5 Tips For Getting Clearance For Spinal Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 27, 2021

Spine Imaging Tests

Depending on what type of procedure that is being considered, there is a possibility that you will need to receive medical clearance from either your spine surgeon or your general practitioner before the surgical team will move forward with an operation. This tends to be pretty standard in elective procedures when time isn’t as much of a factor. Surgical clearance helps to ensure the patient is healthy enough to handle the trauma of surgery, and to look for any potential roadblocks to a successful operation. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how you can help yourself receive medical clearance ahead of spine surgery.

Getting Medical Clearance For Spine Surgery

In order to be medically cleared for an operation, the doctor is going to conduct an exam similar to a physical, which helps to get a baseline assessment of your health. Because of this, there’s not much you can do over the course of 1-3 days to ensure you’ll receive clearance. Instead, long-term healthy habits are the best way to increase the likelihood that you’ll be cleared for surgery. Some of the habits that you’ve either already developed or will want to start to develop before your exam include:

  1. Healthy Weight – Obesity is one of the most common risk factors for surgery, so you’ll want to work towards a healthy weight. Your spine is going to be in a weakened state following surgery, and if you’re overweight or obese, that means your spine is still going to be tasked with handling a large amount of stress. Some doctors may require you to reach a certain weight before they’ll consider performing an elective spinal procedure.
  2. Blood Pressure – Your medical professional will also take a look at your blood pressure to ensure it’s within a healthy range for surgery. Again, you’re not going to be able to change this overnight, but if you start to eat healthier and work to get regular exercise, you can help move your blood pressure towards a healthy range.
  3. Diabetes – If you have diabetes, you may need to get clearance from your endocrinologist or primary care physician before moving forward with surgery. Diabetes is in no way an automatic disqualifier, but they’ll want to make sure you are adequately managing your blood sugar levels and that the condition is noted ahead of surgery.
  4. Sleep Apnea – Similarly, if you have been diagnosed or suspect that you may have sleep apnea, a sleep specialist or your primary care doctor will want to ensure that it won’t present issues if you’re receiving anesthesia.
  5. Additional Testing – More specific tests may be ordered based on a number of factors, including your individual health, the procedure in question and any possible concerns the surgical team may have. For example, a blood sample may be collected for testing, or doctors may want to take a look at your lungs or your heart with the help of an X-ray or EKG. These aren’t standard on all pre-surgical consultations, but they are ordered from time to time.

Once you’ve been given medical clearance, you’ll forward those results to your spine surgeon and schedule your pre-operative meeting. During that pre-op consultation, your surgeon will discuss your medical clearance, any potential issues, what you can do to give yourself the best chance at a successful surgery, and they’ll go over the operation itself. They’ll also provide you with time to get answers to any questions you might have about the procedure. After this meeting, you’ll schedule surgery and work towards a healthier version of yourself until surgery day arrives.

If you have questions about pre-surgical clearance, or to talk to a specialist about your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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