Before Your Spine Surgery
One Month Before Surgery
Get a Physical
You must have a physical 30 days before your surgery. Talk to your surgeon or their nursing staff about what the physical should include (e.g., blood tests, chest X-rays).
Prepare for Surgery and Discharge
It is very important that you select a family member or friend as a coach or care partner well before your surgery.
The coach/partner will offer:
- Support and help decrease any anxiety
- Help you with exercises
- Attend classes and therapy sessions when recommended for you
- Help you prepare for going home
- Transportation from the hospital to home
- You cannot drive yourself home
- Avoid low sports cars and higher vehicles like trucks for the drive home
- In-home support during the first week or longer if necessary
- Most patients can expect to go home after surgery
Consult with your physician or physical therapist about exercise before surgery.
If you are already getting physical therapy, continue to exercise as recommended.
It is very important that you get proper nutrition in the month before surgery.
High Protein Foods
Aim to eat 1 serving of high protein food 3-4 times a day.
- High protein foods include chicken, fish, beef, pork, tofu/tempeh, dairy, eggs, and beans/lentils
- 1 serving of meat, fish, or tofu/tempeh is 3 oz or roughly the size of a deck of cards
- 1 serving of beans or lentils is ½ cup, or the size of a tennis ball
- 1 serving of eggs is 2 eggs
- 1 serving of dairy*
- 8 oz of milk or yogurt
- 1 oz of cheese, or the size of Tic Tac box
*Note: almond, coconut and oat milk are not good sources of protein.
If you cannot eat enough protein, you may need to drink a protein drink.
- Look for one with 20 grams of protein per serving
- If you have diabetes, look for one low in added sugars
- Premier protein, Ensure Max, and Boost max are all good options
- Glucerna may not give you enough protein
- Protein powders and ready-to-drink shakes are both fine. Unflavored protein powder can be mixed into beverages, broths and soups, or soft foods like mashed potatoes or yogurt.
Tell your doctor if you're eating less than normal, if you're having trouble eating, if you're losing weight without trying or if you're having a hard time following these instructions.
Five Days Before Surgery
You should not shave around the area of your surgery at least 2 days prior to surgery. Shaving can nick your skin that can cause an infection.
A common germ can be found on the skin and other warm, moist areas of all people (Staphylococcus) but usually does not cause problems. This germ is one of the leading causes of infections after many surgeries.
You will need to do nasal cleaning in the morning and evening for 5 days before your surgery.
How to use your nasal cleaning product (Mupirocin ointment 2%):
- You should be given a tube(s) of Mupirocin (Bactroban) from your doctor or receive a prescription for it.
- If you receive 10 individual small tubes of ointment, put half of the ointment from the tube into one nostril and the other half into the other nostril.
- You will need to apply it to both nostrils.
- Place a small amount of ointment on a Q-tip and put on the inside front part of each nostril.
- Gently press your nostrils together and release several times (for about a minute) to spread the ointment through your nostrils.
The Day Before Your Surgery
The day before your surgery, you will not be able to shower or take a bath. Instead, you will wash with Chlorhexidine (CHG), a germ killing treatment that will clean your skin.
Your doctor will prescribe a CHG in one of these forms:
- Disposable washcloths (use instructions on package)
- Liquid soap (see attached instructions)
Do not use this product on your face around your eyes, mouth or ears.
You should clean your skin using the product prescribed 3 times:
- The morning before your surgery
- The evening before your surgery
- The morning of your surgery