When will I go into hospital for my operation?
Most patients are admitted one or two days before surgery. Some patients may be admitted on the day of surgery. The admission office or secretary will inform you of the exact time to arrive at hospital for your operation, whom to meet and when to stop eating and drinking. Dr Balamurali, Spine & Neuro specialist in Chennai, will normally tell you the date and time of admission during your consultation.
How long will I be in hospital for my surgery?
Following minimally invasive or keyhole spine surgery, many patients go home on 2-3 days after the operation.
Elderly patients, or patients with severe symptoms or with spinal cord or nerve root compression, may remain in hospital for three to five days.
Patients undergoing spine fusion operations may be in hospital for up to seven days.
While there is a trend for early discharge from hospital to relieve the pressure on hospital beds, in most cases following spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery it is important to rest in the first one to two weeks after surgery.
The exact timing of discharge is determined by each patient’s individual circumstances and this is best discussed with Dr G Balamurali directly during your consultation before surgery and 24-48 hours after surgery.
How long should the wound remain covered after surgery?
For 10-14 days after surgery, dressings should be changed every 24-48 hours. Your family member or a nurse can change your dressing. Normally you should not wet the wound for 10-14 days after surgery. You can take a sponge bath or wipe. You can take bath provided if does not wet your operated site. It is important not to leave a dressing that is wet on the wound. The wound should then be allowed to dry before a clean, dry dressing is applied.
How can I return home after surgery?
If you are from within a few hours distance from the hospital you can go in a car. If you have a long distance you can take a train but a comfortable car is also ok. Discuss with the doctor about this. Avoid public transport for your first return.
If you are travelling long distance an Ambulance, Train or Flight is preferred depending on your affordability and distance.
Either way you must get home so you have to travel and travelling will not cause any harm. You just have to select a good road, patient driver and DO NOT RUSH. Take a slow and careful trip. Most important do not sleep in the back seat of your vehicle when you are travelling as this is dangerous during an accident. You can recline your seat and sit with a seat belt on. Safety first. It will be painful after your travel home and remember to ask for painkillers before you start your trip or even have a pain injection.
When can I drive after surgery?
It is advisable to avoid driving for four weeks after your operation.
When will I be seen for follow up?
All patients are generally seen for follow up 4 – 6 weeks after surgery. Patients with instrumentation or spine fusions should have an x-ray on arrival.
What exercises should I do in the first six weeks?
You do not have to stay in bed all the time. Generally, walking, in increasing increments, to reach a goal distance of half kilometer per day is all that is required for the first six weeks. Stationary cycling, walking in a treadmill is fine from two to six weeks after surgery. You can recommence not to do anything unusual without discussing with Dr G Balamurali.
Specific exercises programs will be taught after 6 weeks follow up. Avoid strenuous exercise such as swimming, weight training, cycling and running until you visit Dr Balamurali.
Do I need to wear brace or collar after surgery?
No. It is unusual to require collars or other prosthetic supports following surgery in MY PRACTICE. If you were previously wearing one, you do not have to wear it again. I prefer you to be slightly mobile and not tied down. Very rarely will I give you a collar or lumbar belt/brace when I have concerns about healing.
What should I do if I have a fluid leak, discharge from wound or if the wound is not healing?
If there is a clear leak of fluid this may be VERY SERIOUS and you are expected to seek medical help immediately or come to the hospital. This can be a fluid from inside your spinal cord called CSF (Cerebro Spinal Fluid). If there is a wound infection or wound opening then you must see a local doctor if you are far away or come to hospital. Any doubts please call Dr Balamurali’s team immediately on 08012525254.
Will I need to take analgesic medication?
A small amount of local wound pain is normal after surgery. You will have the pain for a few weeks and until then you can take the pain killers prescribed to you by the doctors. When you feel that your pain is under control you can stop the medication or ring the help line 08012525254. Your pain should decrease over a period of time but if it increases you must seek help with the hospital or call us on 08012525254. If you are worried just come to the hospital.