Safety and feasibility of an early telephone-supported home exercise program after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: a case series.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Objective: To describe the safety, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of an early telephone-supported home exercise program (HEP) performed within the first 6 weeks after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery.Methods: Eight patients (mean ± SD age = 53.4 ± 14.9 years, 5 females) were enrolled in this case series. Immediately after surgery, patients began a 6-week HEP including daily walking, deep breathing, distraction techniques, and cervical and upper body exercises. The HEP was supported by weekly telephone calls by a physical therapist. Safety for performing early exercise was examined with radiographic imaging at 6 months. Adverse events were assessed through weekly calls with a physical therapist. HEP adherence and acceptability data were obtained by patient self-report. Clinical measures were assessed preoperatively, at 6 weeks and at 6 months, and included the Neck Disability Index, Numeric Rating Scale for pain, Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, and accelerometry for physical activity.Results: Early radiographic imaging showed no signs of nonunion at 6 months. There were no reports of serious adverse events. At 6 months, all patients reported clinically significant changes in pain catastrophizing. Seven (88%) patients had clinically significant changes in disability and arm pain, six (75%) patients for neck pain and pain self-efficacy, and five (53%) patients for fear of movement. Only three (43%) of seven patients showed increased physical activity at 6 months.Conclusion: Based on this small case series, an early telephone-supported HEP appears safe for patients, feasible to implement, and promising for clinical benefits.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Coronado, RA; Devin, CJ; Pennings, JS; Aaronson, OS; Haug, CM; Van Hoy, EE; Vanston, SW; Archer, KR

Published Date

  • October 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1096 - 1108

PubMed ID

  • 31663795

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7737349

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-5040

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/09593985.2019.1683921


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England