Herniated Disc Recovery Time

"How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Cervical Discectomy?"
by Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki

So there are various procedures we do for herniated discs in the neck. Sometimes fusions are done. Many of the cases that I do are for patients with herniated discs; we do a disc replacement operation. So to recover from a cervical disc replacement, everybody is variable. There are variations among patients and how quickly they can recover from that.

My general experience is that most patients are back to their regular activities in normal life within a very short period, within a couple of weeks after a disc replacement.

Typically, if they have severe pain before surgery, we've done the operation and that severe pain is gone and the discomfort that they have left is related to the surgery itself. So they may have a sore throat and they notice some trouble swallowing for a short period of time. Sometimes pain in the back of the neck can be there from some muscle spasms and irritation of the facet joints. But those symptoms typically subside over a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

And depending on the line of work that people do, many patients will be back to work within a week or two after disc replacement (if they are not in a physically demanding job). Now those in a higher demanding physical job, that need to put a lot of strain on their neck, may be out of work for a month or so or even up to six weeks after that. But typically the recovery is relatively benign when thinking about surgery in general.

The nice thing about interior neck surgery going in and doing these disc replacements is that there's not a lot of muscle trauma and so there's not as much tissue recovery that needs to take place after those procedures.

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Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki