What to Expect
At Expert Spine Care, we understand how debilitating spine conditions can be and also how inconvenient spine surgery can be to your schedule. Our goal is to streamline the process as much as possible, not only through our minimally invasive techniques but also by guiding you before and after the procedure. While many of our procedures are outpatient, some do require a short hospital stay. Regardless, we want our patients to be informed and prepared so you can get back to your life faster. We have prepared a Expert Spine Care Preoperative Guide (see the sections below or download) and encourage you to review and contact us (615-329-0333) with any questions.
Once surgery has been decided, my office will contact your insurance and supporting documentation from our visits will be forward to your insurance company. The approval process for surgery can vary depending on what type of surgery is being scheduled. At times, the process is very easy. Other times, the approval process can take weeks or months (as in the case of denials and appeals). Once your insurance approves the surgery, my office will coordinate with you and mutually we will decide the best date for surgery.
f you are over the age of 50 years old, have multiple medical conditions, or have ever seen a cardiologist for any reason; you will be required to get medical clearances from your primary care physician and/or cardiologist. If you are getting a total joint replacement procedure, then you will also need a clearance letter from your dentist. These clearances are required before you can have your surgery. The sooner you can get the medical clearance letters, the sooner you can have your surgery scheduled.
I ask that you bring in copies of the letters with you to your next appointment. Physician’s offices frequently will offer to send the letters via facsimile; however, most often, those letters are never sent and require multiple phones calls from my staff in order to obtain them.
It is BEST and more EXPEDIANT that you bring copies of those letters yourself and hand deliver them to my staff. You can also bring the letters on your preoperative visit that will be scheduled.
You will be asked to come by the office 1-2 weeks prior to your anticipated surgical date. During this visit, bring any family members or close acquaintances that will be with you on the day of surgery. The preoperative visit is the time that I set aside to go over how I do the surgery and answer any questions that anybody may have. Remember to write your questions down before coming so that you do not forget to ask those questions during your visit. If not done so already, we will sign the surgical consent forms for the surgery.
On the preoperative visit and if you were informed, bring copies of the letters of medical clearances with you. These will be included in your hospital chart and part of your permanent medical record with the hospital.
If a brace is needed after surgery, you will either be fitted for brace or given a prescription in order to go and get your brace. My office staff will work with you, but you will need to bring your brace on the day of your surgery to the hospital.
At times, the hospital will require you to go and get preoperative blood work. My office tries to usually coordinate this to best fit your schedule and the preoperative visit date. Usually the hospital blood work and our preoperative visit are scheduled on the same day.
If you have having joint replacement surgery, you will also be required to participate in the “Joint” class offered at the hospital. This class will go over what to expect during your recovery following joint replacement and answer most questions people have.
Discontinue all anti-inflammatory medications (Motrin, Naproxen, Ibuprofen) and aspirin at least 7 days prior to your planned surgery. Any herbal medications should also be stopped at least 7 days from the date of surgery. If you are on blood thinners (Coumadin), stop at least 5-7 days prior to surgery.
On the night prior to surgery, do not eat or drink any fluids after midnight.
Remember not to eat or drink anything the morning of your surgery (to include chewing gum).
Arrive early for your appointment. You will be notified in advance on what time you are expected to show up and where to be. If you are more then 30 minutes late, your surgery will either be canceled or rescheduled.
On the morning of surgery, you can take any medication that your primary care physician and/or cardiologist recommended you take on the day of your surgery with a small sip of water. Usually, the only medications that can be taken on the day of surgery are hypertension (blood pressure) medications. If you have questions about which medications you can take, speak with the preoperative nurse at the hospital or your primary care physician.
What to bring to the hospital
- Brace (neck or back) if you were prescribed one
- List of all medications (name, dosage, and frequency)
- Home medications that are unique
- Extra clothes (pajamas) if you are staying overnight
Do not bring to the hospital
- Any jewelry, watches, earrings, rings
- Do not wear any excessive make-up
- It is best to remove dentures and give to family members prior to your staging in the PACU.
Post Operative Care
The Expert Spine Care team’s goal is to help you navigate the road to recovery as quickly as possible. Post operative care is very important in making this happen. You want to make sure you take any medications prescribed, follow our post operative care instructions and always keep your follow-up appointments. Healing times vary for a number of reasons, but the best approach is a gradual return to your normal routine. Our team will be in contact with you throughout this process, but we have also provided links below with additional post operative care information.