What Patients Can Do To Avoid Being Readmitted After Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

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If you’ve been discharged home after spine surgery, you hope that you won’t need to head back to the hospital or surgical center for anything other than a standard follow up appointment. Unfortunately, for a small minority of patients, they run into an issue during their recovery that leads to the need to be readmitted for additional care. And while a patient will never be able to get their risk of readmission to zero, there are some things they can do to reduce their risk. Below, we take a closer look at some things that patients can do to reduce their risk of hospital readmission following spine surgery.

Reducing Readmission Risk After Back Surgery

Some readmission factors are more controllable than others, but if you keep these tips in mind, we’re confident that you will be reducing your already-low risk of being readmitted following spine surgery.

  • Care For Your Incision Site – Surgical site infections are a leading cause of hospital readmission following surgery. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for your specific incision sites, and change your bandages regularly to help keep them clean. If it’s difficult to care for your incision sites because they are on your back, enlist the help of a friend or family member.
  • Don’t Overdo It – We understand that you’re probably itching to get back to work or certain physical activities following your surgical procedure, but if you do too much too soon, you can overload your weak spine or cause inserted hardware to shift. Stick to the rehab plan given to you by your care team. If you feel like you’re recovering ahead of schedule, get clearance before taking on more physical challenges.
  • Have A Pain Management Plan – Another common cause for readmission after spine surgery is due to pain and discomfort. You’re going to have some discomfort following a surgical procedure, but developing a pain management plan with your care team prior to your discharge can help you effectively manage your pain at home. Take your pain medications as directed and reach back out to your team if pain is becoming difficult to manage at home. You can also work to control pain by doing your physical therapy exercises and working to achieve restful sleep each night.
  • Blood Clot Prevention – Blood clots can be a serious complication caused by your body’s reaction to surgery and your limited movement in the wake of the procedure. Don’t just lie in bed at home once you’ve been discharged. Being upright and mobile can help to prevent blood clots, as can certain medications. Talk to your care team if you have a personal or family history of blood clots, as they can help develop an individualized plan for preventing blood clots after surgery.
  • Failed Surgery – It’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll be discharged from the surgical center if something with the hardware or the operation has failed, but you can work to reduce your likelihood of a failed surgical operation by trusting your procedure to a skilled surgeon like Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute!

For more tips on how you can avoid an unexpected return to the hospital after spine surgery, or to talk to a specialist about a different back issue you’re experiencing, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi today at (651) 430-3800.


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