Spine Surgery - Prepare

What to Pack Checklist

You may pack a duffel bag or a small carry-on size luggage.


  • Loose fitting shorts or pants with an elastic waist. Button down tops for easy on/off.
  • Shoes, either slip on or closed back, with a rubber sole or tread on the bottom to prevent falls. Yellow slipper socks will be provided.
  • Incentive Spirometer (IS) for breathing exercises
  • Breathing machine for sleep apnea if one is used at home
  • Credit card for one time use to set up TV/phone Cell phones are permitted. Wi Fi is also available. Keep valuables at your own risk.

Physical Therapy (PT)

  • Initial Treatment Day of surgery or next morning. PT twice a day until discharged as long as medically stable.
  • Individual exercise program
  • Ambulation (walking)
  • Review Of Precautions
  • Stair climbing
  • Occupational Therapy- Review activities of daily living
  • Bed mobility
  • Tub Transfers
  • Car Transfers
  • Dressing
  • Spinal cord function can be monitored during your operation using special leads on your limbs to prevent nerve damage.
  • If this is used you may have rips in your TEDs stocking or scabs from the lead placement.

Day of Surgery

  • The surgeon will come out and ask which surgery is being performed today.
  • You will be given an IV Antibiotic before surgery and will continue for 24 hours after surgery as a precaution to prevent infection.
  • Your loved ones can stay with you until your surgery time. The Operating Room is on the same floor as the pre op area and the waiting room.
  • Surgery can last approx 2 to 3 hours, does not include the time spent in the recovery room.
  • Waiting rooms are available with coffee, tea, wi-fi available for internet access as well a phone to provide patient status updates.

General Anesthesia

  • You will go under general anesthesia for the procedure.
  • The medication will be given through your IV and/or a mask over your mouth.
  • Make sure to inform the anesthesiologist of any past reactions to anesthesia (ie. Nausea).
  • A tube will be placed down your throat to help you breath- you may have a sore throat afterwards.
  • Common side effects include nausea, sore throat, dry mouth, sleepiness, shivering.

Recovery Room

  • After surgery you will be placed in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)
  • The Anesthesiologist will release you to the orthopaedic unit once:
    • you are awake
    • pain is controlled
    • vital signs are stable
  • You will be transferred to Todd 6 East (6th floor) on the bed, while lying on your back after surgery.

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