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WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT MY RECOVERY?

BRAIN SURGERY

Your recovery at the Hospital will probably last three to ten days depending on your pre-operative diagnosis and condition, the type of operation as well as your post-operative status. You will probably require another two to eight weeks (again depending on your diagnosis and the type of operation) of additional recuperation at home before being able to regain some of your former routine. Your Neurosurgeon will give you more specific information regarding when you can drive, return to work and resume other activities.

You will probably tire easily during these weeks. You body has undergone quite a demanding experience and will need time to restore itself. Eat well-balanced meals with an emphasis on additional protein since these are the building blocks for tissue repair. Get plenty of rest. You may find that you need one or two naps during the day for a while.

Exercise can also be important. Your Neurosurgeon will recommend what kind of exercise is best for you depending on your specific circumstances although, generally Dr. Lazar recommends walking as the primary form of exercise. He will alert you to any restrictions recognizing that straining and heavy lifting of any sort is contraindicated. Remember to do only what you can tolerate as you gradually increase your activities. Your Neurosurgeon will also want you to schedule a follow-up appointment in order to monitor your progress as you recover.

You will be able to gently shampoo your hair and scalp approximately five days after surgery. Do not use harsh soaps or scrub over the incision area. Neither is it advisable for you to apply lotions or creams to this area unless Dr. Lazar instructs you to do so. Scalp incision staples/stitches will be removed at some point after the tenth post-operative day. As much as possible, it is best to leave your head incision open to the air to promote quick healing. You may wear a loose-fitting hat or scarf on occasion.

Medications

Do not take any medications unless prescribed by your Neurosurgeon and/or other members of this Neurosurgical team.

Take the prescribed medication exactly as your personal Physician or Nurse instructs you.

Do not take any over-the-counter medication without consulting your personal Physician, since they might interfere with your prescribed drugs.

Do not take aspirin containing medication or ibuprophen containing medication since this interferes with the clotting mechanism of blood until and unless Dr. Lazar instructs you otherwise.

Do not take alcohol in any form post-operatively until advised otherwise.

Dr. Lazar's comprehensive patient instructions for Brain Surgery patients can be found on this website at:

Pre-operative Brain Surgery

Post-operative Brain Surgery

SPINE SURGERY

Most Cervical (Neck) and Lumbar (Lower back) Spine operations are now conducted on an "out-patient" basis. Many, particularly those for the Lumbar Spine, are accomplished using elegant Minimally Invasive Microsurgical Techniques. Significant advances have been made in the techniques and the technologies for the majority of Cervical Spine operations as well. "Out-patient" spine procedures are generally associated with lessened post-operative pain, early mobilization, earlier return to daily activities, lessened overall cost and decreased risk of infection.

For the majority of Spine Surgery patients, Dr. Lazar will want you to be walking round the hospital ward at a point four (4) hours post-operatively. You should have a nurse assist you the first time you attempt this.

The best way for you to get out of bed is to TURN ON YOUR SIDE and draw your knees towards your chest. Push with your arms to a sitting position. Once you are satisfied that you are not dizzy or light headed, push down into the mattress with your arms and hands by your sides while leaning forward. Rise quickly to a standing position with your knees locked. Stay that way for a moment until you are satisfied that you are not dizzy. Your first few steps will be cautious. Then you will want to walk briskly. This will help reduce paravertebral muscle spasm in the early postoperative days.

For Cervical Spine patients, it is particularly important to AVOID PRESSING THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE PILLOW or MATTRESS in order to CHANGE POSITIONS. CHANGE POSITIONS ONLY WHEN YOU ARE TURNED ON YOUR SIDE.

Wound Care

Most incisions are closed with fine subcuticular (hidden) sutures with "steri-strips" over this. Do not disturb the steri-strips. Follow the specific instructions that you are given and as are written in the DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS (See below).

Exercise

Exercise can also be important. Your Neurosurgeon will recommend what kind of exercise is best for you depending on your specific circumstances although, generally Dr. Lazar recommends walking as the primary form of exercise. He will alert you to any restrictions recognizing that straining and heavy lifting of any sort is contraindicated.

Remember to do only what you can tolerate as you gradually increase your activities. Your Neurosurgeon will also want you to schedule a follow-up appointment in order to monitor your progress as you recover.

Hospital Stay

Some Spine operations that are conducted on much older patients, or those with serious additional health problems, may well require an overnight or longer stay in hospital. These are discussed on an individual basis.

Patients who undergo Spine operations for Spinal Cord Tumors, Diastematomyelia, Syringomyelia, Spine Cancer, or extensive Cervical Spine Reconstruction can also anticipate a longer stay in hospital. Many of these patients will initially be cared for in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit until they are considered to be neurologically and structurally stable. While a few patients can be discharged to their home once they are stable, most will be cared for on the Neurosurgical Ward of the main hospital for a day or more.

Dr. Lazar's comprehensive Pre-operative and Post-operative Instructions are available on this website for our patients. Please consult the following for:

Pre-operative Spine Instructions

Post-operative Cervical Spine Operation Instructions

Post-operative Lumbar Spine Operation Instructions


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This page last edited on 2/19

All content ©2016 by Neurosurgical Consultants, P.A.
Author, Martin L. Lazar, MD, FACS
All Rights Reserved. See Usage Notices.