How Do You Prepare for Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery?


Quick Answer

Before undergoing a lumbar spinal fusion, patients should avoid smoking, prepare the home for when they return and consume a high-fiber diet, recommends the Mayfield Clinic. Patients should also avoid alcohol starting one week before surgery.

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Patients should quit smoking and using all tobacco products before the procedure, states the Mayfield Clinic. Smoking slows blood circulation, which lengthens healing time and puts patients at a greater risk of infection. Nicotine also puts patients at a higher risk of a failed spinal fusion as procedures in smokers fail 40 percent of the time compared to 8 percent for nonsmokers. To prepare the home, patients should put any items they may need at shoulder or hip level to avoid having to bend or reach after surgery. They should also remove cords and rugs that may pose a tripping hazard, place nonslip mats in the bathtub and prepare meals.

Patients should consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day the week before surgery to avoid constipation, according to the Mayfield Clinic. Patients should stop drinking alcohol one week before and two weeks after surgery to avoid bleeding problems, and they should stop taking medications with blood-thinning properties two weeks before surgery. Patients should also see a doctor for a comprehensive medical history and physical exam up to one month before surgery.

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