Post-op advice / Dr. Heffez

I will be having the decompression surgery August 19th in Milwaukee! I live in central Illinois which is about 5 hours away from the hospital. Does anyone have any advice on what I should do before and after my surgery? And the travel home?

And has anyone had the chiari surgery by Dr. Dan Heffez? He will be doing my surgery and I was curious of others’ experience. Thanks!

Heffez did mine in February. The surgery went well, the hospital staff were really caring. It was a good experience. I was put under before they did any of the yuck stuff, like foley catheter placement, head shave, and arterial iv (btw the my head shave was super small and so is my zipper!)The nurses will check on you often, make you move your legs and arms, and shine a flashlight in your eye often right after surgery. Part of your after care will require you to lay flat with no pillow for at least a month, with allowance for being upright no more than an hour and a half at one time. Your trip home should be fine, especially if you’ll be in a car. I had to fly back to New Mexico and I was just fine, I just went directly to bed when I got home. I think you are in good hands, I don’t regret my surgery with Heffez at all. A piece of advice: go easy with foods you choose to eat until you start having bowel movements. You don’t want a fecal impaction… You’ll think you went to the hospital to give birth instead of having a brain surgery. I’m am excited for and will be thinking big, positive thoughts for you on your day. Also, for recovery everybody is different, Heffez might tell you that you’ll be ready for work and normal day to day after one month. I was not. I didn’t return to work for almost 3 months, and I’m still incredibly tired. Keep in mind that its ok to not be on his timeline. It takes as long as it takes and you can’t rush it.

New Packers fan,

How long was your incision? And I’ll remember about choosing my food wisely, I learned that the hard way when Heffez did my tethered cord surgery in April, that hurt worse than my back!

My Surgeon is about that far away & I traveled by large SUV without any major issues. I did develop a UTI from the catheter on the way home, but my Mother luckily had antibiotics that I quickly started taking.

I do recommend sunglasses, a flat pillow & a seat that reclines.

My balance was off the one time I did get out of the car. I had to be helped to and from the restroom.

We also made a point to fill my pain medication before leaving Pittsburgh and that was a big help.

I slept a lot on the way home.

Many Members discuss flying home from Decompression surgery & I never read any problems they had.

We also have many Members that are a patients of Dr. Heffez. I am sure they can answer any questions you may have.

Tracy Z.

Bring two small microbe ad pillows to put on either side of your head (behind ears). It will take pressure off of incision.


I had chiari decompression surgery 10 weeks ago with Dr. Heffez. He is amazing and Columbia St Marys is awesome. My scar is so little and healing well. You are in fantastic hands! Are you staying at the Kathy House? Its amazing as well! I met 3 other great ladies that had surgery on the same day or a week later than me and they ars doing great too. Private message me if you like and I can walk you through my experience. Be blessed :slight_smile:

Oh and I would recommed starting a probiotic before and after surgery and a stool softener. Bring cozy socks too :slight_smile: facial wipes and body wipes.

I am going to reply to your concerns but because of the limited characters I am going to post my comments on this Discussion.

Samantha Jo Nicholson said:

Just wanted to let the moderators know- she wants others experiences. She wants to be informed of the good and bad experiences and you're deleting comments that answer that.

My incision is 2.5 - 3 inches


First let me List Ben's Friends Forum Guidelines: They are on the middle of the Main Page



  1. No Spam
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  5. Specific doctor or hospital names mentioned in a negative context, for legal reasons.
  6. Specific doctor or hospital names in a positive context are welcome.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Other Chiari Forums have similar policies I checked.

We cannot allow negative comments about Medical Providers or Facilities of any kind for any reason. This is to protect not only Ben's Friends but you. There are attorney's that would love nothing more than to file a slander or defamation of character suit against you and Ben's Friends.

This is a sue happy society and we will not allow this Community to lose something so important to them or take a chance of having a lawsuit brought against us because of a personal negative comment.

Your post was deleted because it broke the Forum Guidelines. Beeba nicely explained to you why it was deleted.

I was also very surprised at the stance you took and called Moderators out when Taylor asked for opinions from people that had actually had surgery by Dr. Heffez and you did not, but you judged people that give freely of their time to help other Chiarians because they followed the rules which you weren't even considering.

These links have some incredible information many might not be aware of about Neurosurgery & Neurosurgeons. - This link has some additional links on the main page that are great.

I am not trying to change your personal opinion but maybe you should ask Members about their personal experiences. Send Sydney a message and ask her about her experience and situation before Dr. Heffez agreed to treat her I think you will be come away speechless. She is only 17 years old so please remember that if you are brave enough to contact her. No one could learn her story and how Dr Heffez was the only NS that would treat her and walk away not believing in a Higher Power.

Tracy Z.