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Most patients will remain in the hospital for one to two days.
Most patients will feel better within a couple of weeks; however, do not lift, push or pull any heavy objects until after your doctor says it is OK. Healing from a fusion can take up to a year. The bone graft must be incorporated and fuse the vertebrae together. You will have x-rays at intervals to check on the healing and during that time your activities will be restricted.
Your surgeon will make a small incision in your neck crease. The surgeon removes the disc that is pressing on the nerves and stretches the area to help ensure that the space is maintained. A bone graft is inserted into the space to stimulate bone healing and to help the fusion form into a solid bone. It also increases the space for the nerve to leave the spine. Once the graft is put in place, the two vertebrae beside the removed disk are fused together. In some cases, pins and plates are used to stabilize the site.
It depends on the complexity of the repair and how many vertebrae are fused.
Recovery is patient dependent, but allow for four months for full recovery and up to a year for the bone graft to completely heal. Until then, patients have to avoid certain activities. Your doctor can advise what you can expect based on your health status and on your expected surgical repair.
Removing the problem disk and fusing the vertebrae in place helps in two ways – it restores alignment in your spine and maintains space between disks so that your nerves leaving the region are not being compressed. You will have decreased pain and numbness.
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