Whether for a slipped disc caused by the normal aging process, or to treat a traumatic spinal cord injury, spinal surgery is never undertaken lightly. When selected as the preferred treatment option, it’s an indication of the severity of the problem being addressed. Back surgery is performed with the expectation that it offers a reasonable expectation of a meaningful improvement in one’s medical condition, and those improvements include reduction of pain and restoration of movement. So there’s actually much to look forward to when preparing for a back surgery operation! Here are things any patient can do to ensure the surgery and recovery goes as smoothly as possible:
Get in the best shape you can – mentally and physically. Exercise and eat a healthy diet. Lose weight, as extra weight puts mechanical stresses on the back and can complicate back surgery and recovery. Lose weight sensibly! If you smoke, now is the time to quit! If you won’t quit, you will have to stop prior to surgery, due to the many serious health risks the results of smoking can cause for surgical patients. Talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking. Be very thorough – even herbal supplements can impact recovery or interact with other medication prescribed for surgery.
Also, prepare for surgery by learning as much as you can about all facets of your spinal condition, and its treatment. For example, the last few years have seen dramatic advances in spinal procedures that can provide dramatically improved clinical outcomes. The TOPS™ (Total Posterior Solution) System, often used in the treatment of spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and other back problems that can cause a pinched nerve, is one such advanced procedure. TOPS is an implant system approved for use as an alternative to spinal fusion back surgery following a spinal decompression procedure. The TOPS System preserves the independent flexion and bending of the individual vertebrae following spinal decompression therapy, unlike fusion spine surgery, which eliminates this independent motion and can contribute to deterioration of adjacent vertebrae. The TOPS System has also been shown in clinical studies conducted around the globe to provide better short- and long-term outcomes than spinal fusion.
Make sure you learn all you can about your condition, and understand all your surgical options, thoroughly discuss your treatment with your physician, and you’ll be well prepared for your back surgery!