What To Do At Home
When Should You Call Your Doctor?
- Your staples will be removed in about 10 to 14 days after surgery. Call your doctor for any of the following problems:
- Sudden severe pain in your back or leg that pain medication does not control or that continues for several hours.
- Inability to move your leg as well as when you left the hospital.
- Bright redness, warmth or swelling in your incision line.
- Fever over 101°F or chills.
- Bleeding from the incisional area.
- Drainage from the incisional area.
- Pain, swelling or redness in the lower part of your legs.
- Problems breathing - call 911.
- Chest pain - call 911.
- For any other problems not listed above, call your medical doctor.
It is very important when you get home to keep walking. You will gradually regain your strength and endurance over time. You may start outpatient therapy on week four, beginning with aqua therapy, followed by land therapy.
Home Safety - After Discharge
- Never stand up quickly to answer the telephone. Callers can wait for several rings. If possible, place a telephone near your chair or bed.
- Do not lift heavy objects.
- Try to keep pets away from you during walking and exercise activity.
- Wear footwear that fits well and has a nonskid sole, such as sneakers. Shoes that close with Velcro® and have a flat heel are recommended. Women should avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.
- In winter, have all sidewalk and driveway surfaces maintained in a dry condition, clear of ice and snow.
- Sit in chairs and sofas at a height to permit easy sitting and standing. Do not sit in recliner chairs.
- Do not take tub baths. When you shower, cover your dressing with a waterproof covering until instructed by your physician to remove the dressing.
- DO NOT DRIVE until it is approved by your doctor.
Just before leaving the hospital, your doctor will write a pain medication prescription for you to get filled at your own pharmacy. If any of your personal medications are with the nurses or stored at the hospital, make sure you get them back at this time.
Surgical Site Care
Check the surgical site daily for signs of wound infection.
Symptoms of a wound infection include:
- increased redness
- increase in swelling
- increase in pain
- any drainage
- oral temperature greater than 101º
If any of the above symptoms occur, please notify your surgeon.
Do not wear tight fitting clothes over your incision.
Take your pain medication as prescribed by your physician.
Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking pain medication.
Take your pain medication before the pain becomes severe.
Increase your water intake -- drink at least 8 glasses per day.
Try adding fiber to your diet by eating fruits, vegetables and grains.
Take an over-the-counter stool softener/laxative: colace, senokot, or milk of magnesia.
Schedule a follow-up appointment with your orthopedic surgeon / neurosurgeon.
Your surgeon will let you know when you may shower, usually after the staples have been removed.
Please keep your surgical incision dry at all times.
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