Things to expect for your recuperation after lumbar spine surgery:
Several days after your surgery, the dressing that you have been wearing over your incision will be removed. Stitches or sutures that are under your skin will dissolve on their own as natural healing occurs. If you have visible stitches or staples they are usually removed by a nurse or in the surgeon’s office two or three weeks after your lumbar spine surgery.
Your pain level will most likely vary from sharp, dull, or aching. It will be important to talk to your surgeon before surgery to discuss pain management. Oral or IV medication can be given for pain relief and if you feel like your medication is doing enough to alleviate you pain after your lumbar spine surgery talk to your doctor or nurse.
You will receive your fluids and nourishments through an IV in your arm until you can resume eating and drinking properly. If you need a blood transfusion you will receive this through the use of an IV as well. The IV will also deliver much needed antibiotics to you for a few days after your lumbar spine surgery to help prevent infections. If your IV gives you pain, which it shouldn’t let the nurse know so that she can check if there are problems.
Diet After Lumbar Spine Surgery
Until you and your stomach are ready for food, ice chips and small sips of water will be just about all you will be able to ingest orally. Once your stomach is ready for food you will progress from liquids to solid foods. This time frame is dependent on the patient and may take from 24 to 48 hours.
You will continue to take any medications that you were taking before your surgery and in addition, if required, laxatives and sleeping aids can become available to you. If you have concerns about your medications do not be afraid to approach your doctor about them.
Breathing Exercises After Lumbar Spine Surgery
Be sure to practice deep breathing exercises after lumbar spine surgery.
- With your hand placed on your stomach, inhale through your nose. As you inhale through your nose your stomach rises as your chest expands. Hold this breath for 2 seconds. Exhale through your mouth and notice that your stomach recesses. Follow up your deep breathing exercises with a cough as it will help to clear your lungs
- Take a few deep breaths to recover
- Breathe through your nose on your next breath and again hold it for two seconds
- Cough a few times in a row
- This will help to clear your lungs and you may need to do the double cough a few times
It is very important as a patient that you maintain good circulation in your legs after lumbar spine surgery. Performing leg exercises and walking will help you with your circulation. Sequential compression boots help to pump blood in your legs back to your heart by inflating and deflating. You will be wearing these boots after lumbar spine surgery as well.
This sounds like a lot of work after lumbar spine surgery, so there must be an easier way. There are other choices out there that you can explore, and one of them is minimally invasive laser lumbar spine surgery.
This is a minimally invasive surgery that is performed to relieve pressure from the spinal canal for the exiting nerve root and spinal cord. This procedure increases the available space, freeing up the neural tissue and releasing the compressed nerve.
The procedure can be performed in an outpatient surgical setting with no need for general anesthesia.
Lumbar spine surgery through a laminotomy can be used to treat the following conditions:
- Bone Spurs
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Arthritis in the spine
- Scar tissue formation
- Pinched nerve through nerve root compression
- Spinal stenosis