When can I Wash my Hair after Spine Surgery?

Category: Spine Surgery, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 5, 2014

showering after spine surgeryThe topic for today’s blog comes from one of our readers – Ana Teiwaz – who asked the following question:

When can you wash your hair after spine surgery (specifically a cervical fusion)?

This is a great (and quite common) question. In a recent blog post, we discussed timeframes for returning to work, driving, and exercising following surgery, but we did not cover showering. In this article we will discuss some general rules for washing hair and bathing post-op. Remember that each surgery comes with its own recommendations, even when it comes to washing your hair, so be sure to talk directly with your surgeon about their recommended restrictions.

Showering after Surgery

Showering is a frequent activity that we often take for granted. When you have a healing surgical wound, it is ideal not to get it wet. Excess moisture can lead disrupt the body’s natural healing process and lead to infection. If your spine surgery involved a procedure in the mid or low back, it is much easier to avoid getting the wound wet while showering. However, with cervical spine procedures when the wound is located in the neck, it is much more difficult to avoid wetness.

Prior to surgery, you will need to follow these guidelines about washing yourself and using special antiseptic soap.

The basic rule is that you should not get your wound dressing wet for several days/weeks following surgery. Generally, you should wait until your first follow up appointment before thoroughly washing your hair. If you can carefully avoid getting the dressing wet, then you should be free to shower sooner than if it is difficult to avoid.

Another potential option, if you are afraid of getting your dressing wet, is to use dry shampoo, or no-rinse shampoo. These products will effectively clean your hair without requiring water.

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