Anyone who is contemplating having spine surgery wants to have a good outcome, but very few people know what actually goes into making this happen. It not only involves the expertise of your surgeon and his/her staff, but many important events that occur before and after the patient gets to the operating room. The following are a few items that we believe play a role with how a patient heals after surgery.
- Discuss your medical risks for surgery with your primary care physician. There are many controllable risk factors that can be optimized before undergoing your surgery. This would include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, COPD and sleep apnea. Every one of these can have a major impact on the safety of both your anesthesia and your time in the hospital, as well as recovering at home.
- Take preparation to reduce your risk of infection. A lot of surgeries now have been shown to have a reduced risk of infection by cleansing the skin with anabiotic wipes prior to surgery. Make sure you obtain these from either your surgeons office or the hospital at which you will be having your surgery. Make sure you receive special instructions on how to use these wipes and when to start using them. Some of these preparations for surgery may also include antibiotic ointment that is applied to the nose to reduce the risk of certain types of staph infections. If you are diabetic, it is very important to make sure your blood sugar is properly controlled, as this has been shown to be associated with a higher risk of infection.
- Do not allow yourself to become excessively de-conditioned. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a significant reduction in there ability to significantly walk because of spinal disease symptoms. However, it is important to continue to move and walk prior to surgery. The muscles of the spine can weaken quickly if they are not used. This can make the recovery from your surgery more challenging. Moving before your surgery goes a long way to a smooth recovery after surgery.
This list is by no means complete, but it does serve to emphasize a few important points and issues that patients frequently face. If you are undergoing spinal surgery, hopefully, these tools will help optimize your recovery.