Discharge Instructions for Microendoscopic Discectomy

Peer Reviewed

These discharge instructions are printed with permission from Todd J. Albert, M.D. of the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University. Discharge instructions and recommendations may vary per institution, be sure to ask your doctor.

Doctor Consulting with PatientCongratulations! You have undergone, or are soon to undergo, a new, "minimally invasive" technique of spine/disc surgery called microendoscopic discectomy. Because this technique is much less invasive than other surgical techniques, you will have much less pain than usual, a shorter hospital stay (most patients go home within 4 - 5 hours of surgery), require much less pain medicine, and return to your normal activities much faster than usual.

However, although this technique has all these benefits, it is still a major surgical procedure, and certain precautions should be followed before and after your surgery. The list below is intended to help you understand what you should and should not do before and after surgery.

Before Surgery

1) Stop taking all aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. Advil, Naproxsyn, Relafen, etc.) one week before surgery.

2) Shower the night before surgery.

3) Do not eat after midnight, the night before surgery.

4) If you have any questions about other medications, ask your doctor.

After Surgery

1) Use your prescribed pain medication, muscle relaxers, and laxatives as directed.

2) You have NO stitches to remove. Small bandages ("steri-strips") are on your incision. As these begin to peel off, they can be removed.

3) Do not soak in a bathtub for one week after surgery. You can shower after 4 days.

4) Do not do any heavy lifting for 2 weeks (i.e. nothing heavier than a carton of milk). After that you can gradually increase your lifting to normal. Most patients can return to completely normal activities in about 3 weeks. Walking is encouraged and bending can be done as tolerated.

5) Schedule a return clinic visit for approximately 6 weeks after surgery.

6) Watch for signs of fever, chills, warmth, redness, or drainage from your incision. A slight amount is normal for a day or two following surgery.

Updated on: 02/23/17
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The above "instructions" are general guidelines used to educate patients after certain spinal procedures. Although these specifically relate to the patients at Thomas Jefferson University, they remain useful to our SpineUniverse audience and serve as examples as to what one might expect at other institutions. Please discuss these issues and topics with your treating surgeon as the instructions may vary considerably.
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