Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer says he plans to be back at work "before you know it."

The guitarist had a neck operation earlier this year after the band cancelled all of their summer dates and festival appearances.

The surgery was to correct a longstanding and painful condition which, Schaffer, says, continued to get worse.

In an update posted on Facebook, he says: "I’m writing to let you know that I’m healing very well. I played guitar a few weeks ago for the first time, and it immediately felt like the surgery worked. Needless to say, I was very relieved.

"Through many months of the Worldwide Plagues tour I was suffering from a loss of coordination in my hands, numbness, and intense levels of pain. It was a battle every night onstage and it reached a critical point where the cervical fusion had to happen, sooner rather than later.

"I am happy to report that so far things are going very well in my recovery, and I expect it to stay on this path. We are in the planning stages of our next US tour, and that will very likely take place this winter. So, before you know it we’ll be back on the warpath, and before long, songwriting will commence, and another chapter of Iced Earth history will be in the making.

"There will be lots of updates in the coming months. We are forging the attack as I am recovering from surgery. The boys and I are ready to get back out there ASAP to lay down the metal."

Iced Earth released their 11th album Plagues Of Babylon in January.