9. Tips for Parents After Spinal Fusion

The following are suggestions from families of children or teens who have undergone spinal fusion:
  • Bring a pad of paper and a pen to take notes and list questions you may have for the doctor. Doctors usually visit in the morning and during the course of a day, you may forget some of your questions.
  • Bring a journal to record what happens during the hospital stay and your thoughts. This is a great stress reliever and opportunity for your child to look back on his or her experience.
  • If your child has long hair, braid it before surgery.
  • Bring a camera.
  • Bring all needed phone numbers to the hospital.
  • Set up a "calling tree" to help you update others about your child’s progress. For example, you might make one phone call to a friend or family member and then have that person call others.
  • Limit all visitors until at least the third day after surgery.
  • Bring comfortable clothes for you to sleep in during your hospital stay. There is little privacy.
  • Bring a water bottle for yourself.
  • For your child, bring button-front pajamas/shirts and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Bring lip balm for your child.
  • It is common for girls to menstruate during their hospital stay, so be sure to bring your own personal hygiene supplies.
  • Your child may have swelling of the face, arms, hands or other areas after surgery. This is common and will decrease within a day or two.
  • In the first few days after surgery, your child will receive a significant amount of medication to help him/her be comfortable. It is helpful to tell your child the date and time every time that he/she is awake.
  • Do not allow visitors to sit on or bump your child’s bed. Instruct visitors to be gentle when they touch.
  • Be prepared for your child to exhibit a wide range of emotions you may not be accustomed to seeing. This is very common after spinal fusion surgery.
  • Limit perfumes and colognes as your child may be sensitive to even familiar scents.
  • Bring several pillows for the car ride home.
  • It may be helpful to use a baby monitor to help your child communicate at home.

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