Dr. Stephen Courtney is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon in the Plano TX area. Following his residency at Texas A&M University Medical Center, Dr. Courtney went on to spend a year completing an additional spine fellowship at the Florida Back and Spine Center in Gainesville, FL. Over the years he has greatly contributed to the improvement of the orthopedic surgery field. He remains at the cutting-edge of spine surgery, making him your number one choice for your orthopedic health.
Dr. Courtney believes in informing his patients of the entire surgery and recovery process. The prospect of spine surgery can be daunting, but it can help to know what to expect. During surgery, a small incision is made in your neck through which the worn out disk is removed and replaced with a titanium plate. This plate stabilizes your neck and should allow you to maintain previous range of motion.
Immediately following surgery, you will be kept overnight and monitored by hospital staff for safety and breathing. A small drain will be placed in your neck for one day and removed before you go home. This incision will be closed with surgical glue, and this glue will flake off on its own after the incision heals in a few weeks.
Full spine surgery recovery takes time, typically between 3-6 months, and most of this process takes place at home and during daily life. For the first 2 weeks or so, you will wear a soft collar to support your neck while it heals. The collar should only be removed for brief periods of rest, when there is no risk of jolting or impact. This might be done while your dog is playing out in the yard, when your young children are at school, or during a similar uninterrupted, relaxed period. You should also limit driving during recovery to prevent unnecessary strain on your neck. Any activities that require a significant amount of head and neck movement should be avoided.
There are common physical symptoms during recovery, most commonly throat soreness following the surgery. Stick to a diet of soft foods and liquids, and be sure to drink plenty of water. In some cases, you might be prescribed steroids to reduce inflammation. If you experience any breathing problems or significant pain at any point during the spine surgery recovery process, contact the hospital immediately.
Spine surgery and the resulting recovery period requires time and commitment, but the ultimate benefits to your health and quality of life are invaluable. This is why you need a surgery team committed to your success as a patient. From surgery through recovery, Dr. Courtney and The Advanced Spine Center in Plano TX will provide you with excellent care and support every step of the way.