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Old 01-14-2007, 10:24 AM   #1
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Cool Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

Hi all, ......I am having ACDF on Jan 24th......I kept reading here about an aspen collar........looked it up......I am wondering Do all ACDF surgeries require an aspen colllar or some other collar......

..I will have hardware installed, so i am wondering........

How difficult is it to sleep if you have to have an aspen collar........Any chance of a soft collar after surgery? Probably a dumb question......

How long in an aspen collar.....do they give that to you at the hospital.....or do I ask the neuro if I need it in advance.....
I am currently wearing a soft collar until surgery....Doctors orders......

I so enjoy being able to read and share with all on this board........

 
Old 01-14-2007, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I think it is up to your doc if you will be in a hard collar or not. My doc said 3 weeks (I had two level fusion with hardware). I initially was given a Philadelphia at preop appointment (2 weeks before surgery) with instructions to bring it to hospital on surgery day. I tried everything around the house to get comfortable in it. It rode way up on my ears and I could not imagine being 24/7. I started to panic. My anxiety mainly was over wearing this collar not surgery itself. When they called the day before to remind (how could I ever forget?) of my surgery the next day I told them then that I could not wear a Philadelphia. I had spoken with a lady at a medical supply store and she agreed I needed something besides Philadelphia. Well long story short when I woke up from surgery I was in an Aspen (your hard collar will be put on during surgery). This would be my preferred choice as it has interchangeable pads so you can wash one set while the other dries. I also got a men's silk hankie (perfect size) and wore that over the chin area. I was really a fashion statement. If I had to wear the collar for several months I would have gotten more silk to color coordinate (lol). I also coated my neck in corn starch. This really helps to soothe the skin. I tried cotton under the collar (scarf and baby burb cloth) but they were just not as comfortable as silk. I still had the Philadelphia so I used it to shower in (it is all plastic material). I know there is another collar type called a Miami J but i don't know too much about it. I still wear the Aspen (I am six weeks post op) when I have to travel very far or to settle my neck down if I overdo. Good Luck with your surgery. It is not so bad, just take each moment as it comes (there are good ones and bad) and know in the end it will all be worth it. Oh yeah, to sleep in Aspen I finally piled up pillows on a wedge pillow and was able to get pretty comfortable.

 
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Old 01-14-2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I too will have 2 level w/hardware.........so many types of collars?????.....where did you get a silk hankie.....mens store.....I'm in the beanfields of kansas, could go to wichita to a higher end store.....hehehe.....
thank you for clarifing the different collars....I will ask the nurse this next week before I go .......thank you .......

 
Old 01-14-2007, 12:01 PM   #4
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I live in a small community so had searched for a silk scarf with no luck. I happen to go into a local thrift store because I thought about a men's silk tie and cutting it up to fit and happen to find the hankie. Alot of times the hankie comes in a set with a tie. I don't think many men use the hankie so you might ask around to see if someone has one stuffed in a drawer. I searched online and found sets also. Fortunately for me mine was only $1.00 It handwashes really well. A ladies silk scarf would probably be big enough to make 2 if cut in half. Down side is they are quite expensive.

 
Old 01-14-2007, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

Thank you I will try the thrift stores.........great idea....i am a quilter....so I should be able to ask someone in my guild if they have any......someone else on this board suggested some soft material......they have some really soft material out now called "minkie'.......I suffer from hot flashes so I think the silk will work better for me.......THANK YOU THANK YOU.....

 
Old 01-14-2007, 04:26 PM   #6
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I wore the philadelphia collar when up and about - or while in car, etc., but could use the soft at night watching tv or while sleeping. The hospital provided one of each. (actually, two philli because one was too short.) The hospital soft was waaay more comfy than the drug store one i'd found.

With the hard collar, I needed something for my chin too. The softest thing I could think of was a really plush footie (sock) I had. lol. It was wonderful. Don't know what the type of fabric is called, but it's what those ultra-soft stuffed animals are being made of these days. Hope you know what I'm talking about.

An acquaintance of mine said her neuro doesn't have his patients use a collar if they have hardware. The collar was a bit of a pain, but I got used to it pretty quickly - hope you do well with yours.

take care

 
Old 01-14-2007, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I had a two level fusion with hardware (ACDF) and was advised by my doctor pre-op that I would be required to wear an Aspen Collar for 6 weeks post-op. I went and was fitted for one at orthotic store I was referrerd to (one that accepted my insurance). I brought it home and did a "test run" and found I felt like it was pushing up on my neck and my ears. So I went back the following day and the technician fitted me with the medium size (as opposed to tall) and it was much more comfortable. I also bought an extra set of pads for the collar so I could wash and dry one set while still wearing the collar.

Sleeping in the collar was not all too comfortable but with a selection of pillows I soon found how I could rig up the bed so I could sleep relatively comfortably and for 3-4 hours at a time.

From what I've read here the Aspen collar seems to be more comfortable than the Philadelphia.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 01-14-2007, 09:56 PM   #8
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I had a 1 level with hardware in November '06 and only had to use a soft collar when up and about for the first 4 weeks. I was allowed no collar at all when I was in bed, and never had to use a hard collar at any point. I've had several other health care providers (PT's, friends in the medical field, etc) exclaim over what great range of motion I have when I'm only 2 months out from surgery. I can't help but wonder if not having to wear the hard collar helped in that regard. It just seems to me that the less you move, then less you CAN move. Also, those same people have commented on how great my scar looks, again I think not having the friction from a hard collar has helped in that regard too. One of the nurses mentioned to me that at the neurosurgical practice I went to the doctors there don't even all agree, and some make their patients wear the hard collars and some use soft ones, and some use no collars at all! I am so grateful I didn't get a hard collar doctor!

 
Old 01-15-2007, 06:34 AM   #9
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

I was just telling my husband how amazing it is to me how each doctor requires different collars, different time lengths to wear, etc.? It is really scary not knowing which is the best avenue. I hated the thought of the hard collar but after surgery I became dependent on it (security blanket). It does limit your range of motion and your neck becomes quite stiff once you take it off. As to the incision I kept a bandage over it so it wouldn't rub on the collar. I found a teflon type bandage that only had tape on two sides. I cut it in half (size of incision) and it worked great. I too have hot flashes and this is what bothered me most about the collar. That is why the silk was the best against my face (it stays cool). I read somewhere to get the gel pacs that you can put in the refrigerator or freezer and when the hot flash comes on put it up under the edge of your collar or on your chest. This will help cool you down. I also found that if I sat very still I could undo one side of the collar till the hot flash subsided. Hot flashes are why I waited til winter for this surgery and I live in Florida and we are still hot..... Sigh.....

 
Old 01-15-2007, 09:10 AM   #10
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

Well I just found out I will be using a Miani J collar.....looked it up online ........doesn't seem to be too different from an Aspen collar......but then neither look real comfy.....

I will try all your suggestions.......found a silk scarf today and will cut it in 2 two make a "cool" coating.......I don't need anything else making me hot.......

at 47 years old I am not liking these hot flashes...........thank you all for the suggestions and experiences........quilter

 
Old 01-15-2007, 09:17 AM   #11
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Re: Aspen Collar? Other Collar?

HI, this is my first post since my surgery on 1-10 (last Wed.). I will do a main post on all that has occurred. I just wanted to say I had an ACDF C5-C7 and am not wearing a collar. I feel pretty darn good and am really happy to not be wearing one. I had a soft collar that I had bought a few years ago and tried that. I couldnt stand it, so I am not bothering with it. I do not feel bad at all. I just have to use my brains. The only issue is washing my hair in the shower. its hard to do it and not bend at all. Check my main post that I am about to write. Thanks

 
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