Here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, we take extra care in answering our patients’ surgical questions, both before and after surgery. Since our entire staff’s only focus is the spine, our team is very familiar with common spine surgery questions.
Below are a few of the most common spine surgery questions our team fields prior to surgery.
How long do I have to wear my back brace or neck collar?
Generally, patients should wear their back brace continuously except while showering and sleeping. With neck collars, the general rule of thumb is to wear it 24/7 except when showering. Of course, each case is different and both back braces and neck collars should be worn according to the directions provided by your surgeon.
Patients generally wear the back brace or neck collar until they go in for their follow-up appointment six weeks after surgery. There, your surgeon will note your progress and instruct you on how to continue.
Will I have staples or stitches in my back?
Typically, the surgeon will stitch you up underneath the skin with dissolvable stitches so there’s no need to visit your doctor to have stitches or staples removed. Prior to leaving the hospital, you will receive a waterproof bandage to cover the incision for at least a week after surgery. After that time period, you can have a family member or friend remove the bandage and leave the incision uncovered.
Can I shower when I go home?
Yes. You will shower at least once, if not twice, in the hospital prior to discharge. With the waterproof bandage we discussed above, you can shower as normal since the bandage will already be protecting the incision.
Can I climb stairs when I go home?
Yes. It may vary depending on your unique situation, but generally we advise patients to limit the number of times they go up and down stairs to once or twice a day, especially in the beginning. When taking the stairs, it’s important to go slow and steady, taking one step at a time, and to use the handrail.
It should be noted that while the answers to the common spine surgery questions listed above apply to the majority of cases, for information regarding your specific case, please seek professional medical advice.