All the back surgery performed at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) is same day back surgery. That means you have the procedure as an outpatient — you arrive in the morning, have the operation and return home that evening. Most doctors agree that recuperating in your own home helps you heal quicker, as long as you follow your back surgeon’s instructions.
And you’ll need help getting from the SSI campus to your home and again once you’re home. Arrange to have friends, family or a nurse’s aid available at your home at least during the first week after your same day back surgery. You may need help getting out of bed, support while you walk around, a smiling face to clean up and a good cook to prepare your meals.
The First Week After Surgery
Rule number one is to follow your doctor’s instructions! When you’re recuperating from same day back surgery, especially during that first week, you must:
- Keep your incision clean so it can heal properly
- Get enough rest, which shouldn’t be a problem
- Eat nutritious, high-fiber meals, not fast food
- Drink plenty of water
- Get up out of bed at least a couple times a day to walk
You’ll probably be taking oral pain medication, so the more help you can get, the better. You may appreciate visitors too since you’ll be confined to your house. To ensure everything runs smoothly, however, the time to arrange all this support is well before your same day back surgery.
Practical In-Home Adjustments
Since your mobility after surgery will be limited, make it easier on yourself by planning for your recovery. Here are some ways you can prepare your home to accommodate your recovery:
- Prepare meals in advance and then freeze them. Even if you have someone available to cook and clean, these meals make it easier and ensure that you eat food you like.
- Keep a heating pad and ice wrap handy or available. You may need both during your recovery.
- Purchase laxatives to keep in your medicine cabinet because constipation following surgery is common.
- Organize the multiple pills you may have to take — such as pain pills, vitamins and other medication — making sure they are easily identifiable. Don’t make mistakes with medication.
- Install a toilet riser, a higher seat, to help you sit and get back up.
- Place a plastic chair in the shower. Your doctor may tell you not to take a bath, but standing in a shower can be painful.
- Rent, borrow or buy a walker or a cane to help you get around when you first get home. Keep one next to your bed.
Since you’ll be bed-bound for the most part, consider what you’ll need within reach:
- The TV remote
- Plenty of good reading material or puzzle books
- A back scratcher
- A tablet for email, games, music and Facebook
- A cell phone in case you have to call your doctor or want to talk to a friend
- Extra pillows
Recovering from Same Day Back Surgery
Even though you’re at home, it’s important to keep your spirits up. A positive attitude helps you heal faster. That’s why you should have people visit. Your friends and family won’t care if you’re not wearing makeup or fancy clothes; they want to see you get better. Social interaction keeps you from going stir crazy, especially if you’re like many people who prefer to stay busy.
The last bit of advice is the same as the first: follow your doctor’s instructions. You’ll have to return to SSI for a follow-up exam and eventually start physical therapy. Just remember that your recuperation from same day back surgery may take months before you’re 100 percent. Give yourself the time to heal as you work toward that goal.