Preparing for a Spine Surgery Procedure

Preparing for Surgery

The first step in surgery preparation is for you and your doctor to decide which surgery option is best. You should discuss what to expect from the surgery, and together, you should create a post-surgery course of treatment for optimal results. It’s important that you prepare physically and mentally for your surgery, so that you can recover with success. Taking time to understand what the surgery process is and what you’ll need to do will help greatly with recovery and your well-being.

Working with Your Doctor

Your doctor will give you a physical exam prior to surgery, to ensure that you don’t have any conditions that would affect surgery or recovery. You can expect routine tests and exams, such as X-rays or blood tests, which are performed just before major surgery.

Before surgery, let your doctor know any medications you may be taking. Some medications can interfere with recovery. Your doctor will let you know which medications you may need to stop taking.

It’s also important to discuss options for any other potential treatments or medical needs, such as blood transfusions, donation of blood, or other medically necessary interventions that may occur.

If you’re overweight, it may be necessary to lose weight prior to surgery. Extra weight can place your body in unnecessary stress and affect your recovery. Be sure to discuss any diet plans with your doctor prior to and after surgery. Try to eat a well-balanced diet, and take a multivitamin with iron.

Some medications, such as aspirin or warfarin or anti-inflammatory drugs might increase the risk of bleeding, so you should stop taking them at least a week before surgery.

If you’re a smoker, it’s best to try to quit or cut down significantly to reduce any surgery risks or effects on your recovery.

Some other health issues, such as tooth and gum problems, or bladder and bowel conditions, may need to be treated prior to surgery, to reduce possible infection.

It’s important that you report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have been treated and are cleared up completely.

It may be necessary for you to arrange for help after surgery with strenuous daily tasks, such as shopping, cleaning, or laundry.

Before surgery, try to put items in an easy-to-reach area so that you minimize bending and stretching.

Tape down any cords or wires, and remove or secure loose carpeting or rugs, to avoid falls.

Make sure your seating is stable, with a firm cushion for comfort.

For Day Surgeries:

You will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours, so have someone available to drive you to and from your surgery.

Do not drink or eat anything prior to and directly after surgery, unless instructed by your doctor.

After surgery, wait until you’re hungry before attempting to eat. Start with a light meal and avoid greasy foods. Discuss any eating or dietary restrictions with your doctor first.

To decrease swelling and pain, an extremities (leg, knee, hand or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed.

It’s crucial that you take pain medicine as directed. You should take pain medicine before your pain is too severe. Waiting can make controlling the pain more difficult.

Recovering from Spinal Surgery