Post-Operative Instructions for Patients after Spine Surgery - Dr. Kiran Kumar Lingut

Dr. Kiran Kumar Lingutla

1. Post-operative Pain:
  • Pain at operated site is common after surgery which can be controlled by intravenous injections, skin patches. The pain usually reduces within a few days. Oral pain killers, skin patches help control pain after discharge from the hospital.
  • Radiating pain (sciatica) in the legs usually resolve after the surgery. In some patients, it may take some time for any benefits to be noticed. If you experience any worsening of symptom or new pain, weakness in hands/legs, loss of balance while walking, bowel and bladder problems then contact hospital/doctor immediately.
2. Wound Care:
  • A regular surgical wound dressing once in 2-3 days for 2-3 times following discharge is advised unless there is soakage of the dressing. The wound dressing is kept dry. Avoid taking shower till the wound heals (for 12-14 days) following surgery. In most cases, dissolvable sutures are used. So, no need for suture removal. If there is any bleeding, oozing, discharge from the operated site, contact immediately.
  • Oral antibiotics are given for a short duration at the time of discharge.
3. Diet: 
  • Take a normal soft diet. Avoid sweets, high carbohydrate food. Include vegetables, good protein diet.
  • Quit smoking, restrict alcohol intake as they cause a delay in wound healing and prevent bone healing.
4. Activity:
  • Walking is the best exercise. Start walking regularly. It is important to slowly pace yourself and build up distances gradually.
  • Begin with 10 min and slowly progress to walking 20-30 min 3/4 times a day.
  • Following back surgery avoid bending, lifting weights and twisting. Try to use your knees when bending.
  • Climb stairs at the very beginning, but start slowly. Take one step at a time until comfortable.
  • Return to office/ desk job after 4-6 weeks.
  • Can start driving after 6-8 weeks.
  • Return to sports after 1year following fusion surgery to the spine after doctor’s consultation.
5. Belts & Braces:
  • Lumbar Belts/Braces are usually worn for 3 months following spine fusion surgeries.
  • Wear the braces while sitting, standing and walking. Remove lumbar belt while sleeping. Cervical collar for neck should be worn all the time.
6. Backcare:
  • Regular turning in bed, mobilization should be encouraged to prevent bedsores.
  • Special bed (alfa bed) should be used in patients with weakness in limbs (Paraplegia/Quadriplegia).
7. Sleeping:
  • The best sleeping position to reduce the back pain after back surgery is either on your back with your knees bent and a pillow under the knees or on your side with the knees bent and a pillow between the legs. No need for an expensive special bed. Sleep for at least 6-7 hrs a day.
8. DVT Care:
  • Blood clots in the leg veins can occur in patients after spinal surgery. DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis ) TED stockings/calf pumps should be worn till the patient is well mobilized/walking to prevent pooling of blood and formation of clots in the veins of legs. If a patient develops swelling and severe pain in the legs, consult Hospital /Doctor immediately.
9. Physiotherapy:
  • Regular ambulation, chest (spirometry) and limbs physiotherapy exercises are advised.
  • Avoid aggressive exercises following fusion surgery to prevent excessive movement at the operated site for a minimum of 3 months.
  • Following neck surgery, avoid repetitive neck movements or excessive looking up or down. Limited side to side movement is permitted.

If you are a patient or patient's relative and seek more information on Spine Surgery or related issues, send an enquiry or ask your specific question directly to Dr. Kiran Lingutla, renowned Spine Surgeon in Hyderabad. Alternatively, you can book an appointment for a face-to-face consultation.
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Disclaimer: The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. The information is provided solely for educational purpose and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.