Spine surgery can be a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be. The more informed you are about what to expect before, during, and after surgery, the more prepared and comfortable you will be.
If you are planning to undergo spine surgery to find lasting relief from your spine pain or other symptoms, this article is for you. Let’s demystify spine surgery and discuss what to expect before, during, and after spine surgery so that you can feel more confident in your decision.
Spine Surgery: A Brief Overview
Spine surgery is a medical procedure aimed at treating chronic back or neck pain that cannot be managed through non-surgical methods like medications, injections, and physical therapy. The need for surgery could arise from various conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, or a spinal injury.
The goal of spine surgery ranges from removing the cause of pain, such as herniated discs or bone spurs, to correcting an abnormality in the spine or stopping the motion at a painful vertebral segment.
There are two main types of spine surgery: traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery.
Open spine surgery involves a long incision to move the muscles aside so the spine surgeon has a clear view of the area to be operated on. Minimally invasive spine surgery, on the other hand, uses specialized techniques and instruments to operate with less damage to the body, resulting in less pain and a faster recovery.
Before Spine Surgery
Before your surgery, your spine surgeon and other healthcare providers will perform a comprehensive evaluation. This may involve a physical examination, a medical history review, and imaging tests, including X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans. They will also discuss the potential risks, benefits, and alternative treatments with you and answer any questions you may have.
To prepare for the surgery, you need to get healthier by eating right and exercising, stop smoking, and plan who will help you when you’re recovering. Your surgeon will give you clear instructions about what you should do before your operation, like what you can eat or drink and what medicines you should take.
During Spine Surgery
The specifics of the procedure will depend on the type of surgery being performed. However, there are some common elements. Spine surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, so you will be unconscious during the surgery.
Your spine surgeon will make an incision, expose the affected spinal structures, and make the necessary repairs or corrections. The duration of the surgery will depend on the complexity and extent of the surgery, but most spine surgeries take a few hours.
After Spine Surgery
After the surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery room and monitored for any complications. You may have a catheter, an intravenous line, and a drainage tube to help manage your post-operative needs.
Most patients stay in the hospital for a few days to a week, depending on their condition and the type of surgery.
Depending on the type of surgery, you may be encouraged to get up and move around soon after the procedure. You may experience pain and swelling, but it will be managed with medication.
The recovery period can vary widely depending on the specific procedure and individual factors. It can range from a few weeks for a simple lumbar disc surgery to a few months for a complex spinal fusion. Physical therapy is often an integral part of the recovery process, helping to strengthen the back and improve flexibility.
It’s essential to follow all post-operative instructions provided by your spine surgeon, including wound care, pain management, and activity restrictions. Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments to ensure a healthy recovery.
Spine Surgeon in Aurora, CO
At Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, we have a team of board-certified and compassionate orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who regularly perform surgical procedures like spine surgery using the latest techniques and tools to give our patients the best outcome from their treatments.
In addition to surgical treatments, our team of compassionate spine surgeons also offers conservative treatments like medications and injections for a variety of spine and brain conditions.
To know more about the types of spine surgeries we perform or set up a private consultation with one of our outstanding spine surgeons or neurosurgeons, call our staff today at (303) 790-1800 or use our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!