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