Preparing for Spine Surgery

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Proper preparation for spine surgery will help you recover faster. Here’s a two-week guide for how to get ready.

Two Weeks Before Surgery

  • Read all the information Norton Leatherman Spine gave you or mailed to you.
  • Schedule pre-admission testing. You will have several tests that your surgeon requires, such as lab work, electrocardiogram (EKG) or chest X-ray. You will meet with a nurse to give your medical history and get instructions for the day of surgery. Bring a complete list of your medicines as well as the names and phone numbers for all your doctors and pharmacies.
  • If you take diet pills or arthritis/anti-inflammatory medications, stop taking them two weeks before surgery.
  • If you take any supplements, vitamins, herbs or fish oil, stop taking them 10 days before surgery.
  • If you take aspirin or blood thinners, your surgeon will want you to stop taking these medicines before your surgery. You must talk to the doctor who prescribes them and ask that doctor about stopping. If your prescribing doctor says you cannot stop taking aspirin or blood thinner, you must call Norton Leatherman Spine right away.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet is important all the time but especially important before any surgery. We want you to be in the best health possible before surgery.
  • Stop smoking. Your lungs must be in their best possible shape. If you are having a fusion, smoking will interfere with the fusion and could cause the procedure not to work. It is very important to let your surgeon know if you smoke.
  • If there is a chance you may go to a skilled nursing facility before going home, begin looking at facilities that are convenient to you and choose one. We all go through times when we need help and support. Having surgery is one of those times. It is important to have a family member, friend or group of people to help with your care, emotional support and transportation before and after surgery. You should find people who help you prepare for surgery and help you during your recovery.

One Week Before Surgery

  • Walk around your home and make sure the things you need on a daily basis will be easy to reach after surgery. You will not be allowed to bend and lift heavy things soon after surgery. Remove clutter and tripping hazards. Move the things you use a lot to an easy-to-reach place. Things at waist level are easiest to reach.
  • Review your instructions from pre-admission testing. Call (502) 629-7709 to speak to a nurse if you have any questions.
  • If you take erectile disfunction medicines like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, you must stop them two days before surgery or your surgery will be canceled.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin at night, ask the doctor who prescribes your insulin about the proper dose the day before surgery.
  • If you have a living will, set a copy aside to bring to the hospital on the day of surgery.
  • Clean your house and do the laundry.
  • Put night lights in the bathrooms and hallways.
  • Stock up on groceries. Cook ahead of time and freeze some items that can be reheated easily.
  • Pack your bag for surgery day. Do not bring jewelry or valuables. The shoes you bring should have a rubber sole so you will not slip and fall when walking after surgery.

The Night Before Surgery

  • Shower with the chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) antibacterial soap you were given. If you did not receive a bottle of CHG soap during pre-admission testing or you are allergic to it, you may use Dial soap.
  • Sleep on clean sheets and in clean pajamas.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Call your surgeon if you have had any changes in your health, including fever, a skin sore, vomiting, diarrhea, infection, cough, cold, wheezing, chest pain or shortness of breath. Your surgery could be canceled if you don’t notify Norton Leatherman Spine of any new issues.

Making It Easy to Get Back to Your Life

  • With six Norton Leatherman Spine locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana, we have specialists near you.
  • We use minimally invasive procedures that can reduce recovery time and the risk of complications.
  • Sophisticated pain management aims to keep you comfortable and safe.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free MyNortonChart account.

About Norton Leatherman Spine

Norton Leatherman Spine in Louisville and Southern Indiana offers world-class care from surgeons who are recognized nationally and internationally for their innovation, expertise and skill. Norton Leatherman Spine is one of the premier research and education programs in the United States for spinal surgeons. Our rich history traces back to Kenton D. Leatherman, M.D., who more than 50 years ago became the first orthopedic surgeon in Kentucky to specialize in spine care. A University of Louisville School of Medicine graduate, he developed leading-edge approaches to treating scoliosis after World War II.

  • The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Leatherman Spine are among the most experienced in the country, treating conditions like yours for an average of 20 years.
  • We have orthopedic spine surgeons providing care from our offices in downtown and suburban Louisville and in surrounding counties.
  • Our physicians pinpoint your diagnosis to come up with the right treatment plan, including surgical and nonsurgical options as appropriate.
  • We offer minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures that carry less risk and can speed your recovery. Norton Leatherman Spine surgeons are actively involved in the development of next-generation minimally invasive technologies.
  • The physicians at Norton Leatherman Spine are leaders in their field and train the next generation of specialists. More than 100 of the leading spine surgeons practicing throughout the U.S. today were trained at Norton Leatherman Spine.
  • Techniques developed at Norton Leatherman Spine have produced better outcomes for patients, with fewer side effects, and are routinely performed around the world today.
  • Our team performs more than 4,000 surgeries a year, and patients come to our providers more than 30,000 times a year.

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