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Preparing for spinal fusion surgery

Started by Kimmie-lee on 11/28/2017 1:33pm

Hi, this is the first group I have ever written to, but after reading others questions and the very informative answers, I felt comfortable asking for recommendations.
I am 56 , in very good physical fitness despite the scoliosis. I have had it since a child but after an auto accident 20 years ago when I broke my back , a compression fracture that was unstable, I really did not have back pain until about 7 years ago. It became so bad that I could no longer work. I have been getting facet joint injections and steroid shots. I had a disectomy L4,L5 5 years ago. In the last 2 years my curvecure has become much worse. Causing continuous pain in my back and complete numbness of my left quadricep.
Fast forward, after 4 different opinions all the Drs. Agreed that spinal fusion from T10 thru the complete lumbar is needed and will help not only the pain but my mortality.
Needless to say, I am scared out of my mind. I believe I am prepared for the directly after surgery pain but my question is for after, if it is necessary to hire a private nurse to stay with me in the hospital after I am moved to s regular room. Also if the Dr says I can go home what is the best type of help should I have. I do have family that will be with me at home all the time or should I insist that the Dr. Recommend a rehabilitation center.
And they had ask me to try to gain 20 lbs, which has not been very successful. I have gained about 7lbs . He said that I will lose a lot after. Can someone tell me why? The lack of muscle mass, is it sickness from pain meds?
And sleeping, what is the best way. My incision will be straight down my spine.
I know this is a lot , but anyone that can offer advice from my preparing going in that day thru my actual months post op. What to expect. I will feel much better hearing from actual patients. Thanks in advance to anyone that takes their time.

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Hello, Kimmie-lee--welcome to our Community! We understand your fears about your upcoming spine surgery, but the best way to combat fear is to learn as much as you can about your procedure--so you've come to the right place!
You pose some excellent questions about your upcoming scoliosis surgery and recovery. We hope others who had undergone surgery for scoliosis chime in with their personal experiences.

While we don't have a personal scoliosis surgery story to share, we do have resources that we hope will help you.
These first 2 articles are specific to scoliosis surgery and should help answer some general questions about prep and recovery:
( How to Prepare for Scoliosis Surgery )
( Recovery from Scoliosis Surgery )

These next 2 resources are about spine surgery as a whole and may help position you for you a speedy and healthy recovery:
( Spine Surgery: Questions to Ask Your Doctor )
( 7 Meal Plan Tips for Spine Surgery Recovery )

The duration and ease of your recovery will depend on the type of scoliosis surgery you have, but your surgeon will likely recommend physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility. A key to long-term success after scoliosis surgery is to follow your surgeon’s instructions. So, don't be afraid to ask questions if you’re not clear how to move forward after the procedure.

We hope this information helps, and we wish you the very best with your upcoming procedure!

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Hi, Kimmie-Lee, although I do not have scoliosis, I did have lumbar fusion in April 2017 at L3-L5 and believe I can offer some insights regarding recovery. I did not go to a rehab center after surgery, but had I realized the pain and difficulties doing regular daily activities, I would definitely have chosen to do so.

Some practical points: constipation can be a good bit of trouble, be sure to eat lots of fiber and/or meds and plenty of water. Any straining will be painful. Also get a toilet seat riser, esp. one with “arms” because sitting down and getting up will be very painful at first! Oh, and you will not be able to twist enough to wipe yourself, so get a “tool” to help you reach your backside. You can find it on Amazon - search for “toilet aids”.

Once you’re home, have a few bags of frozen peas handy, they will provide pain relief as they “mold” to your back! Later you will need a heating pad to help relax cramping muscles. Just be careful because you may have some numbness for awhile and not realize your skin is getting too hot.

I found a walker extremely helpful during the first week or two, not just for stability in walking, but also giving a stable base for sitting down and rising from chairs, couch and bed, or the toilet.

As far as sleeping, don’t expect a sound night’s sleep for quite a while. Rest and nap as much as possible regardless of the time of day! Getting into and out of bed was really difficult, so I got an electric recliner chair. It was the only place I could sleep for several weeks! By the way, the chair I picked included a feature to lift you up to a standing position. I did not think I would need it, but it was very, very helpful!!

To help maintain or increase your weight, try something like Ensure Plus. The Plus is extra protein which your body will need for healing! Pain and pain meds will probably decrease your appetite, so have these handy.

Feel free to ask any other questions, I’ll answer those that I can. Best wishes with your surgery!

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To @BonnieRaeThank you so much for that information,, I have made arrangements for a rehabilitation center and a nurse that specializes in this surgery as the incision is going to be large and needs to be watched carefully for infection while healing. I was worried about the sleeping situation. I will definitely. Be on amazon today placing my order for those items.
As the surgery is only 2 days away, I am becoming increasingly nervous and anxious, reading everyone’s different experiences has helped as what to expect in some cases.
I will post something once I am able to do so. Any more information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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