SPINAL FUSION SURGERY – INFORMATION AFTER DISCHARGE FROM HOSPITAL
DRESSING: Remember - Keep your wound clean and dry. Your operation wound is usually closed with dissolvable sutures which will have been covered with steri-strips and a non waterproof dressing. By day 4 to day 7 after surgery, your wound is usually healed enough to be left uncovered. If your wound still has a dressing on - after showering at home remove the wet dressing, gently pat the steri-strips underneath dry and leave in place until they fall off by themselves. You may choose to cover the steri-strips with a clean dry dressing.
DRIVING: Do not drive for a minimum of 2 weeks after fusion surgery especially if you are still taking strong pain relief. If you are a passenger in a vehicle, you may find that reclining the seat back may be more comfortable than sitting upright. With any journey longer than an hour, pull over after ½ to ¾ hour. Get out of the vehicle and have a walk around to give your back a rest from the prolonged sitting and avoid discomfort. Upon returning to driving aim for short trips only (initially 10-20 minutes).
WALKING: Gentle walking on level surfaces is the only form of exercise that you are advised to do in the first 6-8 weeks following fusion surgery. Walking a couple of times per day is important to build strength and improve muscle tone. By the end of the first six weeks, aim to be walking at least twice per day for up to 30 minutes each time. This walking is advised as additional to the regular everyday mobilisation required to perform normal activities of daily living. Stiffness around the operation site on waking in the morning is common; a warm shower will help to relieve this discomfort. ·
Avoid bending at the mid to lower back – instead bend at the hips and use your thighs and knees for stability. Avoid twisting and lifting – if it hurts, stop.
Avoid prolonged sitting for long periods – after ½ hour stand up and walk around.
Listen to your body – if you feel tired, rest or nap.
After neck fusion – avoid pushing or pulling heavy objects for the first 4-6 weeks.
Avoid walking the dog on a leash – you may get tugged and this may cause discomfort and pain.
PAIN RELIEF: You will go home with discharge medications that will help you continue to manage your post operative pain. It is recommended that you take regular pain relief to help you stay on top of your pain so that you feel comfortable enough to mobilise. Reducing your pain relief too early will be detrimental to your recovery and it will take longer for you to return to feeling your usual self again.
APERIENTS: (stool softeners) Constipation can be a serious problem. As long as you are taking any type of strong pain relief, you need to also be taking aperients to avoid constipation. In some cases straining to evacuate your bowel will put pressure on your operation site and cause additional discomfort. Once you have come off your strong pain relief you can also reduce and come off your aperients.
GP FOLLOW UP: Dr Pik recommends to see your GP only if you require more pain relief after discharge. Dr Ow Yang recommends follow up with your GP within 5 days after discharge. The surgical site can be checked, your pain management can be discussed and if further scripts are required, your GP can provide them to you.
HYDROTHERAPY / PHYSIOTHERAPY: Dr Pik and Dr Ow-Yang prefer to discuss this with you at your 6 week postoperative appointment prior to recommencement.
FLIGHTS: Flying should be avoided during the first 4 weeks following fusion surgery. This is due to the risk of developing a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If flying is necessary get up and move around regularly.
IF YOU DEVELOP ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: ·
Fevers/ chills and feeling unwell
Chest pain / shortness of breath
Swollen, hot or painful calves
Redness, swelling or discharge from the wound Immediately contact our rooms so that your surgeon can be informed
Our Practice Nurse: You will receive a telephone call from our practice nurse within 2 weeks after your surgery date. This is to see how you are managing at home. If you have any queries or concerns before or after this call, please do not hesitate to contact our nurse at our rooms.
SIX WEEK POST OPERATIVE APPOINTMENT: Please telephone our rooms and make an appointment with your surgeon to follow up 6-8 weeks after your surgery.
Capital Neurosurgery: 02 6260 4680 during business hours
National Capital Private Hospital: 02 6222 6666 for urgent assistance after hours