How Long is the Recovery Time From Cervical Disc Replacement?

Cervical disc replacement surgery has emerged as a groundbreaking solution for patients suffering from arm pain, numbness, tingling or weakness, and common cervical spine disorders. With advancements in medical technology and surgical techniques, this procedure offers a promising path to recovery for those plagued by severe pain.

Dr. Tim Johans, a leading neurosurgeon based in Boise, specializes in this minimally invasive surgery, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to replace damaged cervical discs with artificial ones. This blog explores what patients can expect during the recovery process from cervical disc replacement surgery.

Dr. Johans is a Diplomat and Fellow of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, board certified in Pain Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. He began his neurosurgical career in 1988 and has been practicing in Boise since 1993. With these credentials, you can trust that Dr. Johans has the specialized knowledge and experience to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

He is a dedicated family man who is heavily involved in his community, is involved in several hospital boards and committees and takes pride in being a faith-driven person. Dr. Johans has had a 3 level neck fusion and can discuss options from his vast personal experience.

We also work closely with other non-surgeons if necessary so that our patients can access all available resources when making decisions regarding their treatment plans. Additionally, our team is always prompt in responding to inquiries and addressing patients' concerns throughout their recovery process. Reviews on Google and Healthgrades show that many individuals who have sought treatment from Dr. Johans have found success in his treatments while feeling comfortable and supported throughout their experiences at our office.

What Is Cervical Disc Replacement?

Cervical disc replacement is an innovative surgical approach designed to treat or reduce arm pain, weakness, tingling or numbness, and associated spine disorders without compromising the neck's natural mobility. By replacing the damaged cervical disc with an artificial one, this procedure aims to alleviate pain while preserving the spine&'s movement. The use of advanced technology and precise surgical techniques ensures high success rates, making cervical disc replacement a preferred option for many patients.

doctor checking a patient's arm and neck pain

What Is The Recovery Like For Cervical Disc Replacement?

Patients can expect the following during the recovery from cervical disc replacement:

  1. Mild to moderate pain in the back of the neck that resolves over 1-2 weeks
  2. Mild neck stiffness that typically improves
  3. Minimal, if any, narcotic use
  4. No lifting restrictions
  5. Restrictions are based on avoiding trauma

The recovery from cervical disc replacement varies among individuals, influenced by several factors:

  • Health (or not) of other areas in your neck: Some, not all, can be seen on the pre-operative MRI.
  • Individual Health: A patient's age and overall health significantly impact the speed of recovery. Pre-existing conditions may also affect how quickly one recovers.
  • Surgery Complexity: The complexity of the surgery, including the number of discs replaced (typically just one), directly influences the duration of the recovery period.
  • Post-Surgical Care: Following post-operative instructions from Dr. Johans carefully is essential for a smooth and efficient recovery process.
  • Rehabilitation: If prescribed, active participation in prescribed physical therapy sessions and exercises is key to accelerating recovery and achieving optimal outcomes.

The ultimate predictor of normal strength and sensation after surgery is how severe and for how long you had weakness or numbness before surgery.

Is It Normal To Feel Pain After Cervical Disc Replacement?

Can You Return to Activities After Cervical Disc Replacement?

Post-surgery, the timeline for resuming daily activities and returning to work varies based on the individual's condition and the nature of their job or lifestyle:

  • Light Daily Activities: Patients typically can engage in light activities, such as walking on the first day, or light duty housework or work, within 1-2 weeks after surgery.
  • Office Work: The ability to perform office work are often possible within 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
  • Driving: The patient has been off of pain medication for more than 24 hours and is safely moving the head from side to side.
  • Exercise: Light exercises, including walking, are encouraged immediately post-surgery. More vigorous activities, such as jogging or swimming, can usually be resumed after 4 weeks, with intensity gradually increasing.
  • Return to Work: The timeline for returning to work depends on the physical demands of the job. Office workers may return sooner than those in physically demanding roles.
  • Full Recovery: Patients can expect to return to normal activities one month after cervical disc replacement.

Dr. Johans provides personalized guidance to ensure patients understand when it's safe to resume various activities, including work, based on their occupation and recovery progress. While recovery times from cervical disc replacement surgery can vary, the procedure offers significant benefits, including the preservation of neck mobility and relief from pain.

What is Life Like After Cervical Disc Replacement?

woman smiling and stretching her triceps

Contact Dr. Johans for Disc Replacement in Boise

If cervical disc replacement is a procedure you're considering, Dr. Johans is here to guide you every step of the way. His commitment is to provide personalized care that aligns with your lifestyle and health objectives.

Reach out directly at (208) 327-5621 or initiate your journey to recovery by completing our patient questionnaire. Together, we'll explore the best treatment options tailored just for you.

Patient Questionnaire


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