Home Care Instructions after
Anterior Cervical Arthroplasty Surgery (ACDA)
ξ You should slowly increase your
activity. In most cases, common
sense will tell you when you are
doing too much. Doing too little may
delay the return of your strength and
ξ Begin walking 3-4 times a day once
you return home from the hospital.
Increase the distance as you are able.
ξ You may walk anywhere your
footing is safe; stairs, treadmills,
walking tracks, or inclines.
ξ No sports, aerobic or cardio activities
until seen at your follow up
ξ No overhead work, bending or
twisting from the waist or lifting
more than 10-15 pounds until seen at
your follow up appointment.
ξ Avoid over extending or bending of
ξ You may sleep in any position that is
comfortable except on your stomach.
ξ If you sleep with a pillow place it
under your head, neck & shoulders.
ξ Place a pillow or rolled towel under
the back or side of your neck for
comfort while sleeping.
ξ You may wear a soft collar for
ξ You may take normal showers 5
days after your surgery. No need to
cover your incision when showering.
ξ Do not rub or scrub directly over
your incision. Pat incision dry.
ξ Avoid tub baths for 2 weeks.
ξ Avoid hot tubs, swimming pool, and
lakes for at least 4 weeks after
ξ Do not drive while taking narcotic
ξ Do not drive until your reflexes
return to normal.
ξ Do not drive while wearing a neck
ξ If comfortable, you may resume
sexual activity after 2 weeks.
ξ We strongly suggest you quit
smoking, avoid all tobacco products,
smokeless tobacco, e-cigs and
second hand smoke as it will delay
bone healing and it is not good for
ξ It is best not to smoke for at least 4-6
months after surgery.
ξ To improve blood flow and decrease
the risk of getting a blood clot.
ξ You will need to wear elastic
stockings (TEDS) until you are
walking and back to a more normal
level of activity. In most cases this
is 2-3 days after leaving the hospital.
ξ Your incision has been closed with
dissolvable sutures under the skin
and covered with either steri-strips
(small pieces of tape) or Dermabond
(skin glue) on the skin. When you
shower the soap and water will allow
these to slowly come off.
ξ If the steri-strips are still in place 10
days after surgery you may gently
ξ If your incision is clean and without
drainage you may stop wearing a
dressing after 5 days, if you wish.
ξ After dressing is removed check
your incision daily for
Some redness and swelling around the
incision is normal.
It is common to have a sore throat or a
hoarse voice for a few weeks after surgery.
You may also feel a “catching” sensation in
your throat. Throat lozenges, soft food or
cool drinks may help.
ξ If you have chills or feel warm like
you have a fever take your
ξ If someone says you look flushed
and warm take your temperature.
ξ If your incision looks red, swollen,
or inflamed take your temperature.
During the healing process, as the nerves
begin to recover, you may notice pain &
numbness in your neck, shoulder, and arms.
It is caused by the swelling of tissue in your
low back. To reduce the pain there are many
options to try.
Ice Therapy Method
ξ Apply ice to the incision area
for the first 24 hours after
surgery. Then ice the area 15-
20 minutes several times a
day especially after activities.
ξ Use a pre-made ice pack or
place ice in a plastic bag.
Wrap in a towel before you
use the ice pack.
ξ Do not put ice directly on
ξ Reduce your activity for the
next 48 hours (i.e. walking).
You may also need to use pain medicine.
Take pain medicine only as needed.
ξ Do not increase dose without
checking with your doctor or
ξ Do not set an alarm to wake
up or remind yourself to take
ξ You may take up to 3000 mg
ξ Percocet & Vicodin also
ξ If you have liver disease, do
not take Tylenol without
checking with your doctor.
Drugs (NSAIDS): Aleve,
Naproxen, Ibuprofen, or Advil
ξ You may take NSAIDS 3
days after surgery
ξ You may restart aspirin 3
days after surgery
If you are unsure about any medicine use
please call the spine clinic.
The surgery, combined with the use of
narcotic pain medicine, decreased activity
and change in your diet can play a role in
Whenever taking narcotic pain medicine you
should take an over the counter stool
softener, 2 tablets twice a day.
When to call the doctor
ξ Increased pain, redness or swelling
around the incision.
ξ A change in the amount, color, or
odor of drainage.
ξ Redness, warmth or pain in your
ξ A temperature above 100.5 for 24
ξ A persistent headache that changes
between sitting/standing and laying
ξ New chest pain or new problems
breathing call 911 right away.
Return to work
When you return to work will depend on
your type of work and how your recovery is
going. In most cases, you will have
restrictions if you plan on going back to
work before your first post-op appointment.
Please call to talk about this with your
doctor or nurse.
ξ The goal is to taper you off all
narcotic pain medicine 4-6 weeks
ξ If you need a refill please call the
spine clinic and ask for the nurse.
ξ Please call 3-4 business days before
you need the refill.
ξ Be ready to give the name and
address of the pharmacy where you
want the prescription mailed.
ξ You also may pick up the
prescription at the clinic.
Future clinic visits
ξ Your first clinic visit is 4-6 weeks
ξ Your doctor will decide all other
ξ During business hours 8:00 AM-5:00
PM Spine Clinic 608-265-3207
ξ After business hours, nights or
weekends the clinic number will
forward you to the Paging operator.
ξ Ask for the Orthopedic resident on
call. Leave your name and number
with area code. The doctor will call
ξ Toll free 1-800-323-8942
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 4/2017 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7967