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Lumbar Laminectomy (cont.)

After the Procedure

  • Recovery: You will be moved to a recovery area until you are fully awake, and then you will return to your hospital room.
    • Normally you will lie on your side or back.
    • You may have a catheter in your bladder.
    • You should expect to have some pain at first. Nurses will provide pain medicine as needed.
    • You likely will wear compression stockings or compression boots to reduce the chance of blood clots developing in the legs.
  • Hospital room: Once you return to your hospital room, nurses will check your vital signs and help with pain control.
    • Depending on the surgeon's preferences and your needs, you may be given pain medicine orally or by IV injection.
    • The medication will not make you pain free, but it should make the pain tolerable.
    • Sometimes the surgeon will give you a machine that allows you to provide pain medicine as needed, within certain limits. Patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps allow you a little more control over managing your pain.
  • Walking: Usually you will begin to walk within hours of the surgery. To avoid loss of air in a lung or pneumonia, you may be asked to do a variety of breathing exercises.
  • Protection while moving: A few simple techniques will help reduce postsurgical pain and injury. The goal is to protect your back.
    • Tighten your abdominal muscles to help support your spine. Stand up straight, keeping your ears, shoulders, and hips in a straight line.
    • Always bend at the hip and not at the waist. Move your body as a unit and do not twist at the hips or shoulders.
  • Sleeping and getting in and out of bed: You may have difficulty sleeping for the first few nights, especially if the recommended positions are different from your normal sleeping positions. Some options include the following:
    • Sleep on your back with pillows under your neck and your knees.
    • Lie on your side with your knees slightly bent and a pillow between your knees.
    • Getting out of bed also can be tricky initially, but with some simple techniques, you can minimize possible injury or pain.
    • Tighten your abdominal muscles and roll on to your side, making sure to move your body as a unit.
    • Scoot to the edge of the bed and press down with your arms to raise your body. As you raise your body, gently swing your legs to the floor.
    • Place one foot behind the other, tighten your abdominal muscles, and raise your body with your legs.
    • To get into bed, back up to the edge of the bed, tighten your abdominal muscles, and lower yourself into bed with your legs.
    • Once sitting on the bed, use your arms to lower your body onto the bed while you lift your feet into bed.
    • Roll your body as one unit onto your back.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2013

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Lumbar Degenerative Disk Disease »

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