What to expect after your spine surgery at Children's Colorado

Author: Children's Hospital Colorado

A few weeks ago I had surgery on my spine to help correct my scoliosis. I was really nervous about my surgery and afraid that I could mess up my spine afterward. But my doctors and nurses told me that probably wouldn't happen. The implants are strong, so it would be very hard for you to bend them or pull them out. After I came home from the hospital, I was tired and my parents had to help me get out of the car and into the house. The first few nights at home, my parents had to get up and help me.

But during the day I would get up and walk around. I even went outside for a walk my first day at home. It takes time to recover, so it was a little while before I had much energy and could return to school. This was kind of frustrating because for a while I couldn't do all the things I did before surgery.

There are two was you can look at it. You can be angry and feel sorry for yourself that you had to have surgery, or you can be proud that you had the courage to move forward. I decided to stay positive, so I invited my friends over a lot. They were pretty cool about it. I made sure to ask for help when I needed it. "Mom, can you help me?" But each day I tried to do more for myself. After surgery, I had a large bandage that covered my incision.

They told me to leave it on for a few days. When I removed it, I could then take a shower. When you're recovering from spine surgery, you can't take a bath right away, so I had to shower. I got to take one shower when I was in the hospital, and then had to wait until my mom took my dressing off before I could shower at home. We put a plastic chair in the shower so I wouldn't fall if I got light-headed. It made me feel more independent. I got to swim in a chlorinated pool a couple weeks after my surgery.

What to expect after your spine surgery at Children's Colorado

I had to make sure I kept my incision covered with a t-shirt to prevent it from getting sunburned. I couldn't go in any hot tubs, lakes, or oceans until my surgeon and nurse said it was okay. I was in pain after surgery, which is pretty normal. So my doctor gave me prescription pain medicine to help me to feel more comfortable. Sometimes narcotics can cause nausea and stomach problems.

The nurses and doctors gave me information about pain medication and they had tips about the side effects. Check the information you received if this becomes a problem for you. Once I got home, I cut down on my meds and eventually I didn't need them anymore.

Just a short time after getting home, I was down to taking my pain medicine just once or twice a day. You can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead. It wasn't long until I felt better and got to go back to school. First I started going just half days. I could carry a lightweight bag or backpack. I gradually got back to exercising, and I started with some lighter activities.

And now I'm back to my normal life. All in all, it really wasn't that bad. I'm glad I had the surgery. When you get home, make sure you call your nurse or doctor if you notice any signs of infection, fever, or pain that the medication doesn't make better.

Call your nurse or doctor if you have any other questions. They're happy to help.

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Spine Surgeon: Norah A. Foster, MD

My name is Nora Foster, and I'm a spine surgeon here at Duke. The conditions I treat within the spine, I treat both the neck, the mid back, or the thoracic spine, as well as the…

By: Duke Health
Scoliosis Bracing Interview: the New Chêneau Brace in the US

Dr. MORAMARCO: Here I am in Gensingen, Germany with Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss who is a scoliosis expert and I’m here in Gensingen learning about his bracing system the Chêneau - Gensingen…

By: Scoliosis 3DC
What to expect after your spine surgery at Children's Colorado

A few weeks ago I had surgery on my spine to help correct my scoliosis. I was really nervous about my surgery and afraid that I could mess up my spine afterward. But my doctors and…

By: Children's Hospital Colorado
Indi's Scoliosis Life: My Diagnosis, Brace and Therapies :)

Hi, welcome back to "Indi's Scoliosis Life". Today I'm gonna share about when doctor diagnosed me with scoliosis and about everything I've done for my scoliosis. [Ssshhh!]…

By: Indi Sugar Taufik