Category: Spine Surgery, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 29, 2016
Your surgeon does everything in their power to reduce the risk of surgical complications, but there ability to spot and treat potential problems becomes much more limited when you leave the surgical center. A good surgical team will explain what you need to look out for after an operation to make sure your recovery stays on track, but there are a couple signs you should really keep an eye out for at the site of your surgery. Today, we share three signs of a problem at the incision site after spine surgery.
Stopping Infections After Spine Surgery
Unlike an operation on your hand or foot, it may not be easy to get a good view of your surgical incision. You can spot some of the following signs without visualizing the site, but for others it’s easier to recruit a friend or family member to help check the surgical site. Here are three signs or symptoms you’ll want to keep an eye out for at the incision site.
1. Pus or Discolored Discharge
You’ll want to take a close look at the bandages and wraps you use after you’re done changing your wound dressing. There may be a small amount of discharge on the wraps, and that’s fine as long as it is clear. If your bandages are bloody or the site is draining a yellowish or brownish discharge, it’s a clear sign of an infection. Call your spine surgeon right away to let them know of the issue so they can set you up with antibiotics or another treatment option.
This sign is a little trickier to spot because the surgical site will naturally be slightly warmer than other areas of your body. After surgery, your body naturally increases blood flow to the area to help expedite the healing process. However, the surgical site will only be slightly warmer to the touch, and that should fade over the course of a few days. However, if the site seems to be getting hotter, that could be the sign of an infection. When an infection sets in, the body sends certain blood cells to the surgical site. This can make the incision site feel hot, so you’ll want to gauge the temperature of the incision site as you recover.
In a similar pattern, there will be some general redness at your surgical site after an operation, but you’ll want to keep an eye on the amount of redness as you heal from surgery. If the redness spreads or takes on a more crimson hue, it could be a sign that there’s an underlying issue with your surgical site. Redness may also be accompanied by excessive heat, so it’s easier to look for this symptom in combination with the above sign. Again, if you notice this sign or any of the other symptoms, call your surgeon and explain the situation to ensure any potential problems are treated before they grow into a larger issue.