Lumbar Surgery Post Operative Instructions

After lumbar surgery of any kind it is very important for the patient to return back to
a normal level of activity. We encourage you to get out and walk as much as
possible. We like to see patients actively walking outside for 30 minutes a day at a
minimum. As the healing process continues the duration of time should also
increase. After any lumbar surgery a patient is expected to have lumbar back pain
however with activity that will improve. We encourage patients to avoid bending
forward at the waist and to use proper body mechanics when lifting any objects
using the knees to squat down, lift the object, and then carry it close to the body.
After lumbar surgery we limit lifting to 10 pounds the first week. Once you have
been re evaluated in the office the lifting limit will increase to 20 pounds.

Post operatively the patients will wake up in the recovery room. You are usually
there for about 45 minutes to an hour. At that point you will be moved either to our
same day area or to the floor where the staff will get you up and moving. With
most lumbar procedures once you are active and your pain is controlled you be
discharged to home.

Most patients will have a dressing on their back. We ask that the dressing be
changed on a daily basis for 5 days. If any drainage persists please contact the

We allow patients to start showering the day after surgery. It is fine for water to run
over the incision area. For patients who have a lumbar drain in place we advise
you to keep that area dry when showering. Once the drain is removed you can
resume showering as normal.

If a lumbar fusion is performed you will be fitted with a lumbar back brace to wear
post operatively. We advise patients to wear the brace when up and active and when
walking more than 5 minutes. You do not have to wear the brace in the car, while
sitting or while laying down. Some patients will find comfort wearing the brace when
in a sitting position and that is acceptable.

You will be prescribed pain medication to take post operatively as well as a muscle
relaxant medication that we advise you to take at night to help with rest.
Most patients have a difficult time finding a position of comfort after back surgery
when trying to lay down to rest. We allow you to lay on your side or back while
sleeping but we do ask you to avoid sleeping on your stomach. Some patients
prefer to sleep in a recliner post operatively and that is acceptable until they can lay
flat in the bed.

Patients are allowed to gently twist and turn post operatively. This will not harm
you as far as the surgical procedure.

You will be able to drive once you are off pain medication and feel that you have good
control of your lower extremities.

You will follow-up in the office typically between 7 and 10 days post operatively. Any
post operative x-rays will be explained to you and the surgery will be reviewed in
detail. We will always be happy to answer any questions in the post operative

We typically will send you home from the hospital with 2 different medications. A
muscle relaxer which you will take a night before you go to bed to help with rest. We also
will prescribe post operative pain medication and will go over the dosing of that
medication with you while in the hospital. You are advised to drink plenty of

We will typically go over all these instructions with you in the hospital both before
and after surgery. We will be happy to answer any of your questions. If you have
any issues in the post operative phase call the main office phone number and one of
our staff will return your call and answer any questions.