Preparation tips for spinal fusion

Spinal fusion is a slightly invasive procedure that stabilizes and provides steady support to your spine after surgery for spinal stenosis or herniated discs. The procedure permanently fuses two vertebrae to strengthen your spine. Depending on your condition, Dr. Kasimian and his team offer different types of Glendale spinal fusion, including anterior lumbar interbody fusion and posterior lumbar interbody fusion.

Review your medications

Medications for osteoporosis, blood pressure, and diabetes can increase your risk for complications during spinal fusion. Blood thinners such as aspirin can also increase your risk of bleeding. During your initial appointment, you can discuss with your doctor about your medication regimen and determine the medications you should stop days before your surgery. Ensure to inform your provider about herbal supplements and vitamins you may be taking.

Diet restrictions

Before the day of the procedure, your doctor may instruct you to take water and other beverages such as juice without pulp and coffee. You should avoid eating or drinking anything on the day of the surgery. Spinal fusion surgery involves using general anesthesia, so if your stomach is not empty, the anesthesia may cause you to vomit.

Prepare your home for recovery

After the surgery, your doctor will give post-operative care instructions, which may include limiting movements involving your spine. These movements include lifting objects, bending, and twisting. Excessive pressure on your spine can hinder healing and result in post-surgery complications. To prevent these issues from occurring, you can make several home adjustments, such as placing your phone or medications on a shoulder-length shelf to prevent bending or stretching to reach them. You can also stock up on hygiene products and food as you cannot shop for several weeks after surgery. You can also arrange for a nurse or a loved one to support you during recovery.

Plan for transportation

Before leaving for surgery, you can request a loved one to drive to and from the hospital. The vehicle should be comfortable and safe, preventing unnecessary strain on your spine. During your first appointment, you can discuss the best mode of transport for follow-up appointments with your provider. Sometimes, you may need a specialized vehicle, such as a wheelchair-accessible van. Knowing these details in advance can help you prepare, preventing you from struggling during recovery.

Eat healthily

A diet rich in micronutrients and vitamins is essential for faster healing after surgery. Your doctor may recommend enriching your diet with vegetables, fresh fruits, and lean protein. You may need to avoid fatty, processed foods that can result in constipation since pain medications can slow your gut.

Quit smoking

When preparing for spinal surgery, you should quit smoking as soon as your doctor clears you for surgery. Smoking can interfere with bone fusion after treatment or slow the healing process. This unhealthy habit can also increase your risk of postoperative complications. If you need help quitting the habit, you can inform your doctor, who can refer you to a rehabilitation center.

If you need help preparing for spinal fusion, call the HAAS Spine & Orthopaedics office or schedule an appointment online.

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