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On June 19, 2006 I had fusion of 4/5 5/6 6/7 of the cervical spine. I had three cages inserted with eight screws and a metal plate. Three of my friends have also had the same surgery and I am confused about the recovery process. Two of us were put into rigid neck braces to be worn 24 hours per day, except when showering for six weeks. The other two were put in soft collar for four weeks and then didn't need to wear anything. Why the difference? Does anyone have any insight or is it just the particular surgeon's decision?

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Speaking for my own experiece - I had the soft collar post ACDF C5-7 and the graft never healed. I ended up having a posterior correction C4-7 and was in a hard collar 24/7 (including showering/sleeping) for 6 weeks. I now have a good fusion. I'd opt for the hard collar every time.

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