Discectomy, Fusion or Lumbar Laminectomy Postoperative Instructions

Read our instructions carefully below for discectomy, fusion or laminectomy post op care procedures. Pay specific attention to symptoms we suggest reporting to our office. For any additional questions please contact us. 
Incision Care
  • If you have a dressing at the time of discharge, you may remove it the following day and leave it off, if your wound is not draining. If your wound is draining, change dressing daily to keep incision dry.
  • If you have steri-strips, you may remove them after seven days, or they may fall off on their own.
  • If you have staples or external sutures, please call the office for an appointment to have them removed, generally in 7-12 days after surgery.
  • Ice to incision as needed.
  • Do not use ointments, creams or lotions on incision.
  • If you do not have a bandage, you may shower immediately, as long as you do not soak the incision in water. Keep incision as dry as possible for up to two weeks.
  • If you do have a bandage, you can remove your bandage and shower beginning the second day after your surgery. Replace with dry dressing after shower.
  • Pat the incision dry with a towel; do not rub.
  • DON’T use bathtubs, swimming pools, lakes or hot tubs for two to three weeks; or until there is no scab on the incision.
  • Walk as much as possible. Short frequent walks are better than one long walk.
  • Avoid sitting straight upright for extended periods of time.
  • When comfortable, you may increase sitting as tolerated.
  • If long car rides are necessary, plan to get out of the car frequently and walk around, at least once every hour.
  • No jarring or bouncing activity, such as riding lawnmowers or recreational vehicles.
  • No vacuuming.
  • No lifting greater than 10 pounds for one month.
  • Avoid bending or twisting at the waist.
  • If you have been given a brace, you must wear it any time you are out of bed. You do not need to wear your brace in bed.
  • Sexual activity is permissible if it is comfortable.
  • We will discuss advancing your activity at your follow-up appointment.
  • DON’T drive if you are taking narcotics.
Symptoms to Report to the Office
  • Recurrence or increase of severe pain.
  • Weakness in legs.
  • Fevers greater than 101.0 F.
  • • Discectomy, Fusion or Laminectomy incision drainage of any kind.
  • Use an over the counter stool softener as directed on label while you are taking narcotics.
  • Do not use anti-inflammatory medication unless discussed with your physician.
  • Be sure you have pain medicine or prescriptions before leaving the hospital.
Follow up
  • If you don’t already have a follow-up visit, please call the office when you get home and schedule an appointment.