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7 Ways to Prepare for Spine Surgery

What do you need to do to prepare for spine surgery? If your doctor has recommended surgery for your back or neck condition here are some things you should think about before the procedure.

Dr Herzog and Dr Keshmiri @ Saratoga Spine Offer Tips on How to Prepare for Spine Surgery

Prepare for Spine Surgery

1. Pre-Surgical Checkups

Your doctor may ask that you visit your regular doctor for a general checkup prior to surgery. If you have any illnesses or conditions that may impact surgery they may also ask you visit a specialist (ie: cardiologist) to get a pre-surgical check.

2. Quit Smoking Before Surgery

While most people realize that smoking is bad for their health they may not realize that it can affect the outcome of surgery. The oxygen in your bloodstream plays a key role in helping your body heal wounds. Smoking reduces the oxygen levels in your blood and forces your heart to work harder to compensate. Surgery and anesthesia also reduce your body’s ability to get oxygen. As a result, risks associated with surgery are higher for smokers.

Studies have shown that quitting smoking 1-2 months prior to surgery can reduce complications after surgery. If you do plan on quitting smoking prior to surgery, make sure you talk to your doctor about it. Not only should your doctor be aware of anything that can affect the procedure but he or she can also help your quitting process.

3. Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medications

Certain medications can interfere with surgery by increasing your bleeding or interfering with anesthesia. Ask your doctor about any medications you currently take and whether they should be stopped prior to surgery. In addition to altering your regular medications your doctor may ask that you avoid certain over the counter medications like NSAID’s or supplements.

4. Pre-Surgical Exercises

Staying active and exercising is almost always good for your body. Prior to surgery is no different. Staying active is a great way to prepare for spine surgery. It can reduce complications and help reduce the time it takes your body to heal. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can also take stress off your body before surgery. Make sure you review any new exercise plans with your doctor to make sure they don’t interfere with your condition.

5. Post-Surgical Preparations

Will you be staying in the hospital after surgery or leaving the same day? If you have an outpatient surgery you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

If you’ll be staying in the hospital you’ll need to pack a small bag with some changes of clothes and things you may need during your stay.

Talk to your doctor about the recovery time for your procedure. Depending on the procedure it may be helpful to find some people to help you during your recovery process. This may include help changing bandages, getting around the house or preparing meals.

6. Mentally Prepare

Most people feel nervous or anxious prior to surgery. But too much stress prior to surgery can impact your ability to focus on your doctor’s recommendations and can put an additional strain on your body. Practicing relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, listening to music, or meditating can help you reduce stress and put your body in the right frame of mind for healing.

7. Fasting Before Surgery

The doctor or hospital will provide you with instructions to prepare for spine surgery. These will most likely include fasting prior to surgery. Most often it’s required that you don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery. Make sure to follow all directions provided as having food in your system the morning of surgery may cause your procedure to be delayed.



  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072740/
  2. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/preparing-for-low-back-surgery/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/features/prepare-spinal-surgery#1
  4. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/preparing-for-joint-replacement-surgery/


*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery