Patient Q & A

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common topics that patients have questions about.

I am scheduled for surgery, when should I stop taking my aspirin?

You should stop taking aspirin and NSAIDs 5 days prior to surgery unless otherwise advised by your physician. Please contact CDA Spine and Brain if you take aspirin because you have a cardiac stent, had coronary artery bypass surgery, or had deep venous thrombosis.

Can I take my regular medication the morning of my surgery?

You can take your regular medications the morning of your surgery. Take them as early in the morning as possible and only with a small amount of water, just enough to get the pills down. ONLY USE WATER. Do not use any other liquid besides water to take the medications. Do not take blood thinning medications the morning of your surgery unless otherwise directed by your physician or the surgery facility staff.

When can I remove the dressing from my incision?

The dressing can be removed 1 or 2 days after surgery. At that time it is OK to shower but do not soak your incision or let it get submerged in water. If you have steri-strips and a dissolvable stitch, the steri strips can be removed in 7 to 10 days. If you have staples or a non-dissolvable stitch you will have an appointment to get them removed 10 days after surgery.

How long do I need to wear my brace?

If Dr. Larson prescribed a corset brace for your lower back, wear it until it is discontinued at one of your post-op appointments. It is OK to remove the brace when you are in bed or in the shower unless otherwise directed.

How much weight can I lift?

Do not lift more than 5 to 15 pounds after your surgery unless otherwise instructed.

When can I drive?

It is best to avoid driving for the first 2 weeks after surgery, presuming that you were able to drive before surgery. You should not drive if you are taking narcotic pain medications.

What type of exercise should I do?

In general it will be good for you to do some mild stretching and walking for the first 2 weeks after surgery. You were given a prescription for physical therapy at the hospital and you can begin physical therapy 2 weeks after your surgery. Take the prescription to the physical therapist of your choice unless otherwise directed.

Can I sit in a chair?

Yes, however, make sure it does not put too much pressure on your back. Reclined positions are recommended vs. sitting upright.

Can I lay on y side or my back?

Yes. Put a pillow between your legs when you are lying on your back.

Can I walk on a treadmill?

Yes. You can walk if you are comfortable.

How long until I can have sex?

You may have sex after your first post-operative appointment as long as you are comfortable, careful, and avoid jarring.

Can I climb stairs?

If necessary, however, it is best to avoid stairs for 2 weeks after surgery.

How long until I can go back to work?

Your ability to return to work depends on the type of work you do and the type of surgery you have. This varies case to case, but it is typically discussed at your 2 week or 6 week post-op appointment. It is entirely feasible to return to work sooner in many cases and you follow the post-operative restrictions.