Preparing foryour procedure

Tests and imaging

Before surgery you’ll need to have some tests and imaging including blood and urine tests, an X-ray, CT scan and/or MRI. Be sure to bring your imaging with you to the hospital. Read more about common diagnostic procedures.

If any issues are raised by your tests and imaging, your surgeon may have to postpone or cancel your surgery.

Stopping smoking

Smoking dramatically reduces the chances of a successful bone graft. The rate for failure of bone fusion is 4% to 10% for non-smokers versus 20% to 30% for smokers.

It can also affect your chances of returning to work after surgery. 71% of non-smokers return to work after surgery versus only 51% of smokers. Return to work increases to 68% for smokers who quit for more than a month before surgery.

If you’re having spinal fusion surgery, you must stop smoking for at least the 2 weeks before and after surgery.

This could be a good opportunity to quit completely. 


Your surgeon may ask you to stop taking certain medications (especially blood-thinners) before your surgery. If you drink alcohol, ask your surgeon whether you should abstain from these before your surgery.

Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking.

Your anaesthetic options

About your anaesthesia options and post-op pain relief.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.