Preparing for Spine Surgery

Research shows that patients well-informed and prepared for spine surgery experience less stress and more successful surgical outcomes. Additionally, open and honest communication with your surgeon and healthcare team will significantly benefit you and can help you best prepare, both mentally and physically, for spine surgery.

Even if a question seems silly or unnecessary to you, please do ask your surgeon and providers any questions you may have so that you can feel best prepared for surgery. Every spine surgery patient, no matter the condition or type of procedure they are undergoing, should have a clear understanding of the goal of that procedure for them. Though no surgical procedure can guarantee 100 percent success or be completely risk-free, the goal is to pave the way for your full recovery.

The following are general guidelines that can help prepare you for spine surgery. Understanding this information can help alleviate stress in the period before surgery and can also reduce the risk of cancellation of your spine surgery for health and safety reasons.

  1. Stop Smoking – at least one month before surgery. Nicotine slows down the healing process and the critical fusion of bones. Tobacco usage also increases the chances of experiencing chronic pain as well as contracting pneumonia after surgery. Smoking cessation can be difficult. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to let your surgeon or your care team know. They can help provide you with the resources you need to quit for good. The American Lung Association also has various helpful resources to help smokers quit at
  2. Reduce Consumption of Alcohol – Drinking alcohol before surgery can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery, may interfere with anesthesia, and can even delay spine surgery recovery. If you are someone who consumes alcohol daily, it is essential to be honest and forthright with this information to your surgeon and your care team. Depending on your needs, there may be medications available that can help relieve withdrawal symptoms associated with a reduction in alcohol consumption.
  3. Decrease Pain Medication Usage – Regular use of some pain medications before surgery can reduce their effect over time. If you are currently taking medication for back or neck pain, it is crucial to communicate what and how much you take daily with your surgeon and care team. High doses of some pain medications can also negatively affect spine surgery recovery. A reduction in pain medication usage before surgery can help with pain control while in the hospital recovering from spine surgery. If you need help with cutting back on pain medication, contact the physician who has prescribed the drug or discuss how to do so with your surgeon and care team.
  4. Know Which Medications to STOP Before Spine Surgery – If you regularly take ANY medication (including herbal supplements and vitamins) for any health conditions, it is crucial to discuss them with your surgeon and care team. Certain medications can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. These medication types may include but are not limited to aspirin, Vitamin E, NSAIDs, and anti-coagulant drugs. These medications usually need to be stopped 7-10 days before your surgery date. Check with your surgeon and care team for a complete list of these medications, including the brand names they often go by. If you are unsure whether a specific drug may put you at risk during surgery, err on the side of caution and discuss it with us well in advance.
  5. Weight Management – Obesity or being significantly overweight is another risk factor that can contribute to adverse complications after spine surgery, including increasing the risk of pulmonary complications during and after surgery and wound infections. Obesity can also cause some surgical procedures to become technically more difficult. If you are obese or significantly overweight, it is a wise idea to seek help and professional weight-reduction guidance from a doctor or dietician well before surgery.

Why Choose Us

Our center has pioneered minimally invasive spine procedures and researched new techniques over our more than 20 years in clinical practice. Dr. Anand is a leading expert on minimally invasive spine surgery. He has extensive training in motion preservation techniques that allows him to improve a patient’s mobility after surgery.
When you come to The Anand Spine Group, you will receive both compassionate and advanced care and from our highly qualified team of physicians and nurses.
Call us today at (310) 423-9779 to take that first step down the road to recovery.