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Scoliosis Surgery Aftercare

After surgery, the patient will be confined to bed. A catheter is inserted so that the patient can urinate without getting up. Vital signs are monitored, and the patient's position is changed frequently so that bedsores do not develop.

Antibiotics are prescribed to the patient, this is to prevent any infections, the antiobiotics are usually given at the beginning of surgery and then continued for 48 hours after the operation.

Majority of patients will spend a few days in the hospital after surgery, to ensure that your recovery goes well without a hitch, physiotherapy will be applied to enable the patient to gradually increase their movements. You may be fitted with a brace, however, this is much less common these days.

I was fitted with a plaster cast for 7 months after my surgery and I spent 2 months in hospital - boy how times have changed!

Medication will be prescribed during your hospital stay and you will also take medications home with you for pain prevention, the medication will be gradually reduced over a period of a few weeks.

When the patient is discharged from hospital he or she will be able to dress, bathe, feed himself or herself, and walk around. A child may not return to school for 3 to 4 weeks.

Recovery from spinal instrumentation can be a long, arduous process. Movement is severely limited for a period of time. In certain types of instrumentation, the patient is put in a cast to allow the realigned bones to stay in position until healing takes place. This can be as long as six to eight months. Many patients will need to wear a brace after the cast is removed.

After surgery, it is of vital important to avoid any extreme bending, twisting, stooping, or lifting of objects weighing more than 10lb. You should be mentally prepared to spend the first few weeks at home taking rest periods throughout the day and perhaps some light waking outside in the fresh air. Remember to be patient and not try to push your recovery too far so that your overdo it and cause problems later. Keep your mind occupied during this period. Children that may be bored during this time and are up to doing some school work should do so, taking rests throughout the day.

I did school work in hospital while I was on the stryker frame, we had a teacher come round every day and set us tasks to complete so that I did not fall behind too much when I returned to school. (Simone)

During the recovery period, the patient is taught respiratory exercises to help maintain respiratory function during the time of limited mobility. Physical therapists assist the patient in learning self-care and in performing strengthening and range of motion exercises. Length of hospital stay depends on the age and health of the patient, as well as the specific problem that was corrected. The patient can expect to remain under a physician's care for many months.

Contact sports should be avoided and restricted such as, ice skating, roller skating, horse riding, skiing, trampolining (never!), football, hockey - any jarring on the spine is a no, no. Cycling and swimming can be resumed in 3 to 4 months.

The care giver should continue to keep a journal once you come home. Record any worrisome symptoms or concerns, so you can give the doctor the details later. Record all medical dosing and the times. This will prevent you from giving to much or too little.

Use a good digital timer for meds, and an alarm clock if you need it at night. Hopefully, the patient won't need meds in the middle of the night for long, but it's possible she'll need it for a week or two.

Make sure you take benefiber or another of those grit free fiber supplements a couple of times a day dissolved in soup or juice. Pain meds will stop up the works. If you do go more than a day without passing a BM, glycerin suppositories are the gentlest and safest way to get things going.

A raised toilet seat with arms so you can get yourself up off the potty by yourself. VERY important for your self esteem.

Bathing should be taken very, very slowly and make sure you have a bath mat with plenty of grip on it! Leave the bathroom door unlocked and make sure someone else is in the house in case you need a bit of help. You could even consider one of those seats for the bath to make getting in and out easier. Perhaps some grab rails for the walls for extra support also. Just be extra careful and take it slowly!

A chair for the shower, because it's hard for you to stand for long periods in the beginning, and the combination of low blood volume, pain meds and heat can make you dizzy.

A comfy chair. Some people like a straight rocker with pillows. Many prefer a recliner. I got a LaFuma recliner, which is meant as a deck chair. It is small and light, and easy to move, not to mention you can get them on line for about $150. We put a couple of pillows in it, and my daughter lived in it after surgery. Some people prefer to sleep in the recliner, because they find it too hard to get in and out of bed in the beginning.

A memory foam bed topper, at least three inches thick (try Overstock.com).

One or two body pillows. They are easier to position than a bunch of bed pillows, and they make you feel safe and supported.

A grabber so you can get things off the floor, or pull up a sock.

Lots of DVD's (we belong to Netflix which was great because I didn't have to leave the house to get movies). For those in the UK, LoveFilm is a great option, you can stream videos and rent, they are sent to your door!

You might want to rent a hospital style table for a month or so.

Walkie Talkies or a baby monitor so you can "page" without screaming. Our portable phones have a pager feature, so we used them instead. You can also use a bell.