Spinal surgery can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $150,000, depending on the type of procedure. Now, there are at least 6 popular kinds for cases of spinal herniation, slipped discs, trauma and degenerative diseases. Any of them would entail a hospitalization period of 3 weeks to several months. However there are ways by which you could shorten your stay in the hospital and one is by taking good care of your body and by following through the given post-operative tips.
Here are some post-operative care tips for orthopedic patients:
a. Exercise whether in or out of bed.
Exercise strengthens your body and helps enhance blood circulation. It also builds up your muscles and increases your endurance to pain. As such, it should help you significantly with hastening your recovery time. Yes, it will be tough at first, especially after a major orthopedic operation, but you could pace yourself slowly so you do not shock your system. Passive range of motion exercises would be okay like flexing and circumducting your arms and legs while in bed. And then, you could start ambulating after your wounds heal (possibly after 3 days) and move slowly with a walker.
Of course, you need to take it easy on the area that was operated on to avoid the stitches from coming undone. It’s advised to not perform these exercises any more than 30 minutes so you do not exhaust yourself. And always keep proper body mechanics. If the pain becomes too overwhelming, or if you feel that something doesn’t feel right during these exercises, stop immediately.
b. Eat the right kind of food.
You will most likely be advised to stick to a soft diet the first three days after your surgery, even though your digestive system was not in any way directly involved in the operation. This is because it takes at least 24 hours for the effects of general anesthesia to be fully eliminated from the body. So until then, your internal organs will be functioning at a much slower pace, thereby making it more complicated to digest food. After three days, you will be asked to increase your fiber intake as well as protein and Vitamin C for better waste elimination and muscle building. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements will most likely be provided to assist with optimal bone regeneration.
c. Have your wound regularly cleaned and dressed.
That way, you can minimize the chances of infection. For the first few days, nurses and/or doctors will be there to dress your surgical wound for you. Prior to leaving the hospital, your healthcare team will educate you on proper techniques when it comes to dressing changes. This may also be an opportune time to have a friend or family member present for these trainings so that they may also perform this task. Proper wound dressing is vital to optimum would healing and is highly effective in preventing any infection. Swelling may be relieved by alternately applying cold and hot compress on the area.
d. Avoid observing past vices.
You may have given up smoking just weeks before the operation. And even though the surgery is complete, these unhealthy habits can have negative effects on the healing process. Smoking decreases the level of oxygen in the blood, which carries nutrients. Moreover, it desensitizes the body’s immune system and reduces the effectiveness of platelets in their clotting function.
e. Wear appropriate clothing and use the right equipment.
Undergoing an orthopedic procedure will definitely impede mobility. So you have to make it easier for yourself by wearing garments that will help minimize effort. It is also advisable that you obtain the right assistive devices since your strength will be limited and your gait unsteady. If you have a fractured leg, you will most likely need to use crutches or walkers. If it’s your back, then you might have to acquire a motorized wheel chair.
These post-operative responsibilities are just some of the things the health care team will educate you on both prior to and after the procedure. Your compliance with the ordered plan of care post operatively will better ensure you regain your former state of health, and lessen your hospital stay.
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(Disclaimer: Always consult your healthcare provider prior to initiating these techniques)