Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Spine and Neck Surgery

What should I do after surgery?

Anesthesia can sometimes cause nausea, so keep your diet light for the first 24 hours after surgery.

For 24 hours after surgery do not drive a car or operate hazardous equipment, sign important documents or make important decisions. Do not drink alcoholic beverages

Do resume your regular medications as directed by your physician.

It is normal to feel slightly dizzy and sleepy for several hours after your surgery. We recommend that you arrange to have someone with you during this time.

Rest on the day of surgery. This can be accomplished by the use a comfortable sleeping position. If you had a low back procedure you can sleep on your back with a pillow propped under your thighs and knees to maintain a natural bend at your back. Alternatively, you may rest on your side with a pillow between your thighs. If you had a procedure on your neck, make sure that if you lie on your back or side your neck is in a relatively neutral position. On your back you don’t want your pillow to be so big that your neck is hyper flexed. No pillow may cause your neck to be hyperextended. On your side, use a pillow sufficient to keep your neck straight without bending away or towards the bed.

Use the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. Contact your surgeon if pain is unrelieved or increases. Remember, not filling your pain prescription or not taking it on time can lead to pain that is more difficult to treat.

Report any signs of infection. These signs may be fever, redness or swelling and discharge at the incision site, and feelings of malaise.

To avoid infection, take any antibiotics that your surgeon prescribed. The first dose is usually due the evening of surgery.

Report any excessive bleeding. Refrain from taking any blood thinners, aspirin or aspirin products for 24 hours unless dictated differently by your surgeon.

Avoid strenuous activity. Do not lift over 10 pounds. If you had back surgery, do not bend at the waist.

If a brace was given to you, use it when sitting, standing or upright, even if sitting upright in bed.

If a cold therapy unit was given to you, use it as directed.

If you have an incision, cover it with plastic prior to showering. Do not submerge it in a bath, Jacuzzi or swimming pool.

Call us immediately if problems arise, such as weakness, severe pain or any other changes.

Your surgeon will have additional instructions for you at your first post-operative visit.

How can we help you?

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