Knowing what to expect can result in a more comfortable hospital stay and a quicker recovery period. On this page, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about your experience before, during, and after back surgery.


  • Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications.
  • Do not eat or drink solid foods after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Alert us immediately if you become ill with a cold, flu or fever before your procedure.


  • Do not wear body lotions or make-up.
  • Bring clothing that is comfortable and easy to put on.
  • Bring toiletry items and your back brace (if applicable).
  • Leave valuables (money, credit cards, jewelry) at home.
  • Bring glasses, contacts, dentures and/or hearing devices in a storage case.
  • Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after surgery (if you’re having an outpatient procedure).


Depending on the rules of the hospital, your family should be permitted to stay with you throughout the pre-op process.

During this time, we will:

  • Review your surgical history.
  • Discuss medications and allergies.
  • Record your weight, blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate and temperature.

Once we’ve recorded your vital signs, we will insert an intravenous catheter and administer fluids that contain antibiotics and sedatives. You will then meet
with the surgical team – including the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and nurses – in the preoperative holding area. During this time, we will review the potential
risks and complications one last time and answer any questions you may have.

Once the pre-op process is complete, you will be taken to the operating room (OR) and your family will be guided to the waiting area. Our staff will
communicate with your family during and after the procedure to keep them updated on your progress.


After surgery, you will likely need to stay in the hospital for a day or two so that we can monitor your progress.

Here’s what to expect immediately after your procedure:

  • A therapist will teach you how to safely get in and out of lying and sitting positions without bending or twisting.
  • You will be given a brace to wear at all times – even while sleeping.
  • You can shower four days after surgery. Until then, you may take sponge baths.
  • Keep the dressing dry beneath your brace and alert us immediately if your incision develops drainage or increased redness.
  • Wear your compression stockings to prevent blood clots.

In addition, you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment two weeks after your discharge from the hospital so that we can check your wound, change your
dressings, and assess your healing progress.

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