Whether you have same day surgery, spend one or several nights in the hospital, your Piedmont Spine Center surgeon and staff wants to make sure you have instructions in writing to help speed your recovery at home. We suggest you share these written instructions with family or friends who will assist in your care. Sharing this information with them before your surgery can help everyone plan and prepare to help you return to activities of daily living.
You will be sent home with a prescription for pain medication, if not already provided before surgery. This medication may be a narcotic. It is recommended that for the first few days you take the pain medication as directed. While you never want to take medication you don't need, keep in mind that after surgery, it is easier to manage pain than treat an acute pain episode. Please let us know right away if the medication does not control your pain. You can expect to have some postoperative pain, but please let us know right away if the medication does not provide adequate relief.
If your incision is covered by a dressing, do not remove the bandage until instructed by your surgeon. If the area is tender, you may apply an ice pack for short intervals. Do not apply heat. Do not use creams, lotions, or topical antibiotics unless instructed to do so by your surgeon. These can cause infection or allergic reaction.
If you have stitches or staples, these will be removed approximately 10-14 days after surgery.
If you have not been able to urinate (empty your bladder), it is likely you will not be discharged. However, occasionally, patients are released home with a Foley catheter. A Foley is a small tube inserted into your bladder. The tube attaches to a bag that captures urine output and is easily emptied.
It may take a few days for your bowel function to return to normal. This is to be expected after general anesthesia. Bloating, constipation, or difficulty moving your bowels for a few days after surgery is normal. Drinking plenty of fluids and adding fiber to your diet is the best way to manage this. A stool softener and/or laxative may be helpful to take for a day or two.
Your body needs healthy foods, especially after surgery. Healing takes energy and you need wholesome food to provide your body with a steady supply! Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. We are pleased to provide you with helpful information about a healthy diet to enhance your recovery.
If you have stitches or staples, do not get them wet for the first week following surgery. Cover your wound with a waterproof material when you shower in order to keep your incision dry. After your shower, remove the waterproof material and gently pat the area dry using a clean towel.
If your incision is closed with Steri-Stripsâ„¢ (paper-like pieces of tape), keep the area completely dry for the first week after surgery. Thereafter, you may shower without covering your incision.
Do not take a tub bath, swim, or use a hot tub until your stitches, staples or Steri-Strips are removed, or you are instructed otherwise by your spine surgeon.
While you will want to follow the general instructions and special instructions provided just for you, there are some guidelines for spinal fusion patients. Post-operatively, a brace may be prescribed if you use tobacco, are obese, diabetic, or have a condition that may interfere with healing and fusion.
As you feel better, you naturally will be anxious to get back to life, work and other activities. However, it is important to take small steps in accordance with your surgeon's instructions. Your surgeon may also recommend an organized physical therapy or rehabilitation program after surgery.
We look forward to answering your questions and helping you to resolve your concerns about any treatment offered by Piedmont Spine Center.