As your child recovers from spine surgery, your surgeon will provide you with guidelines to help you take care of your child.
Keep the incision clean and dry. Top cotton dressing can be removed 10 days after surgery. Adhesive surgical tapes were placed along your child’s incision while it heals. Leave these in place, they will peel off over time. Observe the incision for redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth, drainage, sores, foul odor and /or opening or separation of the incision.
Your child may begin to shower 10 days after surgery. Do not allow your child to soak in a bathtub or swim.
Encourage your child to eat a well balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. Until your child’s appetite returns to normal, encourage high calorie foods (dairy products, meats, eggs). Encourage fluids (water and fruit juices) and a high fiber diet (fruits, grains and vegetables) to prevent constipation.
Pain Medication: Give the medication as ordered by your child’s doctor. Giving pain medication 20 minutes before your child is active may help decrease discomfort. Pain medication will gradually be needed less often as your child recovers. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used instead of the prescription pain medication for pain that is not severe.
Stool Softener: This may be recommended to prevent constipation. Constipation may occur due to your child’s decreased activity, prescription pain medications and iron therapy.
In special cases, your child’s doctor may recommend wearing a brace for a prior of time. This is very individualized and not for every child. Talk to your doctor about whether your child will need a brace after their surgery.
Many children will be ready to return back to school 3 to 6 weeks after leaving the hospital. We may arrange for a homebound teacher/tutor until your child returns to school. Before going back to school, your child should be able to sit in a chair comfortably all day and walk longer distances inside your home. Your child will be excused from PE classes about 6 months.
On occasion, the orthopedic doctor may recommend that your child receive an antibiotic before dental procedures, including routine teeth cleaning. Antibiotics are needed because there is a risk of infection from the germs that can enter the blood after a dental procedure. Your child may be at higher risk for this due to spine implants (rods, hooks, wires, and/or screws. Discuss this with both your dentist and orthopedic doctor before the scheduled dental procedure.