Post Operative Care

Going Home

When arranging for transportation home, you will need to be accompanied by another adult. Make sure you use a car that is easy to get in and out of. Your first post operative appointment should be approximately 2 weeks following surgery. You should have been given the date for this appointment in your pre-operative packet.

Tips After Surgery

In the days and weeks following surgery, it is important to remember that you will need to make some modifications to your normal daily routine. Here are a few tips:
  • Check temperature twice a day and call our office if it is above 100 degrees. If it is after hours, please go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Keep your wound clean and dry. In most cases, you may shower upon returning home from the hospital. However, avoid letting the water run directly on your wound for the first 5 days. If you do not have a plastic dressing over the incision, you can cover the wound by taping a plastic baggie around the wound area. If the wound area becomes wet, gently pat dry.
  • After 5 days you may get the suture line wet when showering. Pat dry gently. Bathing in a tub or swimming in a pool or ocean is not permitted until your wound is completely healed (about one month).
  • Despite great care, any incision can become infected. If you notice green discharge, foul odor, extreme swelling, redness or heat around the wound, please call your physician immediately.
  • Get a good night sleep: avoid sleeping too long during the day.
  • Avoid prolonged standing, prolonged sitting and prolonged lying down (30 minutes at a time). The best position and probably the most comfortable would be reclining.
  • Walking a minimum of 30 minutes each day or as tolerated after surgery is encouraged. This can be divided into shorter time periods if necessary. There is no maximum limit to the amount of time you can walk. Make sure you have safety devices if needed, such as a walker or a cane.
  • You will experience some degree of discomfort after spinal surgery, which will vary from individual to individual. You will receive a prescription for pain medicine in your pre-operative folder.
  • Cramping, burning and muscle spasms are common during the post surgical period. Contact our office if you are experiencing the following: intractable pain, severe numbness, limb discoloration, and bowel or bladder dysfunction. If it is after hours, please go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Outpatient physical therapy, if prescribed by Dr. Orisek or Phil Lanum, will not begin until approximately 2 – 6 weeks following surgery. Only some patients require structured physical therapy programs.
  • You may resume driving when you feel comfortable driving and you are no longer taking medicines that affect your reaction time and alertness.

Follow-Up Visits After Surgery

Every patient who has surgery needs to come back to the office for a follow-up visit 2 weeks after surgery 6 weeks after surgery, and again at 3 months after surgery. You may have to come back for follow-up appointments for up to a year after surgery, depending on the circumstances. When you come for follow-up, we will ask you to fill out a follow up assessment. Please take the time to fill these out. Your answers are used for monitoring of your health and quality assurance. You may also fill out the questionnaires at home before your visit and bring them to us. Click on the link to download the Follow-Up Assessment Form.

You may have been given an H-Wave device and/or a bone growth stimulator at your first follow up appointment. Please see the Resources page for more information about these devices.

Contact  Information

If you have an emergency and you need to reach our offices after the office has closed for the day, you can call 916-423-6894. You will reach our answering service. They will forward a message to Dr. Orisek.
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