Collar Care Instructions for Cervical Fusions

Peer Reviewed
These discharge instructions are printed with permission from Todd J. Albert, M.D. of the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University. Discharge instructions and recommendations may vary per institution, be sure to ask your doctor. patient doctor color photo

You have been fitted pre-operatively for two cervical collars. One collar must be worn full-time. The second collar (pinkish colored one) is for showering purposes.

As soon as all your bandages have been removed and you feel strongly enough after your surgery, you may begin to shower. Showering must be done using a collar to help support your neck during the first 6-8 weeks following your surgery.

You should begin by lying down on a flat surface. Bring along the second "shower" collar and place it by your side. Begin by removing the front portion of your collar and switching it with the front portion of the shower collar. Holding the front piece securely with one hand, log roll onto your side and repeat with the back half of the collars. Roll back onto your back and Velcro the shower collar in place.

You may shower as normal. Please refrain from using bathtubs, hot tubs or whirlpools until seen back in the office and your incisions have been checked. You may shampoo your hair as usual. [Ladies, if you wish to go to the beauty parlor, please wash your hair at home and make sure your collar is securely in place during blow drying and styling].

Once you have showered, towel dry as normal. Go back to a flat surface and repeat the above directions to change back into the dry collar. While changing collars, make sure to have someone check your incisions or use a hand-held mirror to see for yourself.

We recommend men use an electric razor to shave during this time period. You may do the majority of shaving standing up and finish the area beneath the collar while lying down during the changing process (using a hand-held mirror).


  • Do not use lotions, powders or oils on your incision during the healing process (6 weeks)
  • If skin irritation or excessive sweating should occur, wearing a silk or cotton scarf under your brace can be very soothing and help make you more comfortable.

To learn about Dr. Albert’s practice, click here.

Updated on: 09/20/16
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The above "instructions" are general guidelines used to educate patients after certain spinal procedures. Although these specifically relate to the patients at Thomas Jefferson University, they remain useful to our SpineUniverse audience and serve as examples as to what one might expect at other institutions. Please discuss these issues and topics with your treating surgeon as the instructions may vary considerably.
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