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This document was prepared by Jayanthi Subbarao MD, MS, Clinical Professor, Department of Orthopeadic surgery & Rehabilitation.  Loyola University Chicago  Stritch School of medicine. Maywood Illinois. USA.


The following are general guide lines for patients who undergo lumbar spine surgery. Please make sure that you review the contents with your treating physician and surgeon so it will be appropriate for you, prior to surgery and after surgery so necessary changes can be made.


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  1. Please contact your primary care physician for any questions regarding medications you have been taking prior to your recent surgery

  2. Contact (Name and phone number of person to call) regarding pain medications

  3. You can resume taking Aspirin 81 mg –days after surgery if you have been taking that medication prior to surgery.

  4. You should not take Aspirin 325  mg or other Non steroidal anti inflammatory medications such as Motrin, Advil etc for  about 2 weeks



  1.  Keep the wound dry

  2. You can shower after few days

  3. Only dab the incision area but not rub it.

  4. If you have staples at the incision it is best to cover them to avoid being caught on clothing.

  5. There is no need for suture removal because the sutures are self absorbing unless your surgeon advises you otherwise.



  • You should walk at least 50 feet three times day

  • You should observe the fall precautions

  • You should support your back with pillow while sitting. (for about 2 weeks after surgery)

  • You should wear the Compression stockings till you are walking frequently on a daily basis.

  1. Watch for swelling of legs if that is increasing stop wearing the stockings and call your doctor.

  2. Elevate your legs. Be careful when you walk with stockings because you may slip on smooth surfaces.

  3. Make sure you perform ankle pumps frequently.

  • You should perform  deep breathing exercises three times day  for about two weeks or till your doctor advises you to stop.

  • You can exercise your upper and lower extremities with out any force but do not use waits until cleared by your surgeon

  • Driving a car: Please discuss with your physician before driving and precautions while driving.



  • You should limit sitting for up to 30 minutes for 7 days and gradually increase the duration

  • You should not sit in a slouched posture

  • You should not bend at the waist level until cleared by your surgeon

  • Discuss with your doctor regarding going up and down stairs.

  • You should not lift weights larger than a gallon of milk till your first follow up visit with the doctor.

  • If your surgery includes spinal fusion, your doctor may prescribe a brace to facilitate fusion. Please make sure that you follow the instructions regarding wearing during day, night and for how long. The brace may be uncomfortable but you compliance with instructions is essential.



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