What to Expect after a Laminectomy

A laminectomy refers to a certain type of spinal surgery that is known as a decompression procedure. The surgery opens up the spaces in which your nerves and spinal cord are located. When these spaces are constricted or stenosed, as in cases of spinal stenosis, you may experience severe back pain, as well as numbness, weakness, and tingling in your arms. Here are some things your orthopedic surgeon may tell you to expect following your spinal surgery.

1. Things to Avoid

After your laminectomy, you will have some restrictions for a couple of weeks after your procedure. For example, you will need to avoid heavy lifting and bending down, as well as dancing and twisting your body. Your surgeon will also advise you against driving for a couple of weeks and you will need to refrain from doing household chores and landscaping work.

If your doctor prescribed narcotic pain medication, you should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. Even if you are not taking narcotic-based analgesics, your physician may still advise you to refrain from drinking alcohol because of its effects on blood vessels, blood pressure, kidney function, and the healing process. In addition, smoking is strongly discouraged because it can delay the healing process and raise your risk for postoperative infections.

2. Be Careful While Bathing

If your surgeon has closed your laminectomy incision with a type of surgical glue, you can probably take a shower the day after your spinal surgery. Conversely, if your surgical incision was closed with staples or adhesive steri-strips, your doctor will recommend waiting a couple of days before taking a shower.

While you can take a shower, you should not take a bath until your staples or strips have been removed at your follow-up postoperative office visit. You should never submerge your incision or sutures in water until your doctor examines your wound at your follow-up visit. 

If you notice any drainage or bleeding from your incision after your shower, call your physician as soon as possible because these signs may mean that an infection is present. While infections after showering are uncommon, water supplies contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or fungi may pose an infection risk to surgical patients or those whose immunity is compromised.

If you have any questions about postoperative care following your laminectomy procedure, call your surgeon. When concerns are addressed as soon as possible, you will be more likely to experience a non-eventful recovery, while meeting your treatment goals. Learn more by visiting websites like https://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com/.