Once you and your spine surgeon decide that surgery will help you, you’ll need to learn what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for spine surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.
Working with Your Spine Surgeon
Before spine surgery, your surgeon will give you a complete physical examination to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or its outcome. Routine tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, are usually performed before any major surgery.
- Be sure to discuss any medications you are taking with your spine surgeon and your family physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.
- If you are taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications, warfarin, or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding you will need to stop taking them at least one week before surgery to minimize bleeding.
- If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
- Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
- Report any infections to your surgeon. Spinal surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.
- Arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping and laundry.
- Put items that you use often within easy reach before surgery so you won’t have to reach and bend as often.
- Remove all loose carpets and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls.
- Make sure you have a stable chair with a firm seat cushion, a firm back and two arms.
If you are having Day Surgery, remember the following
Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours.
Take your pain medicine as directed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain.