What to expect post surgical C4-T4 fusion
Hello everybody! I am hoping that people who have had spinal fusions from the C4-T4 level will respond to my questions. I am scheduled to undergo this operation as well as an osteotomy at the T-10 level on April 12th, next week. I will be meeting with my surgeon next Monday for pre-op testing and to sign the consent forms, ask questions, etc. In the meantime I'm trying to prepare myself for what to expect once the surgery is over. Some of my concerns are these:
1. Will I be wearing a neck brace once surgery is complete? If so, would it be a hard brace or more likely a soft brace and would I need to wear it 24/7?
2. How much range of motion can I expect to lose by fusing those vertebra? Will I, for example, be able to look over my shoulder to look for oncoming traffic while I'm driving?
3. I've had a dozen surgeries on my spine already but not involving the cervical level. How much post operative pain will I have from surgery on those levels as opposed to the thoracic or lumbar spine?
4. Will I be able to sleep on my back immediately after surgery and once I'm home and in my own bed, or will I be instructed to stay on my side to prevent pressure on my neck?
I really appreciate any comments that you may have. Any tips or suggestions for what I might need in the way of assistance once I get home? Thanks so much! BB