Post Op Care
Please contact our office at (214) 782-9222 to schedule an appointment 2 weeks from the date of your spinal surgery (if not already scheduled).
The surgical dressing will be removed before discharge from the hospital. Do not apply creams and/or cleansers to the incision. There will be dermabond glue on your skin sealing the incision. This will peel off with time. Continue changing the dressing until all drainage from the wound stops. At that time, you do not have to cover your wound. However, if your incision is sensitive or your clothing is rubbing against your wound, you may apply clean, dry gauze to cover your wound. Report immediately any signs of drainage, fever, redness, swelling around the operative incision, or severe increased pain in any one of your extremities.
You may begin showering as soon as you feel safe in doing so. It is alright to get the incision wet in the shower. However, do not submerge incision under water.
Swelling around the incision after surgery is normal. You may even notice a slight increase in swelling after activities. This will dissipate in time; however, please report any significant swelling, redness, fever, drainage or intractable pain!
So you’re feeling better and the discomfort you’re in now is nothing compared to what you endured before surgery … or perhaps you feel quite the opposite. Many patients have verbalized frustration at not being able to resume normal activities – for example, driving, going back to work or participating in simple activities of daily living. Having to limit and curtail your activities, along with pain and discomfort, can leave you with the impression that you will never get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Remember that your body needs to recover from major surgery. How you take care of yourself in the post-operative period will have direct bearing on the ultimate result. This is the time to take care of yourself. Rest, eat a well-balanced diet rich in protein, walk every day if possible, take a more positive attitude, and feel good about yourself. It takes a great deal of courage and determination to undergo what you have been through.
Once you are home, the aerobic exercise permitted is walking. We strongly encourage this, and it should be done in a progressive manner as tolerated, in a safe environment, and on flat surfaces. Avoid any lifting greater than 5 pounds.
First Post-Operative Examination
Upon your discharge from the hospital, please contact our office at (214) 782-9222 to schedule an appointment 2 weeks from the date of your surgery. At this appointment, sutures will be clipped if necessary, your wound will be checked and x-rays will be taken.
If deemed necessary by your physician, you may be required to wear a lumbar brace. It will be necessary for you to adhere to wearing your lumbar brace on a daily basis. You should wear your brace when you are on your feet and especially when you go out for a walk or ride in a car. Don’t be alarmed if you cannot tolerate wearing your brace during the initial post-op period. You may have residual inflammation and swelling around the surgical area which may make wearing the brace somewhat difficult. Give it time.
Bone Growth Stimulators
After fusion surgery Dr.Farley may ask you to wear an external bone stimulator. This device assists in bone healing after surgery. Clear instructions on the bone growth stimulator will be given to you both before and after surgery.
You will be instructed by your physician if it is necessary for you to wear a cervical collar. If instructed to do so, you typically will wear a cervical collar for a period of 6-12 weeks.
It is important that you take vitamin supplements post-operatively while your fusion is healing. We recommend that you take the following, with plenty of water: at least one Multi-Vitamin daily; 400 units twice daily of Vitamin D; and 500 mg twice daily of Calcium Citrate. You can obtain all of these at your local pharmacy, over-the-counter. A successful post-operative recuperation is, in part, dependent on your adhering to these instructions. Thank you for your cooperation.
Questions frequently asked by our spinal surgery patients.
When do I have to return to the office to see the doctor?
When can I sit?
What activities can I do at home?
Do I have to wear a brace all the time?
Lumbar Brace If deemed necessary by Dr. Farley, you may be required to wear a lumbar brace. It will be necessary for you to adhere to wearing your lumbar brace on a daily basis. You should wear your brace when you are on your feet and especially when you go out for a walk or ride in a car. Don’t be alarmed if you cannot tolerate wearing your brace during the initial post-op period. You may have residual inflammation and swelling around the surgical area which may make wearing the brace somewhat difficult. Give it time. You do not need to wear your brace when you are in bed or sitting in a chair.
Cervical Collar You may be required to wear a cervical brace after surgery, if it is necessary for you to wear a cervical collar you typically will wear it for a period of 6-12 weeks.
Bone Growth Stimulator After fusion surgery Dr.Farley may ask you to wear an external bone stimulator. This device assists in bone healing after surgery. Clear instructions on the bone growth stimulator will be given to you both before and after surgery.
What about going to the bathroom?
Usually an elevated commode seat is more comfortable for the bathroom. You may get a prescription for this before leaving the hospital.
What about transportation home?
Do I need a hospital bed at home?
When can I ride in a car and/or drive?
Can I bend over?
Should I do exercises?
Yes, exercise should be encouraged. Range of motion exercises to the shoulders, hips, and knees are acceptable. Abdominal and gluteral strengthening are helpful for adults. Walking and swimming are strongly encouraged to help restore endurance and lost muscle mass.
Do I need any vitamins?
May I smoke after surgery?
When can I return to work?
The time of return to work will depend on the type of work and the extent of surgery. For laboring activities requiring an eight hour work day with heavy lifting or strenuous activity, the amount of time required before returning to work may be as long as one year. For sedentary type work that can be started on a shorter schedule, the patient may be able to return to work as quickly as six to eight weeks
What symptoms should alarm me after I get home?
Symptoms that need to be addressed include: redness and drainage from the incision, fever, a change in the pain pattern, or any alteration in the sensation in the legs. Call the office at 214-782-9222 if any problems or questions arise and ask for the medical assistant.
Will I need someone to stay with me all the time?
What about sex?
What are the most comfortable sleeping positions?
What about pain medication?
When can I shower?
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