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Recovering from Spinal Fusion Surgery

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Recovering from Spinal Fusion Surgery

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Apr 26, 2022

Spinal fusion is a serious spine surgery that permanently connects two or more vertebrae in your spine. If you must have spinal fusion, it is likely that you have tried other treatments for your condition first and you and your physician have decided surgery is the best choice. With the care of a qualified surgeon like Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City, you can expect to regain your normal activities. But first, you need to learn all you can about the recovery process.

Post-surgery
Like most surgeries, you’ll wake up in the recovery area until you are ready to be moved to a regular room. Pain and nausea medications will be administered as needed and your vital signs will be closely monitored. You’ll likely be given antibiotics to prevent infection. Don’t be surprised when the staff says you need to start sitting up and walking several times a day. They will provide the assistance you need as you gradually increase your movement. This is not only helpful in regaining strength, it also helps avoid blood clots that sometimes form post-surgery. In some patients, physicians prescribe a back brace for additional support.

Going home
Some spinal fusion patients go home the same day as surgery and others remain in the hospital a few days. Your surgeon will decide what the best timing is in your case. Home healthcare is sometimes a good idea if you need some extra help during recovery. Here are some tips for recovering at home from spinal fusion:

  • Take pain medication as directed by your physician and do not supplement with anything else without doctor’s orders.
  • Follow instructions for drinking water and high-fiber foods to avoid constipation.
  • Follow your surgeon’s instructions for incision care, bathing, activity levels, icing, lifting, driving and other activities. Do not do too much too soon.
  • If you were given a brace, wear it as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Call your doctor if you have symptoms to watch out for, which can include things like fever, incision redness or swelling, rash, or leg swelling or numbness.

Follow-up care
Schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon on the recommended day, typically about two weeks after surgery. You will learn how your healing is going and any recommendations for increased activity or care. Dr. Fischer recommends physical therapy to begin once you are ready. You must attend appointments and keep up with the program to help with rehabilitation. Stretching exercises and low-impact aerobics are both usually parts of spinal fusion physical therapy. You’ll learn tips for proper posture and sleeping habits to help during the recovery process. Dr. Fischer will advise you about the correct timing for a return to work or other daily activities. Recovering from spinal fusion surgery may take a little time, but if you follow the guidelines you should be back to your normal life without the symptoms you had before surgery.

Contact Dr. Fischer to schedule an appointment


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