Recommendations to Prepare for Spine Surgery

Our goal is for you to return home after surgery. Therefore, it is important to have your house ready for after surgery. You can use this checklist as you get your house ready.

  • Put things within easy reach; take essential items down from high shelves.
  • Check hand railings to make sure they are not loose.
  • Clean your house and vacuum carpets, rugs, and the floor. A clean house reduces bacteria and chance of infection.
  • Clean, do the laundry, and put it away.
  • Put clean sheets and blankets on the bed.
  • Make sure you have chairs with arms and a firm seat.
  • Make meals and freeze them in single serving containers.
  • Cut the grass, tend to the garden, and finish any other yard work.
  • Pick up throw rugs and tack down loose carpeting.
  • Remove electrical cords and other obstructions from walkways.
  • Install night-lights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
  • Arrange to have someone collect your mail, remove garbage.
  • Arrange for pet care, if needed.
  • Install grab bars in the shower/bathtub. Put adhesive slip strips in the bottom of the tub.

You can contact your local Office on Aging and Disability for any resources you might need after surgery. Each county in New Jersey has community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities.

The Day Before Spine Surgery

The hospital will contact you the evening before your surgery (or on Friday if your surgery is on Monday) to find out what time your procedure is scheduled. You will be asked to come to the hospital approximately two to three hours before the scheduled surgery to give the nursing staff sufficient time to start IVs, prepare, and answer questions.

It is very important that you arrive on time to the hospital as occasionally the surgical time is moved up at the last minute and your surgery could start earlier. In some cases, lateness could result in moving your surgery to a much later time. Feel free to bring items to help you pass the time such as books, newspaper, needle work, etc.

The Night Before Surgery

You will need to clean your skin with special antiseptic wash or wipes the night before surgery, and the morning of surgery. You will receive the wash/wipes and directions at your pre-admission testing appointment or from your surgeon’s office. Follow the directions carefully. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. For example, if surgery is on Monday, use the special wash/wipes on Sunday night and Monday morning. Your surgeon recommends this special wash/wipes to reduce the amount of germs on your skin prior to surgery.

The Day of Surgery

nurses moving the patient who is laying in a bed

  • Wear clean, loose and comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off.
  • Jewelry and body piercing are NOT PERMITTED to be worn in surgery and should be removed prior to coming in to the hospital.
  • Remove makeup and dark nail polish.
  • Do NOT use lotions, gels, hairspray, cologne or powders.
  • Contact lenses are not permitted in surgery, please wear glasses or bring a contact lens case.
  • You may wear glasses, hearing aid, and dentures, but they will need to be removed before your surgery. Please bring a case to secure these items.
  • Bring your CPAP machine if you use one.
  • Remove wigs, hairpins, and hairclips.
  • All medications and herbals (cannabis products) are to be left at home. Please bring in a list of your medications including vitamins and over-the-counter medications.
  • In the event that your medication is not readily available in the hospital, plan for somebody to bring in your medications. Pharmacy will then verify them before your nurse can administer.

Eating and Drinking

Please follow instructions given to you by your hospital’s pre-surgery clinic. You may brush your teeth and gargle in the morning. Take your medications as instructed with a small sip of water.

If you make a mistake and accidentally did not follow the above instructions regarding eating or drinking, for your safety, please inform us prior to surgery.

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