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Lumbar Fusion Post Operation Instructions

Although fusion techniques differ, the goal remains the same: to stabilize the spine, reducing pain down the legs and/or lower back. This is done by making room for the nerve so the nerve is not rubbed, and by placing material to eventually “fuse” (meaning grow bone from one bone to the next, so there is no longer a joint that can move) the bones to stabilize the spine and, hopefully, keep you pain-free.

As the bone heals from one bone to the next, just like how a cast would be used to splint a broken arm, a cast or support system is needed here too. To accomplish this, a framework of screws and rods are used to support and provide a stable environment to promote bone healing.
It takes roughly a year for a fusion to solidify, due to this please remember to follow your restrictions and use common sense.

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Back Pain

Back pain is expected after surgery, typically in the lower back and can seem to radiate into the hips. This is normal post-operative pain.

Leg Pain

It is common to experience temporary increased, or the same level of intensity, pain down one or both of your legs. This can be due to us “cleaning off” your nerves, swelling, or just remnants of nerve irritation from prior to surgery. Please inform us however, if your pain is gradually worsening.

Appointments

Please see your primary care physician one week after surgery to have the incision examined. We would like to see you at Inspired Spine facility one month after surgery. These appointments are occasionally made for you prior to discharge from the hospital by the nursing staff. Please ask the nursing staff or contact our office to confirm these appointments. You should have plain X-rays whenever you come back to clinic for visits.

The medications may not last until your one-month follow up appointment. Please have your pharmacy send us a refill request to our fax (fax # 320-200-7478). If the pharmacy is unwilling to send a fax, please give us a call. Many medications are monitored; it will speed up the process if we get the request from your pharmacy. Due to this monitoring, please allow ample time for medication requests such as these (narcotics) to be received, reviewed, and mailed to your pharmacy. Since many substances are controlled prescriptions, please expect drug-screening at random intervals.

Incision Care

Depending on the type of surgery, you may have staples, sutures, steri-strips, or likely a combination of these to help close your incision post operatively. Steri-strips are small stickers placed over the wound; please allow these to remain in place until they fall off on their own. Staples should be taken out within 2 weeks post op either with your primary care doctor or at our facility.

Often a tan bandage is placed over the incision site after surgery. This is left on for 6 or 7 days, then should be removed. After, gauze or bandages are usually not necessary. We ask that you leave the site open to air unless you find that there is increased sweat or moisture in the area, and then please apply an antibiotic ointment and dressing 2 times per day until the environment is not moist or the 3 weeks have passed since surgery. Please remember that dark and moist areas promote bacterial growth.

To learn more, please call Inspired Spine at (952) 225-5266