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C3-c7 posterior cervical surg

Ive had three opinions and all have said the surgery is necessary. I’d love to know what to expect from someone who’s had this done vs just what my surgeon tells me. 1. How long should surgery be? 2. How long of an incision? 3. How long should I expect to be in the hospital? 4. How soon before I can travel by plane somewhat comfortably? I’d also love to hear any feedback on things you werent prepared for that you wished you knew ahead of time and any tips for post surgery that would be helpful.  Thanks so much! 



  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 917
    3eekids - Are you scheduled for anterior or posterior approach surgery?  What exactly is your surgeon proposing to do (i.e. fusion, decompression)?  

  • Hi 3eekids,

      I had a posterior c4-7 some of your question need to be answered by your doctor ..such as how soon you can travel on a plane and how long does he expect the surgery will last..that also varies. As for the scar I can answer that one..mine run just slightly above the base of my skull to right below the shoulders between the top of the shoulder blades. Recovery is a slow process . I wore my hard collar for 6 months but that too varies. I'm not going to sugar coat it a posterior is a very painful surgery and you neck will be weak for a good year or so..I was in the hospital for 3 days on the 4th I went home..Will they be using your own bone or donor ? Mine was my own from my hip so I had to prove to them I was stable enough on my feet before I could go home.

      I'd suggest that if there is anyone you feel comfortable with to have them help you with personal care maybe for a week or so when you get home.

    I also have mentioned this before if you have longish hair shoulder length or daughter friend frenched braided my hair so after they shave the back of your head you still have hair to cover the scar when you let it down.. it makes all the difference . Even my surgeon thought that was a cool idea..

    I hope everything goes well for you and please keep us posted

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  • Hi, I’m 11weeks and 5 days post c3-c7 postierior fusion. I’ve already had and anterior fusion that failed so oh boy got to do it again from behind.  

    My scar is about 6 to 8 inches long.  From the base of my skull to right above my shoulder blades.  I’m not gonna lie this was much harder than my first one.  Also taking a lot longer to heal.  I haven’t even been cleared yet for PT and don’t see doc again till the 23 of August.  

    One thing to know, once surgery is done don’t let the pain catch up to your meds, set a timer or something to help you remember.  I would always in the beginning if it said one every 4 hours I’d do it at 31/2 because once it sets in it’s really hard to get under control, lots of tears later I learned this.  I have a awesome roommate who would keep up with all that.  Your neck will be numb for weeks maybe longer, I still can’t feel the skin on the back of my neck.  

    One big piece of advice is get a good recliner.  I did last one but this time I’m still recovering from Harvey and don’t have any living room furniture so I’ve been stuck in bed this whole time.  Ask your dr up front about weather you want cadaver bone or your own bone harvested for surgery.  I was only in hospital 2 nights but I think if you have the bone harvested you would stay longer.  I personally wish I’d acted weaker and not so able to take care of myself so I could’ve stayed longer.  

    See at home I have no AC and it’s been the hottest summer in mny years.  So my roomie bought me a portable AC and 3 big fans and been living in a cave which is not really good for your state of mind.  I wish I could get up and move around go outside without being over heated.  Cause that neck collar is HOT!!  Maybe get some of those cooler things you can put in freezer and stick in your collar.  

    3eekids, you can private message me if you want or have any specific questions.  Good luck and stay positive.  

  • @3eekids Im 2 weeks out from C3-T2 fusion. I spent one week in hospital due to drainage issue.

    My procedure was almost 6 hrs. My incision is 14 inches. I was told no travelling for at least 6 weeks.

    Your situation will be different though. Maybe you can travel sooner, etc. 

    Im learning the hard way that slow and steady wins this race. So don't rush anything.

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