What to Expect During & After Your Surgery with Dr. Sinicropi

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 19, 2014

after surgeryThis is the second part in our blog series on how to prepare for your spine surgery with Dr. Sinicropi. Read part one here.

During Surgery

Most patients will need a bone graft during their spine surgery. Bone Grafts are small pieces of bone that act like cement to hold the vertebrae together to create union and fusion. Bone used for the graft can come from any of the following places:

  • Bone bank – stored bone from human donors
  • Your own body – taken from your pelvic bone during the spinal fusion surgery (your pelvic bone can be sore until it heals)
  • Hardware to stabilize the spine may be needed in addition to the bone used

Dr. Sinicropi only does a bone graft occasionally from the pelvis, and will explain the process in depth during your pre-surgical consultation.

While in Hospital

Some patients will need more observation than others and will sometimes go to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This is no cause for alarm.

You can expect one to three nights’ stay in the hospital after surgery depending on your condition and the specific procedure performed.

  • Spinal Fusions (Lumbar, Anterior, Posterior, Cervical) – expect to go home Day 3
  • Decompressions and Anterior Cervical Decompression Fusion – expect to go home Day 1

During recovery time you will work on getting in and out of bed safely and use a breathing exercise machine (IS-incentive spirometer) to keep your lungs clear and healthy.

Regular checks will be done on surgical site to keep it clear of any fluid and make sure bandages are kept fresh.

What to Expect After Surgery

Some people may have a small amount of pain after surgery from the necessary surgical incisions. This pain is controlled with over-the-counter medicine.

You will have to avoid bending, twisting, or lifting more than five to ten pounds for a time after the procedure.

If you receive neck surgery, it is common to have a difficult time swallowing. If your physician, PA, or nurse feels as though it is excessive, a swallow evaluation may be completed. It is important to stay on a soft diet until swallowing function improves. This may take a few weeks to improve.

Symptoms to Report

If you experience any of the following symptoms after your release from the hospital, report them to your physician immediately:

  • Numbness or tingling in your leg
  • Temperature of 101 degrees F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Area around the wound becomes more swollen, warm, red or painful
  • Fluid, pus (thick yellow) or bright red blood comes out of the incision.
  • Sudden back pain/increasing pain that is not helped by medicine, rest or ice packs
  • New or sudden swelling or pain in your thigh or calf

These symptoms could indicate a serious issue. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

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