Lumbar Laminectomy, Care After

ExitCare ImageRefer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your health care provider if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Check the incision twice a day for signs of infection. Some signs may include a foul-smelling, greenish or yellowish discharge from the wound, increased pain, or increased redness over the incision.

  • Change your bandages about 24–36 hours after surgery, or as directed.

  • You may shower once the bandage is removed, or as directed. Avoid tub baths, swimming, and hot tubs for 3 weeks or until your incision has healed completely. If you have stitches or staples, they may be removed 2–3 weeks after surgery, or as directed by your doctor.

  • Daily exercise is helpful to prevent the return of problems. Walking is permitted. You may use a treadmill without an incline. Cut down on activities and exercise if you have discomfort. You may also go up and down stairs as much as you can tolerate.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 15 lb. Avoid bending or twisting at the waist. Always bend your knees.

  • Maintain strength and range of motion as instructed.

  • Do not drive for 2–3 weeks, or as directed by your doctor. You may be a passenger for 20–30 minutes at a time. Lying back in the passenger seat may be more comfortable for you.

  • Limit your sitting to intervals of 20–30 minutes. You should lie down or walk in between sitting periods. There are no limitations for sitting in a recliner chair.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your health care provider.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • There is increased bleeding (more than a small spot) from the wound.

  • You notice redness, swelling, or increasing pain in the wound.

  • Pus is coming from the wound.

  • You have a fever for more than 2–3 days.

  • You notice a foul smell coming from the wound or dressing.

  • You have increasing pain in your wound.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop a rash.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You have any allergic problems.

  • You develop a headache or stiff neck that does not respond to pain relievers.

  • You are unable to urinate.

  • You develop new onset of pain, numbness, or weakness in the buttocks or lower extremities.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.