[Printable] Spine Surgery Outpatient Checklist
What you Need to Know Before, During, and After Your Neck or Back Surgery
Making the decision to undergo neck or back surgery is certainly not an easy one. It is a situation that many of us will encounter at some point — in the United States alone, one in three, or 75 million adults, are experiencing neck or back pain.
If you are one of the millions who has reached the point where you’re ready to treat your spine condition with surgery, and you’ve explored your treatment options with your doctor, you’ll want to take the next step and prepare yourself for what’s to come during your surgery experience – from pre-procedure planning to recovery.
To ensure the entire spine care experience is as comfortable as possible, we’ve provided a *printable* Spine Surgery Checklist so you know what to expect before, during, and after your time with us.
Before Your Neck or Back Surgery
Depending on the kind of surgical treatment that you and your physician have decided on, your recovery period could take anywhere from one week to a few months.
While you’re recovering, you’ll want to have a comfortable and safe home environment, to mitigate any last-minute errands or emergencies that might pop up. Keeping your home peaceful and recovery-ready is key!
Here are a few recommendations for preparing your home for your neck or back surgery recovery:
- Have meals and snacks prepped for your return home. Many of our patients stock their freezers with prepared meals and have other convenient foods ready to go. This helps to save time and energy after surgery. Your body will undergo healing and repair after your surgery, so you’ll want to provide it with nutrition and fuel to help that process.
- Invest in a toilet riser. You might have seen this device before – it’s a smooth plastic piece that sits on top of your toilet seat, about 8-12 inches high. Some surgeries may result in leg or knee stiffness or pain, making it difficult to bend and sit — a toilet riser can help to avoid any significant pain.
- Make searching for items easier with a hand-held “reacher” or “grabber.” You can find these in many stores that sell rehab equipment — but you might also find them (at lower prices) at department stores or pharmacies. There are several styles, but these helpful, hand-held devices are lightweight, with a grabbing device on the end for picking up socks, napkins, pencils, etc.
- Make getting dressed easier, with slip-on shoes. Normal, everyday movements (like bending down to tie your shoes) can be made more difficult while you’re healing from spinal surgery, so having a pair of slippers handy will make things easier on you.
- Have all of your essential and personal items within reach. Make sure items like tissues, water, TV remotes, books, and magazines are all set up near your “recovery station” so that you can rest at home without interruption after your surgery.
During Your Neck or Back Surgery
If you haven’t experienced surgery before and aren’t sure what to expect, the process can be a bit intimidating.
At OLSS, our advanced and minimally invasive treatment options available to you means your healing and recovery time is faster than traditional open back surgery. With the right preparation, you’ll be ready for the day of your surgery and will have our team of spine experts by your side throughout the process.
Preparation: On the morning of surgery, you’ll be checked in at your treatment center by the nursing team, who will make sure you’re fully prepped and taken care of before the operation. Your doctor will also visit with you before the surgery to go over the procedure and answer any questions that you might have.
During Treatment: Our team will make sure you are comfortable and at ease before administering anesthesia and performing your operation. The amount of time that you spend in surgery is dependent on the kind of treatment that your condition requires, but many patients are able to go home on the same day of surgery.
Recovery: After the surgery is complete, patients spend some time in the recovery room immediately after their operation for monitoring. If you require additional monitoring or care, you’ll go to your private room for recovery. Typically, patients go home within 48 hours of surgery, but this depends on the complexity of your procedure. At OLSS, we provide outpatient options for the majority of our treatments, so our patients have the convenience of checking in and checking out the very same day for an immediate at-home recovery.
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After Your Neck or Back Surgery
We encourage our patients to contact their clinic after their surgery if any questions or concerns should arise. At OLSS, our dedicated staff is available via phone for any post-procedure issues you may have.
There are a few other post-surgery details that you might consider as well for the speediest recovery possible and to ensure that you heal without any complications.
- Avoid alcohol, at least excessively. Drinking alcohol, especially in excess, may interact with any medications you’ve been prescribed. Alcohol is also a depressant, and healing from surgery requires a healthy and positive environment. If you do drink, refrain from large amounts of alcohol.
- Avoid smoking. Nicotine is detrimental to the post-surgical recovery process, and smoking has been determined to contribute to back pain.
- Set up regular physical therapy appointments following your procedure. Although it’s not required, many of our patients benefit from continued therapy and experience faster recovery times.
- Avoid being sedentary. As soon as your recovery permits, it’s helpful to get up and get moving so that your joints can gain back mobility.
- Take pain medication as needed. Make sure your recuperation and recovery are as comfortable as possible.
- Maintain healthy habits like good nutrition, drinking plenty of water, and getting the rest and sleep that you need. Your body is in the process of healing and providing it with the fuel and care that it needs is crucial!
Set Yourself Up for a Successful Treatment Experience
Being prepared for your surgery is one of the best ways you can guarantee the kind of recovery that you need.
Our patients experience faster, more efficient recovery times because they have researched and worked with our doctors to prepare themselves and their home environment for post-operative care. Ultimately, having a positive attitude towards your surgery and the many benefits that you’ll experience afterward is key.
Feeling well prepared can foster a sense of control over the experience, so if you’re considering surgery to treat your spinal condition, be sure to work with a team who will guide you through the process.
Interested in reaching out to OLSS? If you’re ready, call us directly to speak with a spine pain specialist and discuss your options. Call 855-586-2615 or request a FREE MRI REVIEW.