Spinal Fusion

Care After

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

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Take whatever pain medicine has been prescribed by your caregiver. Do not take over-the-counter pain medicine unless directed otherwise by your caregiver.

  • Do not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medicines.

  • Change your bandage (dressing) if necessary or as directed by your caregiver.

  • Do not get your surgical cut (incision) wet. After a few days you may take quick showers (rather than baths), but keep your incision clean and dry. Covering the incision with plastic wrap while you shower should keep your incision dry. A few weeks after surgery, once your incision has healed and your caregiver says it is okay, you can take baths or go swimming.

  • If you have been prescribed medicine to prevent your blood from clotting, follow the directions carefully.

  • Check the area around your incision often. Look for redness and swelling. Also, look for anything leaking from your wound. You can use a mirror or have a family member inspect your incision if it is in a place where it is difficult for you to see.

  • Ask your caregiver what activities you should avoid and for how long.

  • Walk as much as possible.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) until your caregiver says it is safe.

  • Do not twist or bend for a few weeks. Try not to pull on things. Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Change positions at least every hour.

  • Ask your caregiver what kinds of exercise you should do to make your back stronger and when you should begin doing these exercises.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Pain suddenly becomes much worse.

  • The incision area is red, swollen, bleeding, or leaking fluid.

  • Your legs or feet become increasingly painful, numb, weak, or swollen.

  • You have trouble controlling urination or bowel movements.

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You have a fever.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

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