What Steps Should You Take To Prepare for Spinal Surgery?
You may face spinal surgery when dealing with a painful back condition such as spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or degenerative scoliosis. If you’re wondering how you can be an active participant in your health and help ensure your surgery is successful, here are some steps you should take to prepare for spinal surgery in NYC.
Get Educated About Your Procedures
When your surgeon has determined that spinal surgery is the best option, ask lots of questions and educate yourself about the back surgery procedure you will have. Going in knowing what to expect and how to manage healing at home can reduce your anxiety and minimize frustration with how your body heals. Educating yourself about your procedures can also make you more aware of post-op warning signs.
Part of learning about your spinal surgery includes reviewing your medications and supplements. Because some medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding or interfere with anesthesia, check your medications with your doctor before surgery and wean off them, if necessary.
Some examples of what to avoid before spinal surgery include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
- St. John’s Wort
Quit Smoking, ASAP
Quitting is essential to have a good outcome from spinal surgery. There are countless reasons smoking is bad for your health, but did you know tobacco worsens certain back conditions?
Some examples include the following:
- Smoking develops degenerative disc disease due to the effects of nicotine on the vascular system
- Smoke toxins cause cellular damage
- Smoking is also associated with a higher risk of osteoporosis, or thin bones, increasing the risk of spine fractures
- According to a Mayo Clinic study, smokers with fibromyalgia reported an increased severity in their symptoms, a worse quality of life, and increased anxiety
- Smoking can delay or prevent healing and spinal fusion when trying to connect two or more vertebrae in the spine permanently
- Smoking places a dangerous amount of stress on the back
- Smoking increases your risk of complications after surgery and wound infection
Set Yourself Up for Recovery Success
Putting items in easy reach now will help tremendously when your movements are limited. You may be unable to bend forward or reach high, so put all things you use daily within reach or near your bed. This includes:
- Entertainment while you rest, such as books
Meal prepping is another simple way to prepare for spinal surgery, as eating well after surgery improves healing and helps you feel better during recovery. Prepare several easy-to-heat meals, and stock your freezer with prepped meals.
Purchasing the following items can make your spinal surgery recovery easier:
- Get a toilet riser, which sits on top of your existing toilet seat, so you don’t have to bend as deeply through your hips, knees, and back
- Invest in comfortable, supportive slip-on shoes, as bending over to tie or buckle shoes isn’t possible after back surgery
- A grabber helps you when you have limited mobility following surgery, such as picking up dropped items or retrieving items not placed at the torso level during your pre-op home prep
The Best Step To Prepare for Spinal Surgery: Choosing Dr. Stieber As Your Surgeon
For most of our patients, Dr. Stieber begins treatment with a custom blend of conservative methods proven effective in relieving pain and improving function. He believes spinal surgery should be a last resort and will only recommend surgical intervention if less extensive methods are insufficient.
As one of New York’s best spine surgeons, Dr. Stieber has helped countless people find lasting relief from debilitating pain, neurologic symptoms, and other issues stemming from spinal conditions. He is skilled in the most current treatment techniques and emerging technologies and is globally recognized as a top orthopedic surgeon. Choosing Dr. Stieber as your surgeon is one of the best steps you can take to prepare for spinal surgery.