Going home after posterior spinal fusion with instrumentation surgery
We will take X-rays of you standing up before you go home. This is usually 3-5 days after surgery.
Keep your incision clean and dry. You can take a shower 2 weeks after surgery if your back incision is well healed and has no drainage. Do not stand and let the water spray right onto your back incision. Let the water hit your front and shoulders then trickle down your back.
Your back incision may be numb for several months.
We will send you home with a prescription for pain medicine, stool softeners, and iron.
For the first 6 weeks after surgery:
- No driving. Make sure to wear your seatbelt.
- Surgery may cause irregular menstrual cycles.
- Take pain medication as prescribed. Your need for pain medication will gradually lessen. No non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve) for six months. You may use Tylenol (acetaminophen) once you are done taking your prescription pain medications.
For the first 6 months after surgery:
- No sports or PE
- No lifting greater than 5-10 pounds. A gallon of milk weighs about 5 pounds.
- No lying on your stomach
- No bending, stooping, or twisting
- No dental work
The nurses will go over what you can and can not do in more detail. If you are unsure about a certain activity, please ask. It is important you follow your restrictions to heal properly.
You may return to school in 2-4 weeks depending on how you feel. You should ask your school to provide you with an extra set of your school books to have at home. You will not be able to lift/carry a book bag.
Walk for exercise as tolerated, gradually increasing the pace and distance. Continue leg and ankle exercises.
Your first return appointment will be about 6 weeks after your discharge from the hospital, then 3 months, 6 months, and one year after surgery. Then yearly visits after that. It is important that you return for your scheduled appointments.
If any of the following problems occur after surgery, please notify your doctor:
- Fever or chills
- Redness, warmth, or foul smelling drainage at the surgical site
- Increase in pain
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms or legs
- Change in bowel or bladder control