Does your doctor’s spine surgery recommendation have you feeling anxious? Emory’s spine surgeons want you to know what you can expect before and after surgery.
What to Expect Before Spine Surgery
Before surgery, your doctor will talk to you about the risks and benefits of spine surgery, the likelihood of success and what you need to do to prepare for surgery . This discussion is very important to balance the daily impact of your symptoms with the likelihood of improvement or worsening and the risk of complications. Specifically, it’s important to understand the likelihood of improvement of back (or neck) pain versus leg (or arm) pain as the expectation may be different for each.
You will have pre-admission testing, which typically includes:
- Blood screening
- Meeting with the anesthesiologist (the doctor who helps keep you safe and pain-free during surgery)
- Physical exam rechecking your neurologic function (strength, sensation)
- EKG (electrocardiogram) and/or a chest X-ray, if needed
Your surgeon’s office will call you a few days before surgery to tell you about your exact scheduled surgery time and what time you need to arrive on the day of surgery.
What to Expect After Spine Surgery
After surgery, you can expect:
- Prescription medicine. Call the nursing staff if you have any questions. If you had a fusion surgery, do not take aspirin or arthritis medications for at least three months after surgery.
- Post-op instructions to help you heal.
- A follow-up appointment six weeks after surgery.
- A brace or corset to wear if instructed by your doctor.
- An active recovery, following these guidelines.
Would you like to find more answers, learn more or make an appointment?
Yes, I’d like to:
- Find answers to frequently asked questions
- Make an appointment with a spine specialist at 404-778-7777.
About Dr. Rhee
Specializing in cervical spine surgery, lumbar spine surgery, complex spinal deformity surgery (scoliosis and kyphosis), and surgery for spinal tumors, Dr. Rhee is an active researcher and sought-after teacher/lecturer at the national and international level in multiple medical societies. He has served as faculty and been an invited lecturer at numerous meetings and courses on spine surgery. In addition, he has served as Program Chairman at numerous national and international spine surgery meetings. Dr. Rhee has also published extensively in a number of peer reviewed journals and book chapters, and he has received numerous awards and honors. He is actively involved the training of international research scholars and other spinal surgeons and has been the author and editor of numerous books on spine surgery techniques.