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Preparing for Spine Surgery

In the weeks and days leading up to surgery, there are several things that you'll need to do in order to prepare.

Before Arriving at the Hospital

Pre-Admission Testing

You will be called to schedule pre-admission testing at the hospital two weeks before your surgery date. Please bring the following:

  • Your insurance card
  • Another form of identification, such as a driver's license
  • All of your medications, including over-the-counter, in their original containers. You will receive instructions from pre-admission testing on which medications, if any, should be stopped prior to surgery and which should be taken the morning of your surgery.


Medical Clearance

Before you have surgery, a primary care doctor will evaluate your current health status to determine if you are healthy enough to undergo surgery. 

He or she will take your medical history, perform a physical exam and order blood tests. If your medical condition requires it, other tests might be needed before surgery, such as an EKG or cardiac stress test.

Preparing Your Home

All spine surgeries require a recovery period and will limit your activities following your return home. Before surgery, you may wish to take the precautions listed below to ease your transition to home.

  • Make your meals in advance and buy non-perishables that can be easily eaten or prepared.
  • Move frequently-used items to a counter or cupboard that does not require you to bend down. Following surgery, you should not bend at the waist or lift anything heavier than a carton of milk.
  • Move frequently-used items to the first floor of your home. After surgery, you may need to limit your use of the staircase. You may go up or down stairs once a day for the first 1 or 2 weeks, if it does not cause much pain or discomfort.
  • Prevent falls by removing throw rugs, electrical cords, foot stools and other clutter in your walking path.


Arranging for Assistance

You may wish to arrange for someone to:

  • Take you to and from the hospital, as you will be unable to drive home.
  • Stay with you at your home for at least 24 hours after surgery.
  • Fill your prescriptions following surgery.
  • Assist with chores that require heavy-lifting, such as laundry.
  • Provide transportation in the days and weeks after surgery if you will be unable to drive for an extended period of time. 

Day Before Surgery

What to Pack

The day before your surgery, pack your clothing and toiletries. You may wish to bring:

  • Light robe
  • Change of clothes
  • Comfortable shoes and socks
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Your preferred shampoos and body wash
  • Sleep apnea machine, if you have one
  • Any new medications that you began taking after pre-admission testing

Please leave cash, jewelry and other valuables at home.

What to Eat

  • Have a well-balanced dinner.
  • Avoid spicey foods and foods high in fat.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.

Day of Surgery

On the day of surgery, please arrive at the hospital at your designated time. There may be additional forms and testing to be completed prior to being taken to surgery.

You will need a ride to the hospital because you will not be able to drive your car home after your discharge.

Personal Hygiene

Shower the morning of surgery and put on clean clothes. Brush your teeth. Wear comfortable clothes, sneakers or shoes with rubber soles.

Do not wear makeup, hair or skin products or contact lenses.

Medications

You should not take any medications unless instructed otherwise. If you have been instructed to take medications on the morning of surgery, follow pre-admission directions.

When you arrive at the hospital, inform the nurse of any changes in your medications or treatments. Bring any new medications with you.

Food & Drink

Do not eat after midnight on the day of your surgery, unless instructed otherwise by your physician.