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Preparation for Spinal Surgery

There are a number of things to consider when preparing for spine surgery. Your doctor will thoroughly examine you and discuss your specific spine problems. Before your surgery, your doctor will discuss your specific spine problems. You will also be given whatever time you need to answer your questions regarding a potential surgical procedure, rehabilitation options, recovery time, and special needs you might have before and after surgery. Items your doctor might discuss with you include:

  • Dental work – if you have been having dental work done, it will be important for the doctor to know
  • Medications you may be taking
  • Smoking cessation, if you are a smoker
  • Weight loss
  • Specific laboratory tests that might be needed before the surgery

It is important to be in the best overall health before surgery. This might include:

  • Upper and lower body strengthening
  • Aerobic exercise like walking, swimming or bicycling (if possible)

Getting your home ready

A little preparation goes a long way. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful for you.

  • Food preparation: It might help to have foods readily accessible or even some prepared frozen meals ready for your return home.
  • Normally used items: Put the things you use frequently within easy reach, whether it be in the kitchen (pots or pans), bathroom and bedroom (on the night stand). Use of disposable plates and silverware can also be a very helpful thing to do.
  • Reaching device: To avoid bending, a light weight grabber with an extended handle can be quite helpful. They are typically two or three feet long and can be found in pharmacies, and some home-improvement stores.
  • Slip-on shoes: Having a pair of slip-on sandals or shoes can be extremely helpful to avoid bending over.
  • Elevated toilet seat: having a higher toilet seat with side handles is very handy and allows minimal strength to sit and stand.

Preoperative information

  • Nothing to eat or drink including gum, mints or water, nothing by mouth after 9:00 pm the night before your surgery. If you do have certain medications that you take on a daily basis discuss this with your patient care coordinator at the time of the call.
  • Shower with preferably antimicrobial or antibacterial soap either the night before or day of surgery
  • If you are going home the same day of your surgery you must have a responsible person stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery.
  • Wear comfortable loose fitting clothes the day of your surgery.
  • You are welcome to bring toiletries from home to freshen up after your surgery.