Cervical Spine Surgery Post-Operative Instructions

F. Donovan Kendrick, M.D.

Wound Care

Keep your incision clean and dry until the staples are removed. Change the dressing as needed.


If you notice any excessive redness, drainage or any other obvious sign of infection, please contact the office.


We will discuss a prescription for pain before discharge. You are encouraged to use over the counter medications like acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) and use the prescription pain medication for more severe pain if needed. Please try something over the counter before calling for a pain prescription refill (you may not need it).

Activity & Travel

Most patients will need to limit their activity for the 1st 1-2 weeks. As you begin to feel better, you may begin to drive and resume light activity around the house. Sedentary work can be resumed at 2-4 weeks, however, manual labor may take 8-12 weeks.

What to Expect

It is normal to experience some tightness and even spasms between your shoulder blades and across the top of your shoulders after neck surgery. We recommend the use of heat or ice and massage to relax the muscles.

Follow Up

Please call the office for an appointment for your next office visit. Generally, this will be about two weeks after your surgery. Return to work can be anticipated in 2 to 4 weeks for patients having sedentary jobs and 8 to 12 weeks for patients whose job requires heavy manual labor.