How to Prepare Yourself for Back Surgery?

Sep 20, 2022

Once all the conservative treatments fail to relieve you of the back pain, back surgery is the last resort doctors often suggest. There could be a lot of reasons for which back surgery is performed; herniation/degeneration of disc, osteophytes or an injury to the spinal cord to name a few. After you have been given the date of surgery, you must wonder if there is anything that I need to do or should not do. How do I prepare for the back surgery? You will find answers to these questions and many other similar ones in the article below.

Back surgery can be once in a lifetime experience and it is normal to have questions about the procedure. While the surgeon responsible for carrying out your surgery alerts you about the major do’s and don’ts, it is better to get to know about pre-surgery and post-surgery care. It won’t only help you with avoiding any possible complications but also make the road to recovery smooth.

Medical Clearance

Your doctor will conduct a preoperative evaluation known as medical clearance. This evaluation ensures that you are fit to undergo the proposed treatment and that it identifies any potential life-threatening complications that could arise from the surgery. The surgeon you have chosen for your back surgery will ask you to get medical clearance from your doctor as it is a basic requirement before any surgery.

Cut down on Nicotine Usage

a doctor warning his patient to stay away from smoking

Patients who are scheduled for any major surgery are strongly discouraged from consuming nicotine. The benefits of quitting smoking are endless, however, the following are some ways in which nicotine intake in any form can be dangerous for someone going under the knife;

  • It inhibits the recovery process after surgery.
  • It disturbs the blood flow by narrowing the blood vessels.
  • Smokers run a greater risk of heart attack, pneumonia, and blood clots.
  • Smoking damages the lungs and makes it difficult for the patient to breathe normally under the influence of anesthesia.

It can take anywhere between 5 days to three weeks for your stomach to be detoxified of nicotine. So it is a good idea to stop smoking or any intake of nicotine 1 month before your surgery.

Eat Healthy

a couple cooking healthy food

Various surgical procedures necessitate distinct dietary plans, not only regarding pre- and post-surgery eating restrictions but also in adhering to a recommended diet regimen that can enhance the surgery's success. Below, we outline some general eating guidelines expected for patients to follow when preparing for back surgery;

  • A healthy body recovers faster after surgery than a non-healthy one. Following this, take a balanced diet with all the essential nutrients and proteins. Sources of protein can be eggs, meat, low-fat milk, and fish.
  • Doctors generally advise patients to abstain from eating anything for 7 to 8 hours before surgery.
  • You must be taking several anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen and Naproxen to help you manage your back pain, however, you must stop having them 2 weeks prior to the surgery. Additionally, refrain from using blood thinners like aspirin to minimize the risk of excessive blood loss.

In such cases, we recommend seeing a nutritionist, as they are professionals who can devise a tailored-fit diet plan for you. Eating habits can make a world of difference in your road to recovery from back surgery.

Get Equipment to Help Yourself

an old lady trying to reach for her glasses with the help of a grabber

Recovering from back surgery can take a lot of time. During the recovery period, performing routine activities such as driving, bathing, and moving around will be different post-surgery. It would be a good idea to buy some equipment that can help you move around. These include;

  • A walker
  • Recliners
  • Back brace
  • Bathroom accessories (Shower seat/Toilet Seat)
  • Grabber devices

Rehabilitation after Back Surgery

Having successful back surgery is only a half-done job. Complete recovery takes a lot of discipline and effort. It is not uncommon to feel extreme pain after the first few days of the surgery. Moreover, serious complications might arise if patients become negligent. To avoid such situations, seeing a professional physiotherapist would be a good idea. He/she will chalk out a plan for you to ensure a smooth recovery and help you get back to living a normal life again after back surgery.

Neurosurgeon Los Angeles - Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Get a Second Opinion on Your Back Surgery

If you happen to be in Los Angeles, you can see Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery for an expert opinion on getting back surgery. She has been treating patients with back problems for many years and is rated as the best neurosurgeon in Los Angeles by for three consecutive years (2019-2021). Our facility trains staff professionally to assist patients with their treatments and recovery. You can rely on us for complete treatment of your back problems. To schedule an appointment, you can fill out the contact form given below or call us at (213) 369-4583.