FAQ
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General Information

  • What should I do if I have injured my back?

    To start with, call The Spine Center Hotline at, 877-957-7463 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Parker. In order for Dr. Parker to provide the best care for you, it is very important that you bring the following items with you when you come to our center to be treated by Dr. Parker. - Current insurance card, identification, such as a driver's license - List of your current medications any and all x-rays, MRIs, or other imaging films (including written reports) - Information about what treatments, and medications have been tried in the past - Medical records from prior visits that you think may be helpful - Referral from your primary care physician if applicable - Co-payment, or minimum payment, (given at appointment time) for uninsured patients - A list of questions you want to ask your physician - New patients should download the patient registration packet, complete it, and bring it to your appointment
  • Why choose The Spine Center at the TOC?

    Training, research, experience, and trust are the hallmarks of The Spine Center at The Orthopedaedic Center. For more than 30 years, The Spine Center at TOC has been recognized as the Tennessee Valley's leader in orthopaedics, spine surgery, and sports medicine. Thousands of area residents have received world-class care from the Valley's most trusted, and experienced group of orthopaedic surgeons, and medical specialists. Whether you have a work-related injury, or got sidelined playing the sport you love, you need the best care, the best physicians, and the best facility to get you back in the game. We think you'll agree that The Spine Center at TOC is right for you.
  • What is Dr. Parker's expertise?

    Dr. Parker is a specialist in spine surgery, treating disorders of the spine including cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. He also performs minimally invasive surgery both laproscopically and endoscopically, and is involved in the development of artificial disc technology.
  • In which locations does Dr. Parker see patients?

    Dr. Parker is typically found at our main office, located at 927 Franklin Street Huntsville, Alabama. You can contact Dr. Parker's office by calling the TOC general office number at 256-327-7463, or 256-32 SPINE. Dr. Parker also practices at the Madison center located at 8415 Wann Drive, Madison, Alabama.
  • What are Dr. Parker's office hours?

    Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, excluding holidays.
  • Where does Dr. Parker perform surgery?

    Dr. Parker operates at Crestwood Medical Center on Mondays and Fridays, and at Huntsville Hospital on Wednesdays.
  • How long has Dr. Parker been in practice?

    Dr. Parker has been practicing since 1997.
  • Where can I get more information about Dr. Parker and The Spine Center at The Orthopaedic Center?

    If you need more information than what is provided here at Dr. Parker's website, you may contact Dr. Parker's office by calling The Spine Center office number at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463).
  • What do I need to bring on my first appointment?

    Please bring the following items to your first appointment with Dr. Parker: - Current insurance card, identification, such as a driver's license - List of your current medications any and all x-rays, MRIs, or other imaging films (including written reports) - Information about what treatments, and medications have been tried in the past - Medical records from prior visits that you think may be helpful - Referral from your primary care physician if applicable - Co-payment, or minimum payment, (given at appointment time) for uninsured patients - A list of questions you want to ask your physician - New patients should download a five page patient registration packet, complete them, and bring them to your appointment
  • How much time should I allow for my first visit?

    We make every effort to see our patients in a timely manner. We ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow for completion of paperwork and registration. We ask that you allow at least one hour for your first visit.
  • What can I expect to happen at my first appointment?

    You will be seen first by our physician assistant who will take your history and do the initial examination. Depending on whether or not you brought any films of your spine, we will take x-rays. You will then see Dr. Parker who will review your x-rays with you and any tests you may have brought and make recommendations of treatment based on your history, physical exam, and radiographic findings.
  • If I proceed with the procedure Dr. Parker recommends, how long will I stay in the hospital?

    Length of stay at the hospital varies, depending on the type of surgery you are having. Most cervical spine surgeries are 23 hour observation surgeries. Your hospital stay is generally one night. Lumbar spine surgeries that do not include a fusion are also generally 23 hour observation surgeries, and again your hospital stay is generally one night. For larger lumbar fusions, and for some more complication cervical surgeries the length of hospital stay is generally two nights. For an Epidural Steroid Injection, you will be released on the same day. Your stay will also depend on a patient’s medical history, and if another MD is consulted for additional care.
  • How long do I have to wait to receive my test results after the test has been completed?

    This depends on the type of test. MRI, CT, Myelograms usually take 24 to 48 hours. Dexa, EMC, Non-invasive Arterial Studies take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours depending on the turnaround time from the physician who is reading or performing the study.
  • Where can I get more information about spine care?

    You can get more information about spine care and/or injuries by going to www.spine-health.com. This web site contains a plethora of information concerning spine health, injuries, treatment and care.
  • What are the symptoms of disc herniation?

    Herniated discs occur in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions of the spine. Arm pain is a typical symptom for a cervical herniated disc. The pain may seem to radiate down the arm accompanied by numbness and tingling in the arm into the fingertips. Muscle weakness in the arm may also be experienced. Symptoms of a thoracic herniated disc are exhibited by a radiating pain in the chest or belly. Identifying pain associated with a thoracic herniated disc should also include an assessment for heart, lung, gastrointestinal and non-spine musculoskeletal disorders. A disc herniation in the lumbar portion of the spine, will typically occur at the bottom of the spine. Symptoms will consist of pain radiating down the leg and buttocks. Symptoms can also include weakness in extending the big toe and/or ankle, with numbness, and pain felt at the top of the foot. One may also experience loss of ankle reflex, and/or ankle weakness, along with numbness, and pain radiating down the sole or outside of the foot.
  • If I take more medication than what is prescribed, can I get an early refill?

    If a patient is post surgical, Dr. Parker will review symptoms and records then make the determination to release prescription refills early. If the patient is non-surgical, Dr. Parker does NOT allow early refills under ANY circumstances.

General Surgery Information

  • How soon after surgery can I drive?

    You will be released to drive at your post-operation visit 7 to 10 days after surgery.
  • How long will I be in the hospital after my surgery?

    Length of stay at the hospital varies, depending on the type of surgery you are having. Most cervical spine surgeries are 23 hour observation surgeries. Your hospital stay is generally one night. Lumbar spine surgeries that do not include a fusion are also generally 23 hour observation surgeries, and again your hospital stay is generally one night. For larger lumbar fusions, and for some more complicated cervical surgeries the length of hospital stay is generally 2 nights. For an Epidural Steroid Injection, you will be released on the same day. Your stay will also depend on a patient’s medical history, and if another MD is consulted for additional care.
  • Will I have to wear a brace after my surgery?

    For lumbar spine surgeries that do not require fusion, a brace will not be needed. For lumbar fusion surgeries you will be fitted with a back brace prior to your surgery. After your lumbar fusion surgery, you will wear a brace whenever you are active for about 6 to 8 weeks for support. For most cervical spine surgeries you will be fitted with a soft cervical collar, and in some cases a hard cervical collar after surgery. Do not wear your brace while at rest, or when sitting.
  • How soon after surgery can I resume my normal activities?

    This varies with the type of surgery. For lumbar surgeries that do not require a fusion you will be able to return to most activities generally within 2 weeks with the exception of heavy lifting or excessive bending at the waist. For lumbar fusions, post operation recovery time is generally around 6 to 8 weeks. For most cervical surgeries the recovery time is again generally about 2 to 3 weeks with the exception of heavy lifting and continuous overhead activity.
  • How long after surgery do I need to keep the dressing on my incision?

    You will be asked to change your dressing on a daily basis after being discharged from the hospital. On the third day, provided you are no longer having any drainage, you may leave the dressing off.
  • Will I have to attend physical therapy after my surgery?

    In many cases, physical therapy is not necessary. This will be determined on a patient by patient basis depending on your recovery process. If you need physical therapy you will usually wait 2 to 3 months to begin it.
  • Is it normal to experience muscle soreness after physical therapy?

    Yes, we have muscles which may become de-conditioned over the years and when we work them it can create additional symptoms.
  • What is the fee to complete disability or family leave forms?

    There is a $25 fee to complete disability forms. We do not charge to complete family leave paperwork. We do ask for a 5 business day turnaround time for the completion of any forms due to the high volume of forms we receive on a daily basis.
  • How long after surgery is it until a patient is tapered off the pain medications or muscle relaxants?

    Every patient’s pain threshold is different. But the standard is 3 weeks from surgery unless the patient is doing exceptionally well, then we would taper them off of the medication much sooner.
  • How soon after surgery can I return to work?

    That depends on several factors, like what type of work you do. If the job is sedentary with no heavy lifting, usually within two to three weeks after surgery you can ease into work starting with half days and moving into full days. But the standard is a wait of six to eight weeks for microdiscectomy, decompressive laminectomy, ACDF, ALIF, and eight to 12 weeks for post cervical lumbar fusions.
  • What are some side effects from taking narcotics?

    The top 2 side effects are sleeplessness and constipation. Other effects may vary, based on the individual.

Spine Surgery

  • Does spine surgery hurt?

    Yes, spine surgery can be painful, but not as painful as you may predict, depending on what type of spine procedure you are need. Also, it is important to remember that most people who opt for a surgical spine procedure are usually already experiencing pain. This may be chronic or acute and usually includes severe upper or lower extremity pain. In fact, if you are having severe nerve pain in your extremity a relatively simple and minimally painful micro surgical procedure can provide instant relief and in terms of pre-op pain, is an easy trade off. If you have a more complex structural problem that requires a larger procedure, such as a lumbar fusion, you can expect more surgical, or incisional pain. Even so, most people can transition from IV to oral pain medications within 24 hours. So, yes, spine surgery is associated with more pain, but pain medication can control post surgical pain. If you have a successful operation your pre-surgical pain can be eliminated, or significantly reduced.
  • Will I feel pain during the surgery?

    No, you will not feel any pain during the surgery. General anesthesia is administered during spine surgery. The "sleep" you experience under general anesthesia is different from regular sleep. The anesthetized brain does not respond to pain signals or surgical manipulations. Therefore, patients do not feel pain during surgery.
  • Will I feel anything during the surgery?

    No, you will not feel anything during surgery. During spine surgery general anesthesia is administered. The "sleep" you experience under general anesthesia is different from regular sleep. The anesthetized brain does not respond to pain signals or surgical manipulations. Therefore patients feel nothing during surgery.

Anesthesia

  • Will anesthesia be used for my surgery?

    Yes, general anesthesia is administered during spine surgery. General anesthesia is a treatment that renders you unconscious during medical procedures, so you do not feel or remember anything that occurs during surgery.
  • I am concerned about the use of anesthesia for my surgery.

    During spine surgery general anesthesia is administered. The "sleep" you experience under general anesthesia is different from regular sleep . The anesthetized brain does not respond to pain signals or surgical manipulations, therefore patients feel nothing during surgery. Although all types of anesthesia involve some risk, and major side effects, complications from anesthesia are uncommon.
  • Will the anesthesia make me sick after surgery?

    General anesthesia is administered during spine surgery. Upon waking from surgery, some patients may experience nausea. Typically, the nausea is mild and easily treated with anti-nausea medications.

Neck Fusion Post Op

  • How long will I stay in the hospital after my operation?

    Length of stay at the hospital varies, depending on the type of surgery you are having. Most cervical spine surgeries are 23 hour observation surgeries. Your hospital stay is generally one night. Lumbar spine surgeries that do not include a fusion are also generally 23 hour observation surgeries, and again your hospital stay is generally one night. For larger lumbar fusions, and for some more complication cervical surgeries the length of hospital stay is generally two nights. For an Epidural Steroid Injection, you will be released on the same day. Your stay will also depend on a patient’s medical history, and if another MD is consulted for additional care.
  • Why does the back of my neck hurt before my surgery?

    There are a wide variety of conditions that can cause your neck to hurt. You may want to contact Dr. Parker's office located at 927 Franklin Street Huntsville, Alabama. You can also contact Dr. Parker's office by calling the TOC general office number at 256-327-7463, or 256-32 SPINE. Dr. Parker also practices at the Madison center located at 8415 Wann Drive, Madison, Alabama.
  • Why does the back of my neck hurt after my surgery?

    If you have had neck fusion surgery, it is not unusual for the muscles holding your head up to spasm and to be weak, causing pain.
  • How do I improve my swallowing?

    After your neck fusion procedure you will need to ice your neck 15-20 minutes at least five times a day. This will help you with your swallowing.
  • How long does pain and swallowing difficulty last?

    After a neck fusion operation you can expect to experience pain and difficulty swallowing for about three weeks.
  • Do I have to wear a collar?

    Yes , after your neck fusion surgery you will need to wear a collar. A soft collar is used for a one level fusion. A hard collar is used for cases that involve two or more levels.
  • When will I have follow up visits with Dr. Parker or a nurse?

    Patients are generally scheduled for post-op visits approximately 7-10 days after surgery. Please call our office at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463) to schedule your post-op appointment.
  • How do I care for my wound?

    When you arrive home, you may remove the surgical dressing if your wound is dry. If there is surgical tape across the wound, leave the tape in place and allow this to come off on its own. As the tape begins to come off, you may remove it. If your wound is not dry and there is drainage from a small area, keep this portion covered with a gauze pad. You may clean this wound with peroxide three times a day if some drainage is noted.
  • How do I know if the wound is infected?

    Observe your wound daily for any signs of possible infection. Look for redness, swelling, and tenderness around the incision. Any increased drainage or change in the color or odor of any previous drainage is also of some concern. If you observe any of these symptoms or begin to run a fever (temperature greater than 102 degrees), please call our office at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463) immediately.
  • When am I ok to shower or bathe?

    If your wound is dry, you may take a shower after the third day following surgery. If you have continued drainage, sponge bathing is recommended. We recommend avoidance of a tub bath, whirlpool, or jacuzzi for a period of up to ten days following surgery. If you have a bone graft taken, this could allow softening of the wound and some water may leak under the skin, possibly contributing to an infection. If you will be home alone, have a shower stool available in case you become tired or lightheaded.
  • When can I remove my brace?

    If a brace was provided while in the hospital, this should be worn at all times for a six week period. It may be removed while sitting in a chair for skin care.
  • What activities can I do after surgery?

    The first six weeks following discharge is a time for rest with intermittent walking. Avoid bending, lifting or any strenuous activity. Do not reach above the level of the shoulders and avoid any activities that may cause you to reach above the level of your shoulders. Riding in the car is allowed as tolerated from a comfort standpoint. Sexual activity is permitted to the comfort level of the individual.
  • General Neck Fusion Information:

    Surgery on the cervical spine often requires mobilization of the esophagus and trachea. It is not uncommon to have difficulty swallowing after this procedure for three to six weeks. During this period, if difficulty swallowing is noted, a soft diet is recommended. It is not uncommon, after cervical spine surgery, to have some residual stiffness and soreness in the neck and in the upper shoulder area. If you notice any significant increase in weakness after surgery, notice any signs of infection or have any concerns about an infection, please contact us immediately at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463). If you run out of medicine before your first post-op visit, you may call the office, and we will refill your medication. This must be done during office hours, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Unfortunately, we cannot refill medication after 5 p.m. on weekdays, weekends or holidays.

Lumbar Fusion Post Op

  • What are my limits after my lumbar fusion surgery?

    If you have had lumbar fusion surgery. For the next 10 days or less, limit yourself to bending or lifting no more than five lbs. After 10 days you should limit your bending and lifting to 20 lbs or less. At the two month mark you can gradually increase activity in bending and lifting.
  • Will I need to go to physical therapy (PT)?

    In many cases, physical therapy is not necessary. This will be determined on a patient by patient basis depending on your recovery process. If you need physical therapy you will usually wait 2-3 months to begin it.
  • Can I take a shower?

    Yes, after surgery you can take a shower, but right after your shower, please pat the incision dry, and cover it.
  • How long until I am healed?

    For adults it takes 3-6 months for bone fusion. It will take up to a full year to be completely healed.
  • How long will I wear a brace?

    For lumbar spine surgeries that do not require fusion, a brace will not be needed. For lumbar fusion surgeries you will be fitted with a back brace prior to your surgery. After your lumbar fusion surgery, you will wear a brace whenever you are active for about 6-8 weeks for support. For most cervical spine surgeries you will be fitted with a soft cervical collar, and in some cases a hard cervical collar after surgery. Do not wear your brace while at rest, or when sitting.
  • When will I have follow up visits with Dr. Parker or a nurse?

    Patients are generally scheduled for post-op visits approximately one week after discharge from the hospital. Routine office visits are usually scheduled one month, three months and six months following surgery.
  • How do I care for my wound?

    When you arrive home, if your wound is dry, you may remove the gauze dressing and leave it off. If the sutures or staples are a source of irritation, simply replacing the gauze should be adequate to keep this area comfortable. If there are any areas of the incision that are draining, keep these areas covered with gauze until the drainage has subsided. What are symptoms that the wound is infected? Observe your wound daily for any signs of possible infection. Look for redness, swelling, and tenderness around the incision. Any increase in drainage or change in the color or odor of any previous drainage is also of some concern. If you observe any of these symptoms or begin to run a fever (temperature greater than 102 degrees), please call our office immediately at 256-32-SPINE (256-327- 7463).
  • When am I ok to shower or bathe?

    If your wound is dry, you may take a shower. If you have continued drainage, sponge bathing is recommended. Avoid a tub bath until the sutures or staples are removed. If you will be home alone, you may need a shower stool in case you become tired or lightheaded.
  • What activities can I do after surgery?

    Avoid bending, heavy lifting, or any strenuous activity involving your back. Do not attempt to lift objects below the level of the knees or reach for objects above the level of the shoulders. When lifting any object, be careful to hold them close to your body and bend at the knees, not the waist. Twisting motion and rotation of the spine are to be avoided at all times. Riding in the car is allowed as tolerated from a comfort standpoint. Sexual activity is permitted after your return home to the comfort level of the individual. The first two months following discharge is a time for frequent rest and minimal activities. After one week at home, a walking exercise program should be started and continued for the first three to six months.
  • What do I do if I run out of medicine before my first post-op visit?

    If you run out of medicine before your first post-op visit, you may call the office at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463) for a refill. This must be done during office hours, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Unfortunately, we cannot refill medication after 5 p.m. on weekdays, weekends, or holidays.

Microdisc Surgery

  • How long is the incision for microdisc surgery?

    For a microdisc surgery the incision will be about two inches or less.
  • When can I go back to work after my microdisc surgery?

    In the case of microdisc surgery, if you have a sedentary job you can usually return to work after your first post operation visit. You will be able to return to work 6-8 weeks after your microdisc surgery if you do any lifting, or manual labor.
  • How much of the disc do you remove?

    In microdisc surgery, only the part of the disc that has herniated or is putting pressure on the nerve is removed.
  • Will I have to spend the night in the hospital?

    That depends upon the time of day the microdisc surgery was completed, how far away you live from the hospital, and the level of pain you have in post operation.
  • Will I be able to return to my normal activities once I have healed or will I be limited?

    Once healed you can do anything you did before the surgery with no limitations.
  • What is the recovery time after having microdiscectomy, decompressive laminectomy, or spinal fusion?

    Microdiscectomy, decompressive laminectomy, or spinal fusion surgeries have 6-8 weeks recovery periods. Cervical and lumbar fusions have 8-12 week recovery periods. For all the above mentioned surgeries, the recovery varies with different patients depending on how long they have lived with their symptoms and other factors.

Epidural

  • How long after having an epidural injection should I expect to feel relief of my symptoms?

    This can vary from one patient to another, but we generally recommend that you allow a full two weeks from the date of your injection to receive the maximum benefit.
  • How long do I have to wait between epidural injections?

    You must wait a minimum of two weeks before scheduling another epidural injection. In most cases, you will only be allowed to have three epidurals in a 12 month period.
  • How long do I have to be off work after having an epidural injection?

    In most cases you will only need to be off work just the day of your injection. You should be able to resume your normal activities the following day.
  • Is it normal for a patient not to receive any relief from an epidural steroid injection?

    Different patients take differently to ESIs. Some may take instantly to them and some may have to proceed with a series of three ESIs in order to get the relief they are trying to obtain conservatively.
  • How many epidural steroid injections can you have in one year?

    Only three ESIs are allowed in a one year period due to the amount of steroids administered in the injection. The risk factor is cardio-vascular.
  • What can I eat or drink before my procedure?

    Do not eat or drink ANYTHING 8 hours prior to the procedure.
  • What should I plan on before my procedure?

    - DO NOT stop taking your blood pressure, insulin, or cardiac (heart) medications. - Plan on spending 2-3 hours at the hospital for registration, your procedure, and post-op observation. - Advise your doctor if you are currently being treated for an infection. - If you are taking "blood thinners", including aspirin, notify your doctor. Example "blood thinners" are: Coumadin, Persantine, Lovenox. - You will need to sign a consent form at the hospital for your injection. - Please advise the nurse at the hospital if you have allergies to any medications. - You will be kept on a gurney for 30 minutes after the procedure for observation. - Ask your doctor when he would like you to resume physical therapy (if applicable) after the injection (usually 3-5 days). - The cortisone used during the block will take 7-10 days to begin working and relieve the inflammation and swelling in your back. - A follow up should be scheduled with your doctor after your injection (usually 2 weeks after the procedure).
  • What are some symptoms I may experience after a block?

    - Increased low back pain for several days - Improvement in your pre-block leg pain may not be noticed for the first 2-3 days, it may be delayed for up to 21 days
  • What can I do help relieve my pain after my block?

    To help relieve your pain during the first 1-2 days after your block, place an ice pack on the injection site for up to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Take your pain medication as needed and resume your anti-inflammatory medication, if previously ordered.
  • Are there any circumstances when I should call the office?

    - If you develop a skin rash - If you develop a fever over 101º - If you are experiencing chills - If you develop severe headaches that disappear when lying flat and occur when standing up or headaches that are accompanied by nausea or vomiting - If you develop large area with redness and warmth to the touch at the injection site

General Post-Op

  • When can I remove the dressing from the wound?

    Your wound will have a dressing which may be removed on the second day after surgery. If the wound is dry, you may leave it off; however, if the wound still has any drainage, you need to keep the dressing on it in order to keep it from staining your clothes.
  • When can I take a shower after surgery?

    You may take a shower on the second day after surgery; however, you should not get in a tub where the wound may soak in water.
  • What activities can I do after surgery?

    Activity should be restricted to that which is tolerated with comfort. You may ride in a car within comfortable limits; however, driving a car is not recommended as long as you are taking pain medication. Limit lifting to less than 15 pounds as much as possible until seen back in the office.
  • What if I have trouble going to the bathroom after surgery?

    You may want to take a stool softener to avoid significant straining.
  • When is my first follow up appointment?

    A follow-up appointment should have been arranged for one week after surgery, if this has not been done, please contact our office.
  • How do I know if the wound is infected?

    If you note any redness around your wound, have any significant drainage which may look like infection, or develop a fever, please contact us at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463).
  • How long do I take the antibiotics after surgery?

    You may be given a prescription for antibiotics after surgery. Take these until all medication is completely gone. If you have an allergic reaction to this medication, please notify our office at 256-32-SPINE (256-327-7463).
  • What happens if I run out of pain medicine?

    You should receive a prescription for pain medication before leaving the hospital. If you run out of pain medication and need a refill, please call our office at 256- 32-SPINE (256-327-7463). Medication cannot be given after office hours, on weekends or holidays.
  • Can I go up and down steps?

    You can use steps without restriction. Our only concern is to avoid falls.

Lumbar Laminectomy

  • What does a Lumbar Laminectomy do?

    A lumbar laminectomy is an operation that is designed to remove the pressure from the nerves of the spinal cord. The most common causes for this are either joints that have enlarged, creating "spurs" which can press on the nerves, or pressure on the nerves from discs that have herniated. Either of these can cause pressure on the nerves and the symptoms may be essentially the same. A lumbar laminectomy is designed to help someone primarily with pain in their legs or feet, or numbness or weakness in the legs or feet.
  • What risks are involved with this procedure?

    The risk of this procedure, as with any operation, can involve essentially anything. The most common complications from this procedure include bleeding, infection, injury to a nerve of the spinal cord which can result in weakness or numbness, loss of bowel or bladder function, and leakage of spinal fluid. There is even a chance that symptoms may not be improved, or if improved, can recur with time; however, this does not make a big impact on problems such as back pain or pain in the buttocks.
  • How long will I stay in the hospital?

    The hospital stay is generally relatively short. Often this may be done on a single day admission or two day stay in the hospital. This procure is performed under general anesthesia. After surgery, the patient is taken to the recovery room for close monitoring, and then to an orthopedic floor for continued convalescence. Antibiotics will be provided for the initial 24 hours after surgery, as well as access to pain medication. Patients are checked very closely for any changes or problems. Generally, the next day or following day after surgery, the patient is able to go home.
  • How do I care for the wound post-op?

    The dressings are generally changed on the second day after surgery. If there is no bleeding or drainage from the wound, the dressing may be left off; however, if drainage continues we recommend keeping the wound covered to avoid staining of clothing. Sometimes antibiotics are continued after discharge from the hospital, but not as a general rule. We do provide muscle relaxants to help with spasms that can occur after this surgery. Pain medication is provided for the initial six weeks after surgery. Sutures are generally removed seven to ten days post operatively, and this is performed in the office. We generally see patients back within the week after discharge from the hospital to check the wound and make sure there are no problems.
  • What activities can I do after surgery?

    We encourage getting up and moving about. Walking is preferred activity and is the best exercise that we can recommend; however, we have no objection to bike riding or utilizing a pool if available. Patients are able to drive when they are not taking pain medication. Patients should not operate an automobile or heavy machinery while taking narcotic medication. Lifting can be performed within the levels permitted by pain. Traveling is permitted as much as the patientʼs comfort will allow. Trips, as a general rule, should be broken up into relatively short segments. Patients generally find they are more comfortable doing this as compared to making an extended trip. Within six weeks to three months after surgery, all limitations are removed. As a general rule, a normal rehab program is not necessary, although it is sometimes utilized.
  • Under what circumstances should I call the office?

    You should notify us if you have any questions or concerns. Particular concerns are: - Temperature over 101 degrees - Excessive drainage from the wound, drainage that resembles puss, or redness at the site of surgery - Development of any significant numbness or weakness - Loss of bowel control or bladder function
  • What are the success rates of this procedure?

    The success rate of lumbar laminectomy is between 80-90% in relieving a significant component of leg pain. Often knees, back and buttock symptoms will resolve after the laminectomy; however, the success rate in removing these complaints is not predictable. The vast majority of patients find this procedure a significant benefit to their overall health and function.
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