Your recovery journey will start as soon as the operation is completed. Understanding what happens immediately after spinal surgery can help you and your loved ones become better prepared physically and emotionally for what you’re likely to experience shortly after surgery is over.
Whether you have traditional open surgery or minimally invasive spinal surgery, you’ll be taken to a post-surgery recovery room immediately after. During this time, the anesthesia will wear off. It’s a process that often takes some time since the anesthesia gets into muscles and tissues. Post-opt nurses will speak to you in soft, reassuring tones as you wake up.
Various devices may be attached to track your vitals post-surgery. This often includes a blood pressure cuff and EKG leads to monitor your heart rate.
An IV will be inserted to deliver necessary medications and fluids to keep you hydrated. The IV will be monitored by machines that emit a series of beeps and other alerts that nurses are trained to interpret.
Your initial comfort is maintained with a urinary catheter. In addition to collecting urine, it will also help monitor your kidney functions. Patient comfort is also maintained by:
As the anesthesia wears off, it’s normal to feel some degree of post-surgery discomfort. Most hospitals give patients access to a device that allows for the self-distribution of meds. You’ll press the button as you need pain meds, which will be delivered through your IV in small predetermined doses. Oral medications will be given later.
You will be guided through a series of deep breathing exercises. The purpose of controlled breathing is to increase circulation and loosen secretions to prevent pneumonia. A lung capacity test may also be given.
Arrange to have a ride home from the hospital. Prepare your home as well, which may include having family members, neighbors, or friends help out with trips to the store and household tasks. Ordering post-surgery meds in advance can also give you one less thing to worry about as you recovery.
For more information or a second opinion, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of spine specialists at The Spine Institute Center. Dr. Bae can review your case and discuss additional treatment options, like motion-preserving spinal surgeries or non-surgical procedures, and help you make the right choice for your lifestyle. Call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule and in-person consultation.