Preparing for Spine Surgery


Once you've decided to have spine surgery, there are a number of preparations to make. Remember: you don't have to do everything alone! We're here to help you as much as possible.


Pre-registration for Surgery at Piedmont Hospital

Please register with Piedmont Hospital for your surgery at least three days before your surgery but no sooner than 30 days before your surgery. You may find more information regarding registration in the Piedmont Hospital Inpatient Surgery Information Guide.


Pre-operative Spine Surgery Education

Any patient and/or family member scheduled for spine surgery at Piedmont Hospital must attend the pre-operative spine surgery course. This class will help patients undergoing spine surgery to better understand what to expect in the hospital and at home. The class will consist of:

  • Tips for preparing for surgery.
  • What to expect during the hospital stay and after discharge.
  • Review of body mechanics and neck and back precautions for your lifestyle.

To attend a spine class, click here.

Medical Clearance for Surgery

In most cases, your surgeon will also require you to obtain medical clearance prior to your surgery. This can be done in the Admissions Testing Area. Please see the Inpatient Surgery Information packet for instructions.


Questions to Ask at Your Medical Clearance Appointment

  • Which medications should I take on the morning of surgery?
  • If I take anticoagulants, such as Coumadin or aspirin, when should I stop taking them before surgery?
  • Before surgery, when should I stop taking aspirin products and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (such as Advil or Aleve)?
  • Are there any other special instructions I should follow as I prepare for my surgery?


Verify Insurance Coverage

If you have health insurance, the hospital and the surgeon's office must contact your insurance company before surgery to verify your coverage. However, we strongly recommend contacting your insurance company to verify your benefits. The following is a list of questions to ask your insurance provider before your surgery:

  • Does my hospital stay need to be pre-approved? If yes, who should pre-approve my hospital stay? What do I need to do to receive pre-approval?
  • Will additional hospital days be covered if there are complications? If yes, how many extra days are allowed?
  • What is my out-of-pocket maximum?
  • What is my policy's lifetime maximum?
  • Is a second opinion required?
  • If I can't return to my prior living arrangements immediately upon discharge, do I have rehabilitation and physical therapy benefits?


Returning to Work or School

After your surgery, you can expect to be off work for the first two to six weeks after you have been discharged from the hospital. Your surgeon will discuss this with you before and after you leave the hospital. If your employer or school requires any information regarding your absence, please ask your surgeon for the necessary paperwork.


Other Things to Do To Prepare For Surgery

  • Medications

Please review your current medications with the surgeon prior to your surgery. Your surgeon will tell you which medications to continue and which medications to discontinue before your surgery. Your surgeon will also tell you when you may resume them after your surgery.

  • Smoking

Smoking is detrimental to your health, especially during and after spine surgery. Smokers are at greater risk for lung and heart complications during surgery. After surgery, smokers have a higher likelihood of incomplete or delayed healing of spinal fusions. It is important to tell your surgeon if you are a smoker. It is even more important to quit altogether. Don't wait until the day of surgery to start planning how to quit smoking.

  • Advanced Directives

All hospitals are legally required to provide information on advanced directives to every patient. If you already have advanced directives, please bring a copy to the hospital. For more information regarding advanced directives, please contact 404-605-3692.

Source: Piedmont Spine Surgery Patient Education Guide

Piedmont App

Download the Piedmont Now app

  • Directions
  • Indoor Hospital Navigation
  • Find & Save Physicians
  • Online Scheduling

Download the app today!

Get the Piedmont Now on Google Play Get the Piedmont Now on iTunes App Store