Learning more about the recovery after the operation


I have been having major headaches for the last six years, I was told five years ago that I was having Migraines, I knew myself that was not case, as you do not get a Migraine when you bend, cough, laugh, turn your head a certain way etc... I finally went back in April 2010 to a Consultant whom as soon as I described my symptoms told me he knew excatly what was wrong with me (ARNOLD CHIARI MALFORMATION), he sent me for an MRI which confirmed this with a 12mm hernia. I was sent to the Surgeon and told me that I should have the operation and put me on the urgent list, I had my pre-assessment on the 21st January 2011 and I am now awaiting a date for the operation.

I am just worried about having my head shaved at the back, and the recovery after surgery and also how long would I have to have off of work.

Hope to hear from someone soon.

The recovery is different for everybody. My NS told me I would be back to about normal in about 4 weeks. But, I ended up having complications, so my story is a little different...Mine was more about 4 months, (I still take it day by day).

Don't worry about the shaved head; that should be the least of your worries! Your hair will grow back soon enough! You should be looking forward to not having headaches anymore! In all honesty though, I was blessed to have several family members to help take care of me and my 2 little children. So, make sure you have someone you can lean on for support.

Sue, my surgeon was very kind to my hair; he only shaved a little bit. I'm about eight months post opt and my scar is almost gone.....and my hair is growing back. My doctor didn't put any stiches on the outside, but used strips instead. I let the top of my hair grow a little longer and it covered up the scar. No one could really tell. I didn't think the recover was all that bad. Believe it or not the worst part for me - at least at first - was having to wear a cervical collar around my neck. I got an Aspen Vista collar which is adjustable and it became very comfortable for me. I did a lot of sleeping at first and had the luxury of being retired so I didn't have to worry about getting back to work. When I woke up I was not in any pain at all. I think so much of the outcome and the recovery depends on the skill of the surgeon and the method he uses. My doctor only fuses to the second vertebrae and doesn't open up the dura - the covering of the brain. Don't be scared - it'll be alright. Even though I was told that I had to do the surgery right away because I had basilar invagination, That said, I know it's hard not to be afraid. I put it off for awhile because I was scared too.....after all this stuff is kind of scary. But I guess I was lucky; I haven't really considered the surgery or the recovery awful. Yes I've been in some pain but there have also been improvements in my balance, the dizziness, and others.....so I feel incredibly blessed. The added benefit for me too is that it took some of the worry away about the Chiari progressing and becoming worse. For me I think it was the right decision. I'm glad I did it and wish I had done it sooner. I don't know what's normal for being off from work; I retired from the Pentagon in 2002 and didn't have to worry about that. I know that it was five months before I really started feeling o.k. With the basilar invagination surgery to correct the angle of my bones and cervical fusion though, the surgery was more extensive than some, so depending on what you have done, it may be sooner. Good luck to you. I'll be praying for you. Hugs Shirley


Before my surgery ..my girlfriends and i took our kids and went to my friends cabin in the middle of nowhere....we all had a fantastic time being together and with nature...

I had a bit of time on my hands while there and decided..what the heck...I will give myself a short haircut....what fun!! really...all the girls took turns trying to 'even it out'!!!!! Its hair , it will grow back I told my girls..they were horrified when I came downstairs with my new 'DO".....I wanted to make light of something at that point, ya know...

Thank was 2 1/2 yrs ago...my hair grew back and is past my shoulders.

Good luck with everything.