All patients are required to have pre-admission testing (PAT) before surgery to assess if you are medically fit to tolerate the surgical procedure. This will be scheduled with a General Medical Consultants physician. General Medical Consultants is located directly across from the JIS Orthopedics New Albany office. In some cases, your insurance may require pre-admission testing be done by your primary care physician. Pre-admission testing will include a history and physical, routine blood work, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and chest x-ray. In some instances, other testing may be ordered. For example, if you have a history of heart disease, a stress test may be ordered. These physicians may also coordinate any other consultations with medical specialists if they believe it is necessary for appropriate surgical optimization.
At the time of your preadmission testing the doctor will review the medications you take routinely. You will be advised of any medications that you need to stop before surgery, such as anti-inflammatory pills. You will also be told which medications you may take the morning of surgery. Specific instructions will be given regarding blood thinning medications, and how far before surgery to discontinue.
Depending upon the procedure, your insurance coverage, and your health status, there is a good chance your procedure can done as an outpatient, allowing you to come in and go home the same day. Some patients will require a hospital stay, and the average length of that stay is 1-2 days. Length of stay is determined by activity progress, medical progress, and wound condition. Insurance authorizations are frequently required and your surgeon’s office will take care of this for you. If additional days are needed, a hospital representative will contact your insurance company to provide medical information to obtain additional authorized days.
The hospital or center will call you the afternoon (1 business day) before your surgery and tell you what time to arrive. Once you arrive to the hospital or surgery center you will go through the admission process, change into hospital/surgery center clothing, meet the anesthesiologist, and meet hospital or center staff who will be caring for you. Specific surgery times are not given. Typically, you can expect to undergo your surgery within a few hours of the arrival time. Occasionally situations occur which may result in a delay. You are to eat nothing by mouth (NPO) from midnight on the day of your surgery. In cases where you have been instructed to take medications the morning of surgery, you should do so with a sip of water as necessary.
On the day of your surgery, please be sure to bring your photo identification. Also, you should not bring any valuable items. Please bring any medical equipment that has been dispensed for you to use during your recovery such as back brace, or walker.
Questions and concerns will be addressed at the time of your visit with the surgeon. Other opportunities to ask questions include at the time of your pre-admission testing when you will meet with an internal medicine physician and a licensed physical therapist. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to call the JIS Orthopedics office.
Surgeries are performed using general, epidural, spinal, or nerve block anesthesia, or a combination of these. In some cases, the medical physician or anesthesiologist will have specific recommendations. The anesthesiologist will meet with you the day of surgery to discuss these options. At that time, feel free to voice any questions.
The time it takes to complete a Spine surgery depends on your procedure. Minor surgeries can take one hour. More complex surgeries can take several hours.
Following your procedure, the surgeon will visit the waiting area to speak with your family members.
After surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) where you will be monitored closely for one to three hours. You will then be taken to your private recovery room or hospital room where you will be reunited with your family. Your nurse will perform assessments frequently until you are ready to leave the hospital or surgery center. Pain medication will be administered. You will have an intravenous line (IV) and pumps on both calves that will intermittently pump – keeping blood circulating and helping prevent blood clots. Some patients will have a heart monitor. Your surgeon strongly recommends that you take the portable calf pumps home with you as they are the safest and most effective way of preventing blood clots. You will be instructed to perform several exercises every hour including: deep breathing, ankle pumps, quad sets, and a buttock squeeze.
Wound dressings can typically be removed after 48 hours. After it is removed you will be able to leave your dressing off or open to air. You will also begin to cleanse your incision daily with soap and water. Continue to monitor for signs of infection. You will be given additional discharge instructions that include your activity, restrictions, wound care, and potential post-operative issues and what actions to take.
Support stockings are used for all surgeries and are helpful in reducing leg swelling after surgery. These stockings are also helpful in acting as a skin barrier for the leg pumps. However, these stockings are NOT mandatory and can be removed or used as needed after the second postoperative day.
Your incision may be closed several ways depending on multiple factors including the type of surgery and health of the skin. The incision may be closed with absorbable suture under the skin covered with a steri-strip. Otherwise, your incision may be closed with the more traditional method of skin staples, which will be removed at JIS Orthopedics two weeks after your surgery.
Not everyone will require physical therapy. This will be evaluated at your follow up appointment after surgery.
At the surgery center, the surgeon will be present throughout the day and monitoring your progress towards going home. At the hospital, the surgeon and orthopedic team make rounds each morning whenever possible. If your surgeon is not available you will be seen by his associate.
As an outpatient, you will be able to return home the same day as your procedure. We do have the ability to keep you overnight at the surgery center, should the need arise. From the hospital, you will usually be discharged to home once your physician determines that therapy goals of independence and safety have been met. It is important for most people that you have family or friends with you for several days to two weeks.
In situations where goals have not been met, or if you live alone and there are problems with independence and safety, additional physical therapy and rehabilitation may be needed before you can go home. Case managers from the hospital or the administrator of the surgery center will help arrange for rehabilitation if this is necessary. Patient choice, availability, and insurance criteria impact approval for these rehabilitation centers and transfer issues if needed.
Individual ability and endurance will differ between patients. Activities such as swimming, bike riding, golf, hiking, and low impact sport activities can be resumed somewhere between 6 and 12 weeks. Discuss any specific activity questions with your surgeon directly to find out how to better protect your spine by strengthening your core.