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Prevention of Complications after Spine Surgery

As your surgeon discussed with you, there is a potential for complications after your spine surgery. We will do what we can to prevent any such complications.

Pneumonia

Deep-Breathing Exercises

Deep-breathing exercises are performed to prevent pneumonia. Your nurse will show you how to use a device called an incentive spirometer. The spirometer helps open your airways after surgery, bringing in as much oxygen as possible. This exercise involves breathing in slowly and deeply, holding it for approximately 10 seconds, and then exhaling. Perform this exercise 10 times every one to two hours while you are awake.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

The following devices and exercises help to prevent blood clots in your legs. Such clots are also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Antiembolism (TED®) Hose

TED hose are heavy white stockings worn on your legs to help with circulation. You'll wear these from the time you have spine surgery until you're walking the length of the hallway two or three times a day.

Sequential Compression Device (SCD)

SCDs are devices that wrap around your legs from your ankle to your thigh. They periodically fill up with air to gently squeeze your legs and help with the circulation in your legs. You'll wear SCDs from the time you have your spine surgery until you are walking the length of the hallway two or three times a day.

PlexiPulse®

PlexiPulse is a device that wraps around each foot. They periodically fill up with air to gently compress your foot. You'll wear the PlexiPulse from the time you have your spine surgery until you are walking the length of the hallway two to three times a day.

Circulation Exercises

To keep circulation flowing adequately through your legs and to prevent blood clots, your nurse will show you how to perform foot pumping exercises, which simulate walking.

  • Point your toes toward the foot of the bed and tighten your thigh muscles.
  • Pull your toes up toward your chin and tighten your calf muscles.
  • Complete each exercise 10 times every hour while you are awake.

These exercises will begin immediately after spine surgery and will continue until you are discharged.

Source: Piedmont Spine Surgery Patient Education Guide