The information provided here is a guide to what is to be expected in the post-operative period. There may be a wide variation in what is expected after surgery, however, if there is a persisting severe problem it should always be referred back to my office.
In general the patient is able to get out of bed on the day of surgery. The wound is usually closed with dissolving sutures. 2 “tails” of fishing line like material protrude from either end. These may be trimmed flush to the skin after 2 weeks. It is not necessary to pull these out-if left they will simply fall off.
The wound needs to be not soaked underwater for the first week after surgery. Usually the patient can shower with a dressing and change to a dry cover afterwards. It should not be soaked uncovered in bath or pool for the first three weeks.
Most patients will be seen by a physiotherapist, who will provide instructions on general car measures and exercises.
In general patients should not drive for one week after this operation due to safety concerns. After that if there is sufficient neck mobility then driving can recommence.
It is usual and expected for there to be some pain related to the incision in the initial post-op period. This will in most cases only require medication for a day or two. It then should settle to an ache requiring nil or mild pain relief only. If there has been pain in the arm before surgery, it is not uncommon for there still to be twinges of similar pain and this will generally settle with time. Similarly, episodes of pins and needles where there has previously been pain or numbness is quite common and in many cases is to be expected unless severe.
If pain returns and is severe or numbness and pins and needles do not settle, then the patient should contact the office. If there are any problems with the wound, the patient should contact the office.