When your procedure’s finished, you’ll be taken to the recovery area.
Nurses will monitor your breathing and vital signs in the recovery area or intensive care unit, if you need closer monitoring. Once your signs are stable, they’ll take you to the ward.
You’ll be given pain relief prescribed by your anaesthetist. By enabling you to move and breathe without too much discomfort, good pain relief can help reduce your risk of complications.
Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) is often used in the first day or so. This is an opioid drug delivered through a cannula into a vein. You can control the amount of pain relief you receive by pressing a button.
Injections of pain relieving medication can be delivered by cannula or into a muscle.
Pills, tablets or liquids can be given at regular times, or when pain starts to bother you.
For lumbar disc replacement, you’ll probably stay in bed for the first 24 hours, depending on your surgeon’s instructions. After this time, the nurses and physiotherapists will encourage you to stand up and walk around. This is to speed your recovery and reduce your risk of complications such as blood clots. Your urinary catheter and IV line will be removed once you’re mobile.
For cervical disc replacement, you may be encouraged to stand up and move around the same day and discharged from hospital the next day after clearance by your physiotherapist.
You may experience swelling around the incision, with some minor blood loss. The doctor and/or nursing staff will monitor your wound. If you notice an increase in blood loss or pain, report this to the nursing staff.
For lumbar disc replacement, on the second day following your surgery, the physiotherapist will most likely visit to begin your rehabilitation. They’ll provide advice and treatment to increase your flexibility, increase core strength and safe lifting strategies.
The length of your hospital stay depends on your recovery and can vary from 2 to 7 days.