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Patient Discharge Instructions

Cervical Spine Procedure

The following instructions are provided to guide you during your recovery at home. Please carefully read and follow these guidelines to ensure a smooth healing process.

Incision Care:

  • Keep the incision site clean and dry. Avoid getting it wet for at least 72 hours after surgery.
  • After 72 hours you can wash your hair with shampoo, but please avoid aggressive scrubbing.
  • If the incision shows signs of infection (e.g., redness, increased pain, discharge), contact your doctor immediately.


  • Take all prescribed medications as directed by your doctor, including pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, and any other medications.
  • Follow the recommended schedule and dosage instructions provided to you.
  • If you experience any adverse reactions or have concerns about your medications, consult your healthcare provider.

Neck Support:

  • Your neck will require support during the recovery period. Use a neck brace, collar, or any other device as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on when and how long to wear the neck support.
  • Avoid excessive bending, twisting, or movements that strain the neck, but make sure to keep moving your neck to prevent muscle spasms.

Activity and Rest:

  • Engage in light activities and gradually increase your level of physical activity as tolerated.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise for the first few weeks following surgery.
  • Maintain a balance between rest and activity. Take short walks throughout the day but ensure to get enough rest and sleep.

Physical Therapy:

  • Your doctor may recommend physical therapy sessions to aid in your recovery. Attend all scheduled appointments and follow the therapist’s instructions.
  • Perform any prescribed exercises or stretches as directed by your physical therapist.
  • Inform your therapist if you experience any pain or discomfort during the exercises.

Wound Healing:

  • Do not apply creams, lotions, or ointments to the incision site unless specifically advised by your doctor.
  • Keep an eye on the incision site for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any concerning changes.


  • Consult your doctor regarding when you can safely return to work, considering the physical demands of your job.

Follow-Up Appointments:

  • It is crucial to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your doctor to monitor your progress and address any concerns.
  • Follow any additional instructions provided by your healthcare provider during these appointments.

Signs of Issues:

  • It is important to be aware of any signs of potential complications. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following:
  • Fever with a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C).
  • Severe or worsening neck pain that does not improve with pain medication.
  • Increased swelling, redness, or drainage from the incision site.
  • Difficulty moving your arms or legs, weakness, numbness, or changes in sensation.
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Speech difficulties
  • Problems with bladder or bowel function.

Remember, each person’s recovery may vary, so it’s essential to listen to your body and take it easy during the healing process. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions during your recovery.

Wishing you a smooth recovery and improved health. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance.

NeurosurgeryLA Team

Schedule your appointment

To schedule your consultation, please sign up here or by phone at (213) 262-8787. Our office works hard to get all patients an in-person or video visit within 48 hours of contacting us.
Neurosurgeon based out of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dignity Health Northridge Medical Center, and PIH Health Good Samaritan in Los Angeles, California. Click here to add Dr. Zachary Barnard to your phone contacts.

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