Microsoft word - acdf postop instructions- april 2011.doc

105 W 8th Avenue, Suite 200 Spokane, Washington 99204 Phone: 509.624.9112 Fax: 509.624.1087 Web: POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS

The following instructions are offered to answer most of your questions and to give instructions on the care
of your neck once you have been discharged from the hospital. If there are further questions which are not
answered here, please do not hesitate to ask them either before you leave the hospital or by calling our
Your recovery begins as soon as you leave the operating room. You will stay in the hospital for
approximately 24-48 hours and the staff will be helping you plan for your continued recovery at home.
The list below is intended to help you understand what you should and should not do before and after

• Stop taking all aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Aleve, Naprosyn, Celebrex, etc.) 7 days prior to surgery. Tylenol and most narcotic medications are okay. If you are not sure if a medication contains aspirin or is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, please contact our office. Dietary and herbal supplements may also need to be discontinued. • Shower and shampoo your hair the night before or morning of surgery. • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. You may take your regular medications with a sip of water. If your surgery is scheduled late in the day, the timing may differ slightly. Chewing gum and smoking should also be avoided. • If you have any questions about other medications, ask us prior to your surgery. If you have an appointment with the anesthesiologist prior to surgery, you may ask him.
• If you underwent a fusion involving a single disc, you may be given a soft cervical collar to wear postoperatively. It should be worn at all times. Some patients will be given firm or hard collars. Instructions regarding the use of such collars will be provided on an individual basis. • Your dressing will be removed before you leave the hospital. You will not have sutures. You will have small adhesive strips (Steri-Strips) over your incision. These will come off several days after your surgery. You will need to have your incision checked 7-10 days after your procedure. An Jeffrey S. Hirschauer, M.D. | Dean Martz, M.D. | David P. Gruber, M.D. | Benjamin C. Ling, M.D. Jonathan D. Carlson, M.D., Ph.D. | William L. Weigel, M.D. | William E. Bronson, M.D. | Neelwant Sandhu, M.D. appointment for this will be scheduled for you prior to surgery. Six-week and three-month postoperative appointments will also be scheduled. You may have an x-ray of your neck taken just before each of these appointments. • You may shower after the bandages are removed. Do not soak in a tub. The incision should be cleaned gently using regular soap and water. Do not use heavily perfumed soaps. Rub gently. Do not use lotions or powder. • Check your incision each day. If you notice any of the following, call our office immediately: o Any drainage from the incision (clear, yellow/green, or bloody) o Increased redness, swelling, and/or tenderness o Opening of the incision o Flu-like symptoms o Temperature over 101.5° • Do not do any heavy lifting; nothing heavier than a coffee cup for the first few days and nothing heavier than five to eight pounds until after your six-week postoperative visit. After that you will be given instructions to gradually increase your lifting to normal. • Do walk as much as possible. Do not run. Stairs are okay. Avoid activities that involve repetitive bending or twisting. Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. • Resume your regular diet as tolerated. It is normal to have a sore throat and some difficulty swallowing solid foods. This may persist for several weeks. Eating soft foods may help. Increase the amount of water and fiber in your diet to decrease the risk of constipation. • You may sleep in any position which makes you comfortable. Many people find it more comfortable sleeping in a reclining chair. It is not abnormal to have difficulty sleeping after your surgery. You may try taking Benadryl (this is available over the counter at the pharmacy). • You should not drive for approximately two weeks after your surgery, or until you feel safe and capable. You should also avoid driving if you are taking pain medication or muscle relaxers. You may be a passenger for short distances (20-30 minutes). If you must travel for a longer period, be sure to stop every 30-45 minutes so that you can stretch your legs. Reclining the passenger seat is okay. • Use your prescribed pain medication, muscle relaxers, and stool softener as directed. Please be aware that prescriptions for adequate pain medications will be given on discharge from the hospital.
Medications are not refilled after office hours or on weekends. If you think you will run out,
please contact your pharmacy before noon on Friday.
• Do not take any anti-inflammatory medications for a minimum of six weeks after surgery. This increases the risk of your fusion failing. If you feel you no longer need your prescription pain medication, you may take Tylenol.



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