Tips for Before & After: Preparation for Spine Surgery

March 10th, 2014

 If you’ve been diagnosed with a back condition and told that surgery is your best option, you may be wondering what your preparation for spine surgery will look like. We’d like to share a few helpful pieces of information that will help you as you make arrangements leading up to your surgery date and also as you work through your recovery afterwards. 

But first, just take a moment to enjoy the simple fact that you are finally having your issue addressed and are taking proactive steps towards a pain-free life! You’ve probably been suffering from lower back pain for quite some time and while surgery can seem a bit intimidating, remember that it is the necessary means to a brighter future. And when you’re working with some of the world’s top spine surgeons, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands!
3 Steps to Ensure Thorough Preparation for Spine Surgery:
Before Your Surgery: Leading up to your big day, there are a few things that may be required of you. Chances are, your doctor has already talked through some or all of these with you. However, if this is new information for you, be sure to bring up these points of discussion at your next visit.
  • Stop Taking Certain Medications - Aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications can have adverse effects during surgery and therefore, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them prior to surgery date in order to avoid complications with anesthesia or excessive bleeding.
  • Decide on Anesthesia - Depending on what kind of surgery you are having, there may be multiple options for types of anesthesia that you could receive. Be sure to talk through these options with your surgeon prior to the day of your procedure.
  • Donate Your Own Blood - Like any surgery, there is always a chance that your procedure could result in enough blood loss that having a small store set aside could be a smart idea. Donating your own blood to yourself - to be used if necessary - is a precautionary measure that your doctor may recommend.
  • Make Arrangements to Have a Caregiver - You’ll need a good friend or family member to be there for you while you recover in the hospital after your surgery. And of course, you’ll need someone you trust to drive you home. Be sure to make arrangements for these individuals as part of your preparation for spine surgery.
After Your Surgery: Once your surgery is complete, your work is actually just beginning! Complete preparation for spine surgery includes thinking through all the details of recovery and care after you come home.
  • Rearrange Your Home - Here’s the good news: you will be able to walk after surgery! However, you’ll need to navigate carefully as you heal and recover, so moving some furniture around or setting up a temporary bedroom for yourself downstairs might be helpful.
  • Ask for Extra Help - Beside the prescribed therapy, you should avoid too much activity for several weeks following your surgery. Ask someone to help you with chores like laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping.
  • Schedule Your Rehab - This may be the most important aspect of your follow up care. After surgery, you will probably been given a brace to wear and the hospital staff will assist you in learning how to move and walk. The rest of your recovery will come through a recommended regimen of exercise and physical therapy.
Maintenance Best Practices: Even after a successful surgery and recovery period, a good doctor will urge patients to take extra measures to maintain the health of their spine. Because overall health and especially weight has a direct impact on the spine’s ability to perform, there are also a few key maintenance tips that can really make a difference!
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet
  • Keep That Extra Weight Off
  • Exercise Regularly
Whether you need surgery to correct a spinal cord injury, an infection of the spine or to remove spinal tumors, we hope that these preparation for surgery tips have been helpful for you. For more information about Rothman physicians and procedures, call us at 1-800-321-9999.
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