Recovery After Laminectomy

What happens after a Laminectomy?

When you wake up after surgery, your doctor will probably ask you to get up and walk around a bit (unless you had a spinal fusion). You’ll probably stay in the hospital for 1–4 days, but this procedure can sometimes be done on an outpatient basis.

During the next few weeks, a person should get plenty of rest and avoid:

. Bending over or twisting the spine

. Driving or operating heavy machinery

. Lifting, pulling, or pushing heavy objects

. Engaging in any strenuous exercise

While you’re recovering, you should:

. Be careful when climbing stairs

. Gradually increase your activities, such as walking

. Schedule and go to all follow-up appointments

During the recovery process, a person should remember to take any prescription medication as their doctor indicates.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy after a laminectomy to improve your strength and flexibility.

A doctor or nurse will explain how to take care of the incision while it heals. Following these care tips can help the incision heal faster and prevent infections.

While showering, you shouldn’t scrub over the incision site. Don’t apply any lotions or creams near the incision. Avoid bathtubs, hot tubs, and swimming pools until your doctor says otherwise. These can all increase your risk of infection.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to take care of your wound.

Read more about : Laminectomy complications

Read more about : Lumbar laminectomy post op positioning

Read more about : Laminectomy discectomy success rate

Recovery time

Recovery will depend on a person’s fitness and activity levels before the surgery.

It usually takes around 4–6 weeks for a person to return to their normal level of mobility and function. However, this will depend on the severity of the condition and symptoms before the operation.

It may take up to 6 weeks for the general pain and tiredness following surgery to disappear completely.

Most people will feel ready to drive around 2–4 weeks after the operation. Many people are able to return to work after 4–6 weeks. However, if a person’s job involves a lot of driving, lifting heavy items, or engaging in other strenuous activities, they may need to be off work for up to 12 weeks.

How can you care for yourself at home?

. Activity

. Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.

. Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation. Walking may also decrease your muscle soreness after surgery.

. If advised by your doctor, you may need to avoid lifting anything that would cause excessive strain on your back. This may include a child, heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, or a vacuum cleaner.

. Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay.

. Do not drive for 2 to 4 weeks after your surgery or until your doctor says it is okay.

. Avoid riding in a car for more than 30 minutes at a time for 2 to 4 weeks after surgery. If you must ride in a car for a longer distance, stop often to walk and stretch your legs.

. Try to change your position about every 30 minutes while sitting or standing. This will help decrease your back pain while you are healing.

. You will probably need to take 4 to 6 weeks off from work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.

. You may have sex as soon as you feel able, but avoid positions that put stress on your back or cause pain.

. Activity modification

It is advised to modify daily activities to reduce the risk of injuring the treated segments of the spine. A grabber tool or reaching aid may be used to pick things up from the floor and/or a long-handled bath brush may be used to avoid bending while taking a shower.

. Diet

. You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

. Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).

. You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. You may want to take a fibre supplement every day. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.

. Pain management

Pain management includes the use of medications as well as limiting and modifying activities to prevent excessive pain. Medications may include:

. Pain-relieving medications. Pain-relieving medication such as opioids may be given for a few weeks to manage post-surgical pain. These medications are advised to be used for short-term with gradual tapering of dosage to prevent addiction. It is important to note that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are not advised after a laminectomy surgery because these may delay bone healing.

. Stool-softeners. Stool-softeners may be required in the initial weeks after surgery to prevent constipation from stress, fear of pain, and medications (such as opioids). Stool softeners allow easy passage of bowels without excessive straining.

. Medicines

. Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.

. If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if and when to start taking it again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

. Incision care

. It is advised to avoid activities such as bathing, swimming, and hot-tubs until the incision site has completely healed. Proper care of the incision can prevent rupture of sutures, infection, or other complications. If suture removal is required, this may be done 1 to 2 weeks after surgery at the surgeon’s office. Absorbable sutures usually dissolve within a week.

. If you have strips of tape on the cut (incision) the doctor made, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.

. Keep the area clean and dry. You may cover it with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.

. Physical therapy

It is necessary to continue with the physical therapy program and follow the prescribed exercises as instructed. Vigorous activities such as running or lifting heavy weights (typically over 5 pounds) are not advised.

. Compression stockings

Compression stockings may be advised to prevent blood-clot formation and to improve blood circulation.

. Other instructions

To reduce stiffness and help sore muscles, use a warm water bottle, a heating pad set on low, or a warm cloth on your back. Do not put heat right over the incision. Do not go to sleep with a heating pad on your skin.

Call your doctor or nurse or seek immediate medical care if:

You have new or worse symptoms in your legs or buttocks. Symptoms may include:

. Numbness or tingling.

. Weakness.

. Pain.

. You lose bladder or bowel control.

. You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.

. You have blood or fluid draining from the incision.

. You have signs of infection, such as:

  . Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.

  . Pus draining from the incision.

  . A fever.

  . Red streaks leading from the incision.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *