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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 1985
Experience:  Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery
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My great aunt just had a car accident in LA. She is 88, but

Customer Question

My great aunt just had a car accident in LA. She is 88, but has been following health best practices before anyone else started in California. She has the health of a good 65 year old person. The car accident was not her fault. She has never had a wreck. All that to say: She has a cervical fracture in C2 with fragments. The doctors are waiting for surgery because she has been taking an asprin a day for years. They want to get that out of her system but will be doing surgery in 4 or 5 days. We live in Tennessee and my wife and her sister are trying to figure out recovery time for that type of surgery. Could you give us some idea as well as options and or questions to ask her doctors.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Neurology
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She lives alone in Southern California, but she has a close friend with her now at the hospital.
1. Is this a very dangerous type operation?
She is at UCI Trauma Center right now and it is suppose to be pretty good. The hospital she was at sent her there. My wife is trying to determine whether to fly out before the operation or save that time for post-operative support. My wife's sister is a teacher and only has next week to support my aunt, so that would put both of them out there next week. The surgery is scheduled for 072616 or 072717.2. Help us understand what recovery will be like.
Besides the friend from San Diego, her family support lives in Tennessee and Florida. We are trying to determine how we are going to cover supporting her. Would in-patient rehabilitation be more appropriate or home-health recovery? If home-health is more appropriate, given that she comes through the surgery successfully without anything abnormal, what will the recovery be like.
Expert:  drn.iqtidar replied 12 months ago.

Hi, I am Dr.Iqtidar one of the experts on and will try my best to answer your question. Sorry to hear about your aunt's injury and that she couldn't make recovery through a trial of painkillers alone. The recovery time depends on type of surgery but assuming this procedure is Fusion and spinal instrumentation, which is most commonly done in whiplash injuries, the initial recovery time is fairly quick which is around 24 hours which means the patient is mobile after 24 hours but the pain can take several weeks to subside which is dealt with by prescribing painkillers. Pain usually occurs on movement but should go away with time. Complications are rare and some can be preventable. Regarding questions to ask the surgeon, main questions should be what's involved, complications of surgery, type of anesthetic, any risk of DVT or clots, pain management options, mobility aids and how quick they feel she can go home. When she can drive again and if in a relationship when she can resume sex. Home recovery would be suited for her provided there are no problems, so that should be discussed.

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