Post-op instructions will be reviewed with the patient before being discharged from the hospital. During
this discussion, Dr. Johans will review medications, wound care, activity and back-to-work restrictions, and
any other questions the patient might have. Additional literature will be sent home to ensure patients are
aware of all the necessary information.
To maintain post-op comfort, Dr. Johans will be given a combination of medications: anti-inflammatories,
muscle relaxers, and narcotics, if necessary. While still in the hospital, patients will review what
medications are appropriate for their recovery and how to use them properly during recovery.
Anti-inflammatories will typically be used for a few months, and muscle relaxers are helpful in the four to
five days after surgery. Dr. Johans might suggest a narcotic for pain relief based on what is best for the
patients’ recovery and allergies, with the goal of getting off them as quickly as possible.
The incision site will be covered with gauze and secured with a clear plastic dressing. It is crucial to keep
the dressing dry until it is no longer required. Patients can take showers if they keep the wound site and
dressing dry. If the dressing gets wet, remove it and pat, blot, or blow the area dry and replace it with a
new bandage. It is recommended to delay showering until 5 days post-op and instead do sponge baths or other
cleaning methods in the meantime.
It is important to stay attentive to any possible infections. Signs of an infection include the area around
the surgical site becoming red, hot to the touch, or puss coming from the incision. Patients should call Dr.
Johans immediately if they suspect an infection.
Activity and Back-to-Work Restrictions
In the time following the surgery, patients will notice that their neck is stiffer than before. This is
normal, and movement immediately after surgery is recommended. The main goal of restricting certain
activities is to prevent patients from injuring their head or straining their neck while it recovers. You
can always ask Dr. Johans about any activity you’d like to resume.
This means patients cannot:
- Ride a Bicycle
- Drive a motorcycle or ATV
- Use a ladder
- Get up on the roof
- Shower after removing dressing on post-op day 5
- Lift items near body and overhead to your comfort level
- Use the stairs with the aid of a banister
- Take walks
Additionally, patients may have certain work restrictions, depending on their profession. Patients might need one month to recover from the surgery before returning to work. Dr. Johans will require an in-depth description of the patient's job and will recommend how and when to return to work. If an employer requires any worker's compensation paperwork, patients can bring it to their one-month post-op appointment to review it with Dr. Johans.
If patients are concerned about their recovery at any time between being discharged from the hospital and the one-month follow-up appointment, they can reach out to Dr. Johans. He can always take a call to discuss any questions and provide quick solutions to help recovery go as smoothly as possible.