Common Surgical Questions
- Is it normal to have some numbness and tingling after surgery?
Yes. It is normal to have some numbness and tingling for few weeks after surgery. This is because during surgery, your nerves were moved to do surgery safely. Also, the nerve is an electrical signal and when the compression is removed, there can be inflammation for the nerve recovering.
- When can I drive.
You can be a passenger in the car without an issue. Most patients do not start driving by themselves till 2-3 weeks after surgery. They have to be off narcotics during the day to drive. Also, patients start off driving short distances first to make sure their reaction speed is okay and they can see the blind spots. If any questions, please call the office.
- How do take care of the wound.
Most patients have stitches that dissolve. You do not have to remove them. On top of the stitches is glue to reinforce the wound. Please have the wound covered for the first 2-3 days after surgery. You can take a shower 1-2 days after surgery as long as the wound is covered. After 2-3 days, remove the bandage and let it open to air. You can then get the wound wet then. Let the water drip over it, but don't scrub. Avoid bathtubs and pool until you see Dr Park at the first postoperative visit.
- What is my weight limit after surgery.
Typically patients should avoid more than 5-10 lbs for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery.
- Does laser surgery = minimally invasive surgery? Do you use the laser?
Minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes a wide variety of advanced techniques, including lasers, endoscopes, operating microscopes, as well as computer-assisted navigation systems, so that procedures typically done with a large, open decision can be done through small openings. The same goals of traditional spinal surgery are done in minimally invasive surgery, but they are done through smaller incision. So simple answer, laser does not equal minimally invasive surgery. Dr Park does utilize the laser if your pathology dictates its use.
- When can I go back to work?
When one can return to work depends on the reason you had surgery, what type of surgery, and what type of work you do. For patients with sedentary jobs, such as office work, a discectomy would allow that patient to begin part-time work within 1-2 weeks. For a larger surgery such as a fusion, this may take 4-6 weeks or longer.
- When should I have spine surgery?
Surgery should always be the last resort when it comes to treating spinal conditions in the neck and back. Non-operative treatment should be tried first in the vast majority of patients. Typically, a course of 3-6 months of nonoperative treatment is recommended before surgery. However, there are some conditions that are a surgical emergency such as loss of bowel and bladder control, trauma, and extreme weakness in the arms or legs. Ultimately, the decision for surgery should be individualized to the patient and the patient’s symptoms, along with their level of function.
- Am I candidate for minimally invasive surgery?
The field of minimally invasive spine surgery continues to grow. Most surgeries today can be treated with some aspect of minimally invasive surgery. However, there are certain conditions that require standard open treatment, such as high-degree scoliosis, tumors and some infections. The best options should be individualized to the patient’s diagnosis and overall patient condition.
- Will a resident or student doctor be operating on me?
Many gather to observe surgery with Dr Park and by working at an academic institution there are resident physicians that come to learn from Dr Park. However, Dr Park performs the surgery himself with an assistant to help retract and assist during the surgery.
- What is the benefit of minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery minimizes bleeding, reduces the hospital stay, and allows for quicker healing without losing any benefits of an open procedure.
- Do I need a brace?
Bracing is NOT needed following most spine surgeries. Dr Park may provide you with a brace to help remind you that you had surgery or if you had a fracture, a brace may be recommended after surgery as well.
- Can I go through a metal detector or another MRI?
The implants in spinal procedures (titanium and PEEK) do not set off the alarms in an airport and are MRI compatible.
- Will I need a note from my surgeon?
You do NOT need a clearance note from your spine surgeon.
For the majority of our fusion patients, minimal loss of flexibility is noticed.
Surgical specific details on your procedure
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