Category: Spine Surgery, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
We live in a world where we want to know information as soon as possible, which is why one of the most common questions we get after a procedure is in regards to whether or not the operation was a success. From a technical standpoint, we can tell you if the underlying issue was corrected as expected, but the early indications that a procedure was successful will be experienced by the patient. So what signs and symptoms suggest that your spinal procedure was a success? We take a look and the early indicators that your surgery and recovery are trending in the right direction after a spinal operation.
Early Indicators Of A Successful Surgery
While each person will progress through their recovery differently, here’s a look at some of the milestones that may suggest that your spinal procedure was successful and your rehabilitation is on the right track.
- Reduced Pain – Pain is one thing that many patients will look to in order to determine the success or failure of their operation because pain is likely why they underwent surgery in the first place. However, it’s not always easy to use pain as an indicator of success because you will have discomfort from the trauma of surgery. It’s certainly possible that you may notice less pain, and that’s a great sign, but it can also be difficult to notice a difference in pain because you’re now dealing with new pain at the surgical site. Fortunately, this new pain should fade as healing runs its course.
- Motion – You’ll want to stay within your doctor’s movement and activity restrictions, but they likely aren’t going to want you to lay in bed all day to recover, because early movement usually helps to speed up the recovery process. If you are able to do some simple movements like standing, walking or sitting without the same type of shooting or throbbing discomfort, that’s a great sign. The ability to tolerate movement early after a surgical procedure is one of the biggest indicators that your recovery is on the right track.
- Effective Wound Management – Since you won’t really have any say on the technical side of your surgery, you need to do what you can to mitigate some other possible causes of a failed surgery, one of which being a surgical site infection. Caring for your incision site is imperative, especially in the first few days after your operation when drainage may be a little heavier. Make sure you understand how and when to change your dressings and what signs to look for that suggest an infection may be brewing. Heavy, foul or discolored discharge may suggest that an infection has developed, and you should reach out to your surgeon. Absent those symptoms, you’re probably heading down the right path in terms of surgical site healing.
- Small Progression – While we understand that you want to know if your spine surgery is successful as soon as possible, the truth is that a lot of this success is determined during your weeks- or months-long recovery period. Your return to physical function will be determined by the work you put in during physical therapy and how well you mind your restrictions, so you’ll play a bigger role in your recovery than you may have imagined. It may be a little discouraging that you’re in line for weeks or months of rehab, but keep an eye out for small improvements in your function or mobility, as these will be indicators of a successful surgery. If you’re slowly but surely taking on more physical tasks or doing more during your PT sessions, this is a clear indicator that your recovery is on the right path. It won’t happen overnight, but slow and steady progress is the path that you’ll want to be on.
If you want to give yourself the best chance at a successful spine surgery, trust your operation to a specialist that has performed thousands of successful operations for satisfied patients. Dr. Sinicropi has helped countless patients get back to doing the activities they love after spine surgery, and he can do the same for you. For more information, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.