What You Should Know About Diabetes And Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 12, 2021

Thinning Spinal Disc

Diabetes is a health condition that affects millions of Americans. Diabetes affects how your body uses blood sugar (glucose), and it can lead to excess blood sugar in your body, which can cause serious health problems. As you might imagine, the condition can also complicate the surgical process and your recovery after an operation. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how diabetes can make spine surgery a bit more complex, and how you can help prevent diabetes from causing problems if you need to undergo an operation.

Why Diabetes Complicates Spine Surgery

There are a few ways that diabetes can make a spine surgery a little riskier, but Dr. Sinicropi and his team have a great track record of preventing complications in diabetic surgical candidates. Here’s a look at some of the ways that surgery and its aftermath can be complicated by diabetes.

  • Increased risk of infection due to potentially inhibited blood flow.
  • Delayed healing caused by poor blood flow.
  • Weaker skin at the surgery site.
  • Physical and mental stress from the operation can change your body’s hormone levels, which can increase insulin resistance, increasing the risk of hyperglycemia.
  • More difficulty controlling blood glucose levels, as they can more easily become high or low.

Aside from the condition itself, you’ll also likely need to adjust your medication regimen ahead of surgery. Your surgical team and your primary care provider can help establish a medication schedule that controls your glucose levels and doesn’t increase your risk of surgical complications. It goes without saying, but it’s imperative that you let your spine surgeon know about all the medications you are taking in the lead up to your surgical operation.

Preventing Diabetic Complications Before And After Spine Surgery

Complications are never 100 percent preventable, but taking some steps before and after surgery can help to reduce your risk of complications. The good news is, most of these steps aren’t all that different from how you should approach daily life if you have diabetes. For example, some ways to help reduce your risk of complications before spine surgery if you have diabetes include:

  • Staying on top of your blood sugar levels.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Eating a healthy diet full of vitamin- and nutrient-rich foods.
  • Avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption.
  • Working to reduce or eliminate stress.

After surgery, you’ll need to be a little more diligent about how you care for your health to ensure your diabetes and your surgical site are managed appropriately. Once you’re back home, it’s important to check your blood sugar levels more regularly, because it may be harder to keep your levels in a healthy range. You may not be as hungry, you likely won’t be as active and you could be dealing with more stress in the wake of an operation, which will all affect your blood sugar levels. Check your levels more often and make adjustments to keep them in a healthy range to avoid potentially problematic complications.

Finally, make sure that you ask your surgeon and their team any questions you might have about wound care or managing your diabetes after an operation. Odds are you’ll have questions or concerns, but we can help provide answers and make life a little easier. You can’t take care of your body if you don’t know the best ways to help manage your surgical site and your diabetes, so lean on your medical resources and give yourself the best chance at a full recovery. For more information or for help navigating a spinal issue if you have diabetes, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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