  • understanding how and when to wear your cervical collar if one has been ordered for you

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.