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
When you go for surgery, a family member or friend should go with you. Even when you are going for pre-admission, it’s a good idea to have someone with you. They can listen and take notes for you – or just hold your hand if that’s what you need! Be sure to give your family or friend plenty of notice about your upcoming tests and surgery.
Make a list of any medicines you are taking and any allergies you have to medicines or food. Take this list with you when you go to the hospital (for pre-admission and surgery) so you won’t forget anything when asked.
A few days before surgery you will need to have certain tests and be “pre-admitted” to the hospital. The pre-admission visit can take several hours. Your surgeon’s office staff will tell you where to go and which tests you will need. If you have had any of these tests recently, ask your surgeon if a copy of your test results will do in place of retaking the tests. You may need:
• a chest x-ray to see how well your lungs are working
• an electrocardiogram (EKG) that shows how
your heart is working
• blood tests that show chemistry and blood counts
• a urine analysis to show how your kidneys are working
During pre-admission you will be asked:
• to fill out insurance forms, or provide authorization forms from your insurance company; be sure to bring your insurance card(s)
• if you brought written orders from your surgeon, lab test results, or paperwork from the blood bank
• the name, address, and telephone number of someone to contact
in case of an emergency
• to list your medicines, including the dosage and when you take them
• to list your food or drug allergies, and how you react to each
You will be given instructions on the time and date of your surgery, where to go, and what time to be there the morning of surgery. You may be given a map of the hospital and information about visiting hours.
You will be told about your rights for advance directives which are your written directions for your care should you become unable to make decisions. If you have a living will and healthcare power-of-attorney, bring them with you to your pre-admission visit. If you have any questions about advance directives, ask if you can talk with a social worker at the hospital.
An anesthesiologist may talk with you during your pre-admission visit. The anesthesiologist will explain the risks and benefits of general anesthesia which will be used during surgery. With general anesthesia you will be completely asleep during surgery. If you have been under anesthesia before and had nausea afterwards, tell the anesthesiologist and your surgeon. Anti-nausea medicine may be ordered for you. An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will be present at all times during surgery.
Blood Donation And Transfusion
With today’s advanced surgical methods blood loss during surgery is much less than in the past, usually about 1 to 2 units. However, you may still need a blood transfusion. If so, your blood will be matched with blood that has been carefully tested. The blood you receive can come from:
• yourself (autologous blood donation) – you donate blood at a local blood bank or the hospital. Many surgeons prefer this method because it is the safest for you. Usually, you can donate up to 3 units at 1 week intervals beginning 3 to 4 weeks before surgery.
• a designated donor – this can be a family member who has blood compatible with yours
• a blood bank – blood is supplied by the American Red Cross
Ask your surgeon which would be best for you. If you or a designated donor give blood, your last donation must be completed several business days prior to surgery. Also, if you donate blood, you will be given a special diet that will help rebuild your blood before surgery.
The Night Before Surgery
You must stop eating and drinking by midnight. This keeps the stomach empty which will reduce nausea and vomiting during and after surgery. If you take daily insulin, heart, or blood pressure medicine, ask your anesthesiologist or surgeon if you should take it the night before surgery. Also, you may be given special soap and asked to scrub your back or abdomen the night before and the morning of surgery.
The Morning of Surgery
In the morning before surgery, you can shower or bathe, brush your teeth, and shave. Do not eat or drink anything. However, you may be allowed to take needed medicine with just a sip of water. When you dress, do not wear makeup, jewelry, dentures, hair pins, contact lenses, hearing aid(s), or artificial limbs. Wear your elastic stockings if your surgeon ordered them.
Be sure to bring these items to the hospital with you:
• your glasses, dentures, or hearing aid, if you use them
• toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
• lip balm (Chapstick)
• a knee length robe
• a walker, if you have one, with your name on it
• shoes with flat, nonskid soles and a closed heel
• a t-shirt and your brace if your doctor ordered one
• any items you were asked to bring during pre-admission
Your family can bring these items to you later:
• your contact lenses, makeup, etc.
• extra t-shirts
• comfortable clothing to wear home
• bed pillows for your ride home