Lumbar Spine Surgery Post-Operative Instructions

F. Donovan Kendrick, M.D.


You have recently had spine surgery. The success of your surgery depends to some extent on the next few weeks. Therefore, it is very important that you follow these instructions as closely as possible.

Wound Care

Change your dressing as often as necessary to keep the wound clean and dry. You may want to use a bandaid to cover most incisions. If your dressing becomes wet or soiled, change the dressing immediately. Be certain to wash your hands and keep the wound clean. If you have metal staples on your incision, you will need to keep your back dry until the staples are removed. Otherwise, you may shower after five days. No ointment, creams or cleaning of the wound is required.

Activity & Travel

For the next two weeks, try to limit your activity as much as possible. ABSOLUTELY no lifting, straining, or bending. Stairs are okay if taken slowly. Spend most of your time standing or reclining. Sitting is discouraged. Do not drive for one week. Except for the trip home from the hospital, no car travel for the first week. After that, you may ride or drive short distances if you feel comfortable and safe.

Follow Up

Please call the office for an appointment for your next office visit. Generally, this will be about two weeks after your surgery. Return to work can be anticipated in 2 to 4 weeks for patients having sedentary jobs and 8 to 12 weeks for patients whose job requires heavy manual labor.