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How long does it take for wound to heal after cervical surgery

Started by 164860346204650... on 10/15/2015 3:14pm

I had cervical disc replacement and acdf of c4c5 c5c6 on 9/21/2015. I'm wanting to know how long my incision should take to heal? It's still pretty swelled up and I'm almost 4 weeks post op. I had difficulty swallowing the first two weeks and still am having some difficulty swallowing now. My neck was so tight after the surgery which I was told is normal but has been so uncomfortable ...I've also had numbness under the chin and around the wound. I just keep praying the swelling goes down....I appreciate any help/advice. Thank you sooo much!

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Hi, I had an acdf of C5-C7 last year and had the same experiences! The incision should be healed, but still very pink at 4 weeks. The swelling takes quite a while to go down completely - probably a couple of months at least. Swallowing without any trouble/pain took me 3-4 months. Numbness around the incision and neck, as well as the tightness, will gradually decrease. Muscle relaxants may help - or even ice or heat can help reduce the discomfort. Don't worry -- it sounds like you are right on track! It is just a very slow process, so try to relax and let yourself heal. It is amazing how much energy it takes to heal from this surgery! Best wishes!

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Hi Bonnierae, your reply is so greatly appreciated! Thank you for sharing and giving me much needed advice. I have my 4 week appt w my surgeon on Tuesday and I am really hoping he can shed some light on why I'm having a lot of pain, still. I was made to believe that after surgery my neck pain would be gone or minimal, has not been the case so far. It's had me so depressed and worried I might never be pain free? I'm praying this is not going to be true. I so want my life back. I had terrible right side neck pain ...like I had a knife in the side of my neck and near right shoulder blade and even pain in center of my upper neck/spine. The two discs were pressing the spinal cord and nerves...the doc said it was much worse then what my MRI showed when he was operating on me. My incision is very pink now and a little irritated...my docs PA said i will be able to start to put cream/vitamin e on it after the 4th week mark....so I'm looking forward to that helping. You're right, the healing process is very slow....my doc said healing takes 4-6 weeks...but that seems a bit off to me since tomorrow will be 4 weeks and I'm still swelled up and having terrible pain. I'm learning as I go unfortunately, and need to be patient and realize this takes time....trying to be patient.....just want to know life again before this. January will be one year....I know many ppl suffer much longer before going thru w surgery....I just pray I made the right decision and I won't have neck pain the rest of my life. I've been using heat and ice and taking hot showers...so far not much relief. I hate taking narcotics and only took Celebrex during the eight months before surgery. I took Tylenol w codeine for two weeks after surgery but it made me feel so out of it, I stopped. I was also taking Valium for the muscle spasms....but they only do so much. How long did it take you to fully recover? How long did you suffer with pain or nerve issues? I pray you're doing much better now and are pain free...my heart goes out to all that are suffering with any kind of chronic pain.

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Bonnierae, I meant to also ask you what you used on your incision? I bought some maderma but will also get some vitamin E too. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you for your support. My personal email is angelbaby300000@yahoo.com if email,is easier.

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Hi, I know you're concerned about getting back to normal and without pain. Just remember that you have been suffering with pain for a year, so relief won't come quickly either. I also think that when doctors talk about being "healed," they may mean that the incision has healed. But there's a lot of other issues that have to settle down and resolve. As you noted, there's swelling that takes time to subside, trauma to the throat and neck from moving everything to one side during the surgery, and muscle strain from all this. Plus when the pressure is relieved from the nerves, they can suddenly "wake up" and your body may register that as pain. So, this pain may actually mean you're healing! Nerves that have been damaged before surgery may also need to grow back -- and that takes a long time! I didn't feel completely recovered for a good six months. And the fusion itself can take 6 - 12 months. At 12 weeks, my surgeon recommended physical therapy - that really helped me get things moving and reduced the stiffness and pain. As far as my scar, I never used any special product - just a light moisturizing lotion. The incision was right in a crease in my neck, so once the pinkness faded, it became less noticeable. I just passed my one year post op. I have very little discomfort. Occasionally, I have some pain between my shoulder blades (undoubtedly from stress) ... But a nice therapeutic massage loosens that up! Hang in there! Anxiety makes pain worse, so try to relax and get lots of rest -- and keep walking! Best wishes!

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