Common Myths of Cervical Spine Surgery?

Common Myths of Cervical Spine Surgery?

With the advent of the internet, shared communication, and cell phones, most everyone can share their story of surgery or medical care with the rest of the world. Some patients feel compelled to go online to share their medical story; in particular when something goes wrong. However, there is a downside to social media where information can be outdated, one-sided, misleading, and all together false. Here are some of the myths of cervical spine surgery that I hear from my patients in the office who are scheduling surgery.

Myth #1: Do I need to wear a collar after surgery?

Most patients who undergo Anterior Cervical Surgery through a 1-level, 2-level, or 3-level surgery will not be required to wear a collar. At the outset of cervical fusion surgery and as early as 10 years ago, Spine Surgeons mandated those patients wear a collar. That is not the case anymore since fusion rates are higher, greater education on post-operative care, and better fusion technology. A small number of patients who are involved in a traumatic accident with or without cervical spine surgery may be required to wear a collar for instability, but this is the minority population (< 5%).

Myth #2: Are you taking bone from my hip?

The vast majority of Spine Surgeons do not take bone from your hip. As technology for the procedure improved and allograft products became more available, the need for hip bone became less important. In fact, the part of the procedure to remove hip autograft hurt more than the actual anterior cervical surgery. In my practice, I only use bone harvested from the patient using the same incision.

Myth #3: Do I need to stay in bed after surgery?

Mobility is the key. Over the past 20 years, surgical recovery has gone through an enlightening period where immobility was previously thought the gold standard has now been converted to mobility as the gold standard. I frequently tell my patients to follow the ‘20 Minute Rule” of changing position every 20 minutes as mobility loosens muscles and improves pain.