Your Guide to Preparing for Back Surgery or Neck Surgery

Just as every patient is different, no two surgical procedures are exactly the same, either. That means that preparing for surgery will be a little different for every patient and for every procedure. At NeurosurgeryOne, formerly South Denver Neurosurgery, your spine surgery care team will work closely with you before your procedure to answer all your questions, address your concerns, and assure that you have all the information you need to make your surgery successful.


Before Back Surgery or Neck Surgery

Your NeurosurgeryOne spine surgeon might recommend that you take several steps before your procedure, including:

  • Stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications such as Aleve, Advil, and ibuprofen one week before your surgery.
  • If you regularly take aspirin or blood thinners, and certain other medications, you will be asked to stop taking them several days before your surgery, depending on the specific medication.
  • Discuss any other medications you take, including medications for diabetes, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Have your primary care physician examine you to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions that might interfere with your surgery.
  • Stop smoking or using any tobacco products, including marijuana. Smoking can interfere with lung function and may delay your recovery. In addition, smoking has been clearly found to reduce the odds that your spine surgery will be successful.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery.

Your care team also may suggest several steps you can take to help you recover as comfortably as possible at home, including:

  • Identify a friend or family member who will be able to help you with shopping and other chores in the days immediately after your procedure.
  • Prepare a few meals ahead of time, or purchase easy-to-prepare foods before you come to the hospital.
  • Move food, pots, pans, and other cooking utensils to counter tops so you can avoid reaching or bending in the first weeks after your procedure.
  • Place shoes, clothing, and toiletries at a height where you can reach them without bending.
  • Remove or secure any throw rugs so you won't trip over them.


The Day of Back Surgery or Neck Surgery

Before you leave home:

  • Shower using an anti-bacterial soap.
  • Leave valuables such as jewelry and watches at home.
  • Prepare a list of any food or medication allergies to bring with you to the surgery center or hospital.

In the hospital:

  • The nurse will ask you to remove your clothing (including underwear and socks) and to put on a hospital gown.
  • You should remove any contact lenses, dentures, wigs, hairpins, jewelry, and artificial limbs. Give these and other personal belongings to your visitors to hold while you are in surgery and until you are in your assigned room.
  • You will be asked to go to the bathroom to empty your bladder before you leave your room.
  • You most likely will talk to several nurses, your anesthesiologist, and your neurosurgeon before your procedure.

Pre- and post-surgery:

  • An IV will be inserted while you are in the pre-surgery area.
  • You will be given a sedative before you are taken to the operating room.
  • Following the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area, where you will be carefully monitored as you awaken from anesthesia.
  • Depending on your procedure, after several hours you may be released to go home, or transferred to a hospital room