I am due to have a posterior cervical foraminotomy.

I am due to have a posterior cervical foraminotomy in September. I wonder what to expect after the operation - pain, stiffness etc, and what I will be able to do to take care of myself? Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

21 August 2013

As long as your surgery goes smoothly (and it is essential that you talk through in detail the possible complications of this, like any other surgery) you should be moving around within a few hours of coming round from your anaesthetic. You should be able to drink within a few hours and eat the same day. You will be encouraged to get up and move around as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a clot in the leg which is a possible complication of any surgery. You should be able to go home within 2-3 days but will need to take regular pain-relieving medication for some weeks.

How soon you can go back to work will depend very much on the kind of work you do. You can expect some pain, although you should be able to work with your medical team to find a combination of medicines to control this. For a couple of weeks at least you will probably need to take pain medication regularly, then start taking it when you need it.

You will need to avoid lifting anything weighing more than 2 or 3kg for about 8 weeks after your surgery. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on movements (especially repetitive movements of your arms or neck) which you should avoid to speed up your recovery.
Answered by Dr Sarah Jarvis.


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