Spine surgery education

If you are a patient scheduled for spine surgery at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and are unable to attend the pre-operative class offered at either of these locations in person, your healthcare team requests that you please watch this series of spine preoperative videos.

Please allow about 25 minutes to view the video series. 

The videos will provide education on:

  • How to get ready for surgery
  • What to expect during your hospital stay
  • Pain management
  • Activity after spine surgery
  • After hospital care for spine surgery

To confirm you have completed watching the videos, please send an email with your name and the month your surgery is scheduled for to:  DL.ANWSpinePreop@allina.com

Please note that this email address is ONLY for confirming that you've watched the videos. If you have questions, please contact your clinic. We can't answer individual patient medical questions via this email.

Hello, and welcome to the Alina Health Spine Program Pre-surgery Education Class. My name is Katie, and I am a registered nurse with Alina Health. I've specialized in caring for patients after spine surgery for over 12 years. In addition to caring for patients after spine surgery, I have taught a spine pre-surgery education class at one of our Alina Health hospitals. It is recommended that you watch all of the spine pre-surgery education videos one to two weeks before your surgery. 

If your surgery is scheduled within less time, please watch the videos as soon as possible. If you think of questions during these videos, please write them down and call the number provided to you in your paperwork or contact your surgeon's office. As you watch these videos, you will get information about how to prepare for surgery, what to expect the day of your surgery and during your hospital stay, pain management, activity after spine surgery, and making plans for leaving the hospital and your follow up care. We will begin with discussing how to prepare for your surgery. Please complete the following checklist before your surgery. 

Be sure to review all information given to you from your surgeon one to two weeks before your surgery. The information given to you may include a patient education book, care map, pre-surgery instructions, and other materials to help you prepare for your surgery. Schedule and keep all of your appointments to make sure your surgery can take place as scheduled. Discuss all medicines you are taking with your health care provider. Be sure to discuss any prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including herbals or vitamins you are taking. It is important for you to know whether you need to stop taking a medicine before surgery and which medicines are safe for you to continue taking. 

Call your insurance company to find what is and isn't covered under your plan. You can fill out the worksheet in your patient education book to help you. You are encouraged to select a loved one or close friend to be your personal support coach. The recommended qualities in a coach are to be a caring and compassionate cheerleader, offer you comfort and support during your recovery, be available to actively participate and help with your rehabilitation, communicate with you and your health care team, help listen and encourage your return to normal activity. Your coach's responsibilities include reviewing the pre-surgery education and videos with you, being available during your hospital stay, helping you in your recovery when you leave the hospital. 

In the one to two weeks before your surgery, please review all pre-surgery instructions. Be sure to fill out and mail in any forms or paperwork that you have been asked to complete before your surgery. If you haven't already done so, please begin the strengthening program in your patient education book. Walking before surgery is also important and can help you to have a successful recovery. Talk with your primary care provider or surgeon about starting your exercise program. It is recommended that you practice the body mechanics or posture and movements you will be using after your spine surgery. You will move a little differently after your surgery as your spine heals. 

Practicing these body mechanics before surgery will help you be more successful using them after your surgery. Please watch part four, Activity After Spine Surgery, for more information about your body mechanics and your activity after surgery. Arrange for help with household tasks, including child and pet care if needed. You may also need help with laundry, grocery shopping, house cleaning, and yard work or snow removal. It is important to prepare your home for your needs after surgery to have a safe and successful recovery. Review the checklist in your patient education book for more information. 

Move items you use a lot to tabletop height surfaces or to middle shelves. Remove clutter and rearrange furniture to create clear walking paths in your home. This can help to prevent falling or tripping. Pick out a chair to use during your recovery. A good chair is supportive and firm with arms. Avoid overstuffed chairs or sofas. Check and secure all stair railings. It is best if all stairs have railings. Make sure your bathroom is safe. Consider installing grab bars and applying adhesive slip strips or a bath mat to the tub or shower floor. 

If you use any tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or chewing tobacco, it is recommended that you quit before your surgery. Tobacco use after surgery may interfere with the healing of your spine. Ask for support from your family, friends, and health care team to help you quit using tobacco products before your surgery. For more information about Allina Health's Smoking Cessation programs, visit alinahealth.org/classes or to attend a class call 1-866-904-9962. Please keep in mind that your surgery will be canceled if chewing tobacco is used the morning of surgery. 

Now, we will talk about what to bring for your hospital stay. Bring your patient education book and care map to the hospital. You will use these during your stay. Have your insurance cards and photo identification with you when you check in for surgery. If you have a health care directive, have a copy of it with you when you check in for surgery. Bring a list of the medicines you take. Be sure to include any prescription and over-the-counter medicines including herbals or vitamins. Do not bring your medicines with you. For your safety, medicines will be provided for you during your hospital stay. 

If you use a CPAP machine, bring it with you when you check in for surgery. If you are staying overnight in the hospital, pack a separate overnight bag with one or two sets of loose fitting, comfortable clothes and a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes to wear after surgery. Please have a family member or friend bring your belongings to the hospital after your surgery is done and you have been assigned a room number. Leave any valuables at home. You will be responsible for anything you bring to the hospital. 

Before surgery, it is important to call your surgeon's office if you have any changes in your health, especially to your teeth or skin. A tooth infection or abscess, skin infection, rash, open sore, or cut put you at risk for an infection and needs to be addressed before your surgery. Remove nail polish and artificial fingernails before surgery. Your oxygen level will be monitored through your finger nail beds during your surgery. Remove all jewelry before coming to the hospital. Please do not bring jewelry to the hospital with you. Cleanse your skin as directed. 

Thank you for watching part one-- How to Prepare For Surgery. For information about what to expect the day of surgery and during your hospital stay, please watch part two.