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Postoperative Care

Vital Signs
The nursing staff will continue to monitor your vital signs including blood pressure, pulse and temperature after your surgery. They will need to continue monitoring you even at night when you may be asleep.  To monitor your oxygen saturation a nurse may place a probe on your finger or your ear. You will be instructed on deep breathing and use of a special device called an incentive spirometer. You may also receive supplemental oxygen to assist your breathing.

Your dressings will be checked and monitored for drainage. Some patients may have a tube coming from the dressing to a collection container, this is a surgical drain and the nurse will record how much is in the container. The drainage will be bloody. This is normal and expected as a part of the recovery process.

IV and Catheters
An IV will continue to be used and provide you with fluids and medicine to prevent infection (antibiotics). It may also be used to give you pain medication.

Most patients have a tube in their bladder to drain their urine. Staff may call this a “Foley catheter” or a “Foley.” The nursing staff will measure the output from this tube/catheter. This tube/catheter is present because of the decreased sensation in your bladder caused by certain forms of pain control. It is removed as early as possible, usually on the day of surgery.

Inpatient Unit
After your spine surgery, you will be admitted to your room where you will receive specialized care by nurses specifically trained to take care of patients that have undergone spine surgery.