How to Best Prepare for Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: April 15, 2014

spine surgeryYour specific pre-surgical preparations will depend on the particular procedure you are having done. That being said, there are a few general guidelines that apply to all surgeries. Above all else, follow your surgeon’s recommendations to the letter.

Food & Drink

One of the most common questions from patients prior to surgery is: can I eat or drink before my procedure?

In general, you do not want to consume any food or drink (other than water) for 6 hours before your surgery, especially if you are receiving anesthesia. Sometimes anesthesia can cause nausea. If you have a lot of food in your stomach you are more likely to throw up. Some surgeons recommend longer or shorter fasting periods depending on the procedure so talk to your physician about your pre-surgery eating restrictions.


Another common question is what to do about your regular medications (if you take any). Medications that thin the blood should be discontinued anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks prior to your surgery. These medications can cause internal bleeding during the procedure, and thus need to be phased out. Tell your surgeon about all of the meds you are taking before your surgery and they will let you know if you need to stop taking them and for how long.


Will you be able to drive yourself home after the procedure? With most spine surgeries, the answer is no. While you may feel fine to drive, it will take a while for the anesthesia to dissipate, and you will be put on medication to dull the post-op pain. The last thing you’d want is to get a DWI charge on your way home from your procedure! Ask a trusted family member or friend to come pick you up and drive you home after your surgery.

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