Caring for Your Spinal Incision
Proper care for the surgical incision is one of the most important aspects of post-operative home recuperation following back surgery. The surgical incision may be closed with dissolvable sutures and steri-strips, staples, or sutures. Staples or visible sutures should be removed 14 days following the spinal surgery. You won’t be permitted to apply any ointments or lotions to the incision while it is healing. You should not bathe in a tub, swim, or use a hot tub until your incision is healed, either.
Like all other aspects of back surgery, patients should take an active role in ensuring the healing process for their surgical incision goes as smoothly as possible. Adopting the healthy habits and lifestyle choices that promote all other areas of recovery will have an equally beneficial impact on the healing of your surgical incision. Your preparation for back surgery should have started you on this path as you adjusted your diet and physical activities to get healthy not only for your surgery, but for your recovery process. It’s also important to rigorously follow your doctor’s orders about what medications to avoid, as some can interfere with the healing process.
Fortunately, the last few years have seen a revolution in back surgery procedures and outcomes, thanks to minimally invasive procedures that require much smaller incisions, among other advantages over traditional open back surgery. These advances continue apace. For example, spinal fusion back surgery, the traditional procedure performed in conjunction with spinal decompression surgery, has been supplanted in many cases by use of the TOPS (Total Posterior Solution) System. A spinal implant, the TOPS System procedure is minimally invasive, and has been shown in clinical trials around the globe to provide superior outcomes for patients who undergo treatments such as lumbar laminectomy or other spinal decompression therapy for conditions such as spinal stenosis or pinched nerve or relieve symptoms of sciatica. As the example of the TOPS System indicates, these advances in minimally invasive back surgery techniques mean not only fewer problems with the healing of surgical incisions, but better outcomes overall.