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Spinal Surgery

Most patients will be able to return to a fairly normal level of activity following surgery. We ask that you adhere to the activity restrictions described, as well as note some of the other care instructions. We value your health, well-being and comfort.

Activity Restrictions

  • Refrain from lifting, pushing, stooping or straining for at least six weeks. For most patients, this means lifting nothing heavier than 10 lbs for the first 4 weeks; and no lifting objects above shoulder level.
  • Depending on the type of surgery you had, we may ask you not attempt any significant lifting or straining activities for up to three months.

Dressing Removal and Wound Care

  • You may be discharged from the hospital with a dressing over the incision. Remove the dressing within one to two days following your surgery.
  • You may have tiny strips of tape over the incision, called steri-strips. These usually fall off after five to seven days; usually with showering. We ask that you remove any steri-strips that remain after seven days of your surgery.
  • If you have staples or sutures, they need to be removed within seven to 10 days following surgery. Please call our office or your primary care doctor to set up an appointment for suture/staple removal.
  • Monitor your incision for any significant swelling, redness or drainage and notify us promptly if you notice any of the above.

Showering and Bathing

  • You may shower within 48 hours of your procedure. We ask that you refrain from soaking in a bathtub, hot tub or pool for the first four weeks.
  • No scrubbing of the incision.

Eating and Drinking
You may resume a normal diet following your procedure.


  • Blood Thinners: You may resume your usual medications immediately after surgery, with the exception of any blood-thinning agents, anti-inflammatory agents and aspirin based products. Blood thinning agents such as coumadin, plavix, heparin and aggrenox may usually be restarted within 5 days of surgery, so long as there has been no recent incisional swelling or drainage. We will specify when it is okay to resume these medications.
  • Anti-Seizure Medication: If you had a lumbar fusion, do not take any non-steroidal antiinlfammatory medications for at least six weeks following surgery. These include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. These agents can delay the healing process as it relates to bony fusion. If you need to take aspirin for heart disease or stroke risk, you may resume this within 48 hours of surgery.

Refrain from smoking. Smoking delays the healing process and increases the risk that a fusion will not take place.

Return to Work
Dr. Amini will inform you when you can return to work. It usually occurs between the second and fourth week with increasing work hours.

Office Follow-Up
We recommend regular office follow-ups following your spine surgery. For patients undergoing spine surgery, we recommend follow-ups at four weeks, three months and six months after surgery. For patients undergoing a fusion, we usually recommend X-rays be taken prior to your visits. If you develop any new signs or symptoms before a scheduled follow-up and need to be seen, please contact our office.

Please contact your surgeon if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • fever with a temperature greater than 101.5 degrees F
  • worsening back or leg pain with or without new neurologic symptoms
  • new neurologic symptoms including leg weakness, incontinence, inability to urinate or defecate.
  • swollen, painful calf with or without fever
  • significant redness, swelling or drainage from the incision site
  • significant clear fluid drainage from the incision site

NOTE: If you are unable to reach your surgeon and have noticed any of the above conditions, please report to the nearest Emergency Room for prompt medical attention.


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