Back problems can lead to chronic pain that interferes with your quality of life. When back pain is making you suffer, minimally invasive spine surgery can help. If your doctor decides surgery can help you, it’s important to know what you should expect from the procedure and how you’ll actively participate to ensure the best possible results.
Preparing mentally, physically, and emotionally for surgery is a crucial step toward successful results. Here are the things you need to know about minimally invasive spine surgery and how you can effectively prepare for it.
What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery is a method that uses specific techniques to ensure less damage to the body compared to open surgery. It’s typically associated with less pain, short hospital stays, and fewer complications.
Not everyone with back pain will need surgery. Your doctor will be able to determine whether it’s the right treatment for you. Minimally invasive spine surgery can be used to treat:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal deformities
- Spinal instability
- Spinal infections
- Fractured vertebrae
- Removal of spinal tumors
How Can You Prepare For Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Get A Health Exam
Before treating your back pain with surgery, your doctor will conduct a physical exam to ensure that your heart and lungs are healthy. They’ll likely perform routine tests, including blood tests, electrocardiograms (EKG), or chest X-rays.
You’ll also need to disclose your health history and conditions (e.g., allergies, bleeding history, reaction to anesthesia, previous surgeries), so your doctor can correctly assess your risk level for the procedure.
Avoid Certain Medications
Medications that thin the blood should be stopped at least a week before surgery, since they could result in bleeding problems. These drugs include:
- Fish oil
- Vitamin E
- Herbals (e.g., gingko, glucosamine)
- Blood thinners
Smoking interferes with the oxygen supply to cells, leading to slower healing and an increased risk of infection. Moreover, it could impede bone growth, reduce bone density, and restrict blood flow in your spine.
If you want a successful surgery, stop all tobacco use: cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacements, pills without nicotine, and tobacco counseling programs, but given all its health risks when it comes to your overall health, this might be your excuse to quit for good.
It may sound counterintuitive, but getting as much physical activity as possible before surgery can help. Obesity puts pressure on your spine. Exercise can help keep those extra pounds off, in addition to improving strength and flexibility. A healthy weight can speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of blood clots and circulation issues after surgery.
Prepare Your Home
Here are some things you can do to get your home ready for recovery:
- Place items that you often use within access.
- Put away all loose rugs and carpets to avoid accidents.
- Tape electrical cords in place to avoid accidents.
- Put non-slip strips in the shower or bathtub.
- Prepare and freeze meals.
- Install grab bars in the tub or toilet area.
- Get a raised toilet seat.
- Have a comfortable chair with firm armrests, cushion, and back support.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Pain medications and anesthesia might lead to constipation. The week before the surgery, eat foods that are high in fiber, such as:
- Whole grain cereals
Stay properly hydrated by drinking eight to ten glasses of water daily. You could also take iron supplements. Walking can help with your digestion, too. OTC fiber supplements keep stools soft and regular. Try not to rely on laxatives, as they can cause muscle contractions.
Arrange For Help
It’ll take weeks or even months before you can fully recover. Arrange for someone to help you with daily tasks, such as cooking, shopping, and laundry. You might also need emotional support during this time, so stay connected with your loved ones.
The Night Before Surgery
On the night before your surgery, you should follow these guidelines:
- Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages.
- No food or drink past midnight.
- Shower with antibacterial soap.
- Wear freshly washed clothing.
- Wear loose clothing and flat shoes with closed backs.
- Leave all valuables and jewelry at home.
- Confirm transportation home since you won’t be allowed to drive for at least 24 hours.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In Colorado
Here at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, we’ll address your back pain with individualized, holistic, and effective surgical care — from preoperative care all the way to postoperative care! We have multiple locations in Colorado, including Colorado Springs, Lone Tree, Parker, Castle Rock, and Centennial.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our spine surgeons to discuss treatment options for your back pain, contact our staff today at (303) 790-1800 or fill out our convenient online request form. We look forward to serving you!