Spine FAQ

In general, you should be able to resume normal activities. There are many factors that determine the extent of physical activity and your doctor will discuss these with you. Your spine plays an extremely important role in every aspect of physical movement. The surgery you have may restrict movement or not, and may require that you lift lighter weights than before. Each individual, and their adherence to doctor’s care notes and therapy, will have a different outcome. Work with your doctor and let him know your level of expectation after surgery. He will work with you to educate you on your condition, surgery, and expected outcomes, and create a plan that is realistic and achievable.
Your spine is subject to different types of strains, whether you have a desk job or a job that requires lifting. Your doctor will discuss your return to work with you based on several factors: surgical procedure, your general health, and your type of work. You may be required to take physical and occupational therapy sessions to help you rebuild strength and learn to do your activities without injury reoccurring.
Occupational therapy may be part of your spinal surgery recovery plan. Because the spine plays a major role in every activity we perform, you may need to learn different techniques for daily activities we often take for granted. Depending on the location of your surgery, the severity of your condition and the type of surgery performed, your doctor will work with you to create a plan to address your daily living needs. Be sure to discuss any and all activities that involve your spine to ensure optimal results.
Different procedures may result in multiple small incisions, or fewer larger incisions. Some wounds may require you to cover affected area and avoid dampness. Bathing is more likely to be restricted than showering. The wound care instructions will be found in your care notes, along with instructions on showering and bathing. If you have a drain required for your procedure, you will find specific notes about drain care and when you can expect removal.
Your doctor and staff will provide you with care notes that will detail medication and dosage, wound care, and other information specific to your surgery. Follow these instructions exactly to ensure optimaloutcomes from your procedure. If you have any questions, please call the contact number(s) on your care notes.
Your doctor will address potential issues that could occur during any surgery, and point out specific issues that may happen with your surgery. This is called Informed Consent and your doctor will ensure you are well educated on the risks, as well as the benefits of your surgery. Spine surgery is major surgery and the risks are higher than minor types of surgery, but your care is given by a highly trained professional. Talk over the surgery with the doctor, pay close attention to your options, and work with him to understand and set your expectations
Your stay in the hospital will vary by procedure, but many procedures may only require an overnight stay. Some procedures may be done on an outpatient basis of 23 hours or less. Your doctor will discuss details with you regarding the length of time required for your specific condition and treatment.
If you fit certain criteria and lifestyle, an artificial disc may be an option for you. Artificial discs are a new technology and have very precise guidelines for condition and location. Your doctor will discuss your lifestyle and genetics and determine if an artificial disc is right for you. If spinal fusion is determined to be an option, the decreased amount of flexibility may be unnoticeable by you.
If your condition has not responded to conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy, or other non-surgical treatments, and the level of pain is affecting your quality of life, you may be a candidate for spine surgery. Your doctor will review the surgical options available to you based on your condition, lifestyle, and overall health. Spine surgery is not a miracle cure, and your outcomes vary based on many factors. Talk to your doctor about your options and what to expect.