You have dealt with pain for long enough. Your doctor has recommended back surgery, and now it’s time to prepare. While it is most important that you follow your back surgeon’s recommendations for surgery prep, we have created this guide to help as well.
One important note before we look at back surgery prep and talk strategy. At Desert Spine and Scoliosis Center, our back surgery expert Dr. Baig believes that (whenever possible) all of the treatments that may allow back surgery to be avoided should be exhausted before surgery is performed. Many conditions can be treated without invasive surgery.
What this means is that your doctor, if they are anything like Dr. Baig, has determined that surgery is the best possible way to help relieve your pain and improve your life. But whether your doctor has recommended minimally invasive back surgery for a herniated disc, or another back surgery type, these tips should help get you ready.
Complete all medical instructions
Before surgery, your doctor should provide instructions and orders for a wide range of tests. These might include
- CT Scan
- Blood tests
- And more
Some doctors recommend other forms of testing as well. Our Dr. Baig requires that all of his patients get a complete metabolic workup so that he can help guide their nutrition before and after surgery (more on this later).
Your instructions will include dietary limitations, activity restrictions, and very specific instructions that you will need to follow in the days leading up to surgery. They will tell you when to stop eating and drinking liquid before your procedure to ensure your safety.
In addition to following these instructions carefully, you will need to prepare in three other aspects as well:
Prepare your body
Surgery is hard on the body. Even minimally invasive spine surgery can involve complex recovery periods. This makes sense if you think about it. You may be undergoing surgery to make part of your spine fuse, back surgery to decompress a nerve, or to correct another medical condition.
This is not something that your body goes through on a daily basis. So preparing your body before back surgery is essential to your recovery afterward. Here are a few key things to address.
Talk to your spine surgeon about your current medication, and ask for help in understanding the impact of those meds on your surgery. If you regularly take aspirin or blood thinners, for example, your surgeon may ask that you stop ahead of your procedure to help control bleeding.
Address tobacco use
If you smoke, you may consider quitting. Not just for your overall health, but also because tobacco use will impair your body’s ability to heal and recover. Generally, a surgeon will ask that you stop smoking two weeks ahead of your procedure, but if you can stay clear of tobacco long-term that can help even more.
You may have limitations on your movement due to pain or other aspects of your spine condition, but if you can stay as active as possible (and as your doctor recommends) before surgery, it can help for the more sedentary recovery period.
Look at diet and nutrition
Your diet and nutrition can play a big role in your back surgery prep. Dr. Baig says
“priming your body for surgery by changing the way you eat is one of the easiest ways you can bring your ‘A-game’ to the day of surgery. This also includes being cognizant of the carb/sugar contents on the back of every package. You will be shocked by how much sugar is in everything we eat. Processed foods are often engineered to appeal to the palate and literally create the same addiction patterns that illicit drugs do.”
Prepare your house
In addition to preparing your body for back surgery, take the time to prepare your house. Move (with a helper, you have a bad back) furniture to get ready for recovery. Perhaps you can get a recliner or lots of pillows for your bed. Try a raised toilet seat or shower chair to limit your bending or twisting.
Have a plan in place for lots of help with meals and shopping, and for getting around. In our blog, we discuss some more of the must-haves after back surgery. Give that list a look and get ready!
Prepare your mind
Finally, you will want to prepare your mind for the road ahead. Thinking positively, but being realistic, is a big part of back surgery recovery, so make it a part of back surgery prep. Educate yourself about your condition, and the procedure you are about to undergo. And if you have questions, ask your doctor.
At Desert Spine and Scoliosis Center, we take your health and wellbeing seriously. Dr. Baig is happy to talk with his patients and help them to feel at ease.
Book a consultation – call the experts at Desert Spine and Scoliosis today!