Lumbar Spinal Fusion
Table of Contents
Lumbar Spinal Fusion
Most Common Causes of Lumbar Back Pain
Your Visit With The Surgeon
Getting Yourself Ready For Surgery
Understanding Back Precautions
Making Arrangements For Surgery
Your Hospital Visit
Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery
Recovery At Home
When To Call Your Surgeon
Long Term Care For Your Back
Lumbar spinal fusion is usually scheduled weeks in advance. Use this time wisely.
During this time, be sure to:
• rest and relax. Take good care of your physical and mental health. Don’t overdo things. And make sure you plan some enjoyable activities to relax your mind and give your spirits a lift.
• report health changes to your surgeon. Tell him if you have any cuts, scrapes, sores, or signs of an active infection, such as chills, fever, coughing, or runny nose within a week of your scheduled surgery. If an infection lasts, surgery may have to be rescheduled. Also, your surgeon may want you to have a checkup from your regular doctor before surgery.
• learn about your insurance coverage. Talk with the benefits manager at work or call your insurance company help line. Make sure you know what will be paid for by insurance and what must be paid for by you. For example, if you have a special need for home care or special equipment when you return home, your surgeon may order it for you. Find out before your surgery if your insurance will pay for these items.
If You Are A Smoker
Most hospitals are “smoke free”. This means you could have nicotine withdrawal while your body is recovering from surgery. You may want to quit smoking well before surgery so your mind and body can focus on healing. Talk with your surgeon before using a nicotine patch or nicotine gum.
If You Need To Wear A Back Brace
Not everyone will need a brace. Your surgeon may prescribe a brace to support your back and prevent unwanted twisting and bending movements. The brace is to remind you not to bend or twist. Your surgeon will tell you if he wants you to have a brace and when you should be fitted. Ask your surgeon any questions you have about your brace.
Getting Fitted For A Back Brace
If you need a brace, it will be fitted so that you can wear it for several months after surgery. If your surgeon orders the brace before surgery, an appointment will be scheduled with an orthotist who will fit your brace. He will make your brace, and give you instructions on the care and cleaning of it. Sometimes, a brace is ordered after surgery and fitted in the hospital.
During pre-surgery education or before you leave the hospital, the physical therapist or occupational therapist will show you and your family how to put on and take off your brace while following your back precautions. While you are in the hospital, the hospital staff will help you put on and take off your brace.
When You Should Wear The Brace
Your surgeon will tell you when to start wearing your brace. You should wear it whenever you are out of bed. Your surgeon will tell you if you should also wear it while sleeping or lying down.
You will be most comfortable if you wear a t-shirt under the brace and loose fitting clothes, such as a sweatshirt, over it. The t-shirt prevents the brace from rubbing your skin and absorbs moisture. Most people wear their brace for 3 to 6 months following surgery.