What to Expect After Spine Surgery

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Here’s what to expect and what to prepare for immediately after spine surgery.

What to Expect

You may have several items attached to you when you wake up from surgery:

  • IV (medications and fluids are administered through the IV)
  • Pulse oximeter (monitors your oxygen level)
  • Leg/foot pumps (help with blood circulation in the legs)
  • Bladder catheter (drains urine from your bladder)
  • Drain (removes excess blood from your surgery site)
  • Dressing (keeps your incision covered)

Other Things to Remember

  • Be sure to take deep breaths, cough and use your incentive spirometer every hour while you are awake.
  • You will begin a liquid diet following your operation and begin regular eating as soon as you can tolerate food.
  • Make sure you drink lots of liquids.
  • When you have pain, be sure to tell your nurse. Ask for pain medicine and muscle relaxers when you start hurting. Don’t wait until it becomes unbearable.
  • The night of surgery, your physician may ask the nursing staff to help you sit on the side of the bed or get in a chair. The sooner you start moving, the sooner you will get better.
  • You may have blood drawn (usually at night or early in the morning) so that your doctor can see the results when making rounds.
  • A care manager/social worker will visit you and discuss your plans to leave the hospital. Arrangements will be made, and by the time you are ready to leave, you will know all about your home instructions.

About Norton Leatherman Spine

Norton Leatherman Spine is a combined team of orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons from Norton Neuroscience Institute and pain management specialists who provide care for adults and children from Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as from across the region, nation and world.

  • The multidisciplinary team incorporates expertise from a variety of specialties to offer a comprehensive array of treatment options that include minimally invasive and nonsurgical therapies.
  • Our team approach to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of spine conditions works cooperatively with primary care physicians and other specialists to develop a treatment plan as unique as each individual.
  • Because you may not need surgery, you may work with our pain management team, physical therapy specialists and others who can create a care plan with the right types of treatments for you.
  • If you need surgery, you’re in experienced hands. Norton Leatherman Spine physicians perform more than 4,000 surgeries a year.
  • Our team has more than 45 specialists at nearly 20 offices across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Many offer same-day appointments and Saturday hours, with no referral needed
  • Our specialists are internationally recognized leaders in clinical research of spinal disease, injury and deformity, and have served in senior positions in the Scoliosis Research Society, the most prestigious organization for scoliosis surgeons around the world.
  • Norton Healthcare is the first health system in the nation to be recognized as an Advanced Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence by DNV.
  • We offer minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures that carry less risk and can speed your recovery.
  • We use the EOS Imaging system, which collects high-resolution images while exposing the patient to 50% to 85% less radiation than traditional X-rays and 95% less than basic CT scans. The system is especially beneficial to scoliosis patients who often need repeated imaging to monitor their progress.
  • Use MyNortonChart to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more, anytime from a mobile device or computer

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