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Old 02-01-2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Question Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

I have been reading this board now for about a month.. everyone is told to do such different things by their docs it is amazine!! for the most part the surgery is done pretty much by same... except for number of levels, and choice of bone donor.. but why is there such a difference in how long they say to wear the hard collar (I don't really count the soft collar for much) and when to drive when to begin PT... do people fuse at such a differnt rate?? I was told by my surgeon two weeks then his nurse said 3-4weeks but I am not scheduled to go back for an office visit for 4 weeks... I was told by the spine team to avoid extreme flexioin and extension and really avoid rotation.. that was pretty much it!! Now I am thinking I may have to change my plans and plan to keep the hard collar on and not drive for four weeks which will put a hardship on us as a family.. any ideas?? bdancer

 
Old 02-01-2007, 03:05 PM   #2
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

I am supposed to wear this collar for at least 3 months. And for me I plan to do exactly as they say.

Your doc might have said fusion at 2-3 weeks, but that is just the start of fusion. Complete fusion is going to take much longer than that.

Everyone is different and different rates of healing. And each doctor has their own surgical techniques which may play a part in ones healing.

As much as you want to get the healing over with you have to remember you just went through a major surgery. What you do now could affect you and your family much worse later if you try to rush things now.

I've had a few major surgeries in my life, but this one is by far the one that has totally knocked the wind out of my sail. LOL, So I plan on a long recovery.

But doing a bit better each day.

I hope the same for you.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:26 PM   #3
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Yes we all have gotten various instructions. I wore mine for about 11 weeks my first surgery and about 8 weeks my second surgery. My fusions did take very fast and are very solid. Who knows if it is because my surgeon prefers his patients to wear hard collar for this amount of time. Before I took it off, I had to have an xray and they decided. So as you see everyone is different. For me I felt a short time of inconvenience was worth getting the best possible result I could.

 
Old 02-01-2007, 05:49 PM   #4
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

I was told 8 weeks, my first post op appt is 4 weeks after surgery, he will xray but said if I want a good fusion to take wear the collar atleast 8 weeks and then to be decided after that........I feel the same as shepardlady, I will do as I am told I want it to take.........

I too stand by my decision to use my own bone even though it hurts like h$%@l......this hip is really slowing me down........but I won't have this worry....

Hope all who had surgery last week are doing fine........everyday is just a little better.......hope everyone else who are a few weeks out from surgery are doing good also...........Everyone who has been by us I thank you so much............quilter

 
Old 02-01-2007, 05:53 PM   #5
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Hello All,
I wore my torture device for three months. I got to take it off yesterday!
I had a bilevel.
Regards,
Ice

 
Old 02-02-2007, 09:54 AM   #6
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Actually, people do fuse at different rates.

It has to do with age, health and if you are or were a smoker or not.

There is more to it though, and I was thinking about starting a thread to specifically address the different messages that people are getting from the posts here, and different doctors.

One influence on the doctors is the fact that people want instant results. Some doctors believe that if they can give their patients what they want, it will make them feel better and possibly get well faster. This is more of a human nature thing, than a medical decision.

Another influence is the cost of care and the insurance companies trying to keep that cost down. Doctors are under more pressure all the time to release patients from care as quickly as possible. Sometimes I personally think that judgement is impaired by these pressures.

Then there is work, and the cost of paying for the person not working, or for lack of a better term "workman's comp". Companies want you to come back to work as quickly as possible in order to reduce their insurance burden.

I think, and this is strictly my opinion, that we need to be careful how we read all of these mixed messages in each of our own individual cases. I hear so many posters on here that say, "I didn't have to wear a collar because my doc said so." or "I am going back to work in two weeks, because my doctor said it was okay."

This is a major surgery. Our bodies need time to recover. You need to be the true judge of where you are at, not your doctor or your boss. You should realise, the pressures that the doctors are under, and that they may not always be right. You should have the final say. Don't take their word as being the gospel.

I know that I could not go back to work in 4 weeks, and had a difficult time even at 6 weeks. I also couldn't have driven any sooner than that. I had the hard collar on much longer than I wanted or hoped. My doctor made me wear it.

Anyway, take part in the process. Look at your films when you visit the surgeon. Look at the progress. Take cues from your body. How do you feel? Are you comfortable with what you are being asked or told to do? Don't ever force yourself to do things because you are being told to do it...particularly when you know better. Always err on the side of conservatism, until you are healthy again. The alternative is damage and more surgery.

There have been many on here over the years that I have been posting that didn't understand this, and came back, because the surgery failed. This is not something that you want to have to go through again unless there is no choice.

Why not be careful and make sure that this doesn't happen to you?

BTW, it takes a year for full fusion. Ask your doc.

Dennis

Last edited by dennisgb; 02-02-2007 at 10:00 AM.

 
Old 02-02-2007, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

I just had a post surgry visit and my Dr. said takes up to 1 yr to fuse, so I am with Dennis. I wore hard collar for 1 month and still wear it as a passenger for long drives. I did not drive for 2 months... (had husband drive me to work). I went back to work after 3.5 wks light duty desk job.

2 level fusion plus extensive bone spurring removal!

X ray shows partially fused....Surgeon OK with fusing process.

 
Old 02-02-2007, 12:07 PM   #8
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Its so weird. My dr. has me not wearing a collar, but I am having a BUNCH of post op appts. and each one has me getting X-rayed. I do this at 12 days, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 yrs. I feel really good that they are at least seeing me that much post op. The rest, I will just figure out trying to use common sense. I am hoping that by May, I can go to NY and bum around for a week and not be in alot of pain, by then. That will be 4 months post op. I promised my daughter for her college graduation we would go then. I am going to plan it and hope for the best. I am just praying that sitting on a plane from Colorado to NY will be OK by that time. The Dr. seems to think its ***** dory.

 
Old 02-03-2007, 06:44 AM   #9
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Thanks so much for all your input guys... I have decided that I will not push the doc with his "two weeks is fine" thing... I will wear the hard collar for three weeks then the fourth week I will wear the soft collar just to drive my daughter to school in morning (so my dh can go to work early ) then he'll pick her up in afternoon and help with all the after school activities transport for a couple of more weeks, This is the hardest thing for us, I, fortunatley, stopped working in July when my pain and weakness became too much for me to handle, so I don't have to worry about that but I have to worry about HIS job.. he has been working half days then bringing home work but how long can even the most flexible boss be about that... he is not behind at work but I dont' want to push things... this will give me around 6 weeks in hard collar then I"ll start wearing the soft.for a couple of weeks. the surgeon said I had beautiful healthy bones (my problem was from car accident not arthritis) I don't smoke so hopefully I'll fuse quickly enough in a couple of months to go back to being soccer mom Gosh I am so glad I have this source of information! Even though it is hard to hear the truth I feel the doctors office has glossed over so much (evento the point of lying!!) about the hip pain ,,, about the recovery,, about the post-op pain etc etc... bye for now bdancer

PS good news I am feeling really quite good so many things have improved even my heel spurs are better because the weight is more evenly distributed on my feet now, my gait is more normal, etc etc now if I can get rid of these spasms and hip pain...I'll feel like a teenager again

 
Old 02-03-2007, 05:26 PM   #10
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

I was advised to wear it (Aspen Collar) for at least 6 weeks and at the 6 week post-op appointment if the fusion looked on track I could take the collar off. I did wear it for 6 weeks and didn't drive for 6 weeks. Your neck health is worth the sacrifice if the collar is needed longer. Heck, to get rid of the pain I would have worn the collar as long as my doctor advised me to.

As for the speed of a fusion - every person heals differently. My doctor saw me at 2 weeks post op, 6 weeks post op, 3 months post op, 6 months post op and next at 12 months. Of course he'd deviate from this if he felt it was necessary - at each office visit he took xrays to gague the fusion and as of my 6 month I was on track and no need to see him again until 12 months unless I had a complication.
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:30 PM   #11
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

ns guidance for myself was hard collar for 8 weeks....mine was level 2 c3/4/5....then moved to a soft collar at my choice. my dr. stated that after about 8 weeks that my neck was actually stronger than it was b4 in that area. when people hear things that have a year to do with timing, that refers to the time that nerves need to heal...gl to you

 
Old 02-05-2007, 08:25 PM   #12
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Think of this ......you basically have a surgically induced broken neck......If you had a broken leg in a cast would you take the cast off before told to? Probably not.......the collar is your cast.......Short time is easy compared to a life time of problems......

 
Old 02-06-2007, 09:24 AM   #13
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

DEAR quilter


I asked this question because I am afraid that my surgeon may be telling me what he thinks I want to hear instead of what he really wants....his nurse said 3-4 weeks... I am going to call at the end of this week and discuss this with the nurse because my first appointment is 4 weeks!! I would never take the collar off before he said so.. I am actually being more conservative not less...after being on these boards I know the dangers of doing too much too soon!

 
Old 02-06-2007, 02:21 PM   #14
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

Quote:
Originally Posted by quilter58 View Post
Think of this ......you basically have a surgically induced broken neck......If you had a broken leg in a cast would you take the cast off before told to? Probably not.......the collar is your cast.......Short time is easy compared to a life time of problems......

Boy, this is so true and puts it all in perspective!
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Old 02-06-2007, 02:57 PM   #15
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Re: Honestly, how long do you think someone should wear the hard collar??

I have learned to rely more on common sense than my Dr.'s advice. My Dr. is so liberal that if I listened to him I would be a walking S P A S M. Its so weird. He runs a huge spinal institute and all he does is spinal surgeries. He is very knowledgeable and I am sure he knows what he doing. My physiatrist, who is highly respected (by me and everyone else) totally thinks the surgeon is great. But the difference in philosophies in surgeons entirely blows my mind. I will be seeing the surgeon for the 2nd post op on Feb. 22nd. I plan on grilling him alot on stuff. (why no collar....why doe he think its ok to drive so early, blah blah blah.

 
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