Sunday, June 1, 2014

Things to prepare for Pre Spinal Fusion for scoliosis surgery

Being informed by the spine doctor that you or your child need to go through spine surgery to correct scoliosis (the disorder of the spine where the spine vertebrae twist and bend abnormally) is indeed very tormenting.  Most people will go back to the drawing board to do risk and benefits assessments.  Then as you go through you began to see that the list of benefits is more than the risk.

Do not hesitate to take up surgery for spinal fusion for Scoliosis as per the spine doctor recommend.   Let me paint a picture to your mind.
Body structure the external look = a house
Spine = post and beams
Internal organs (heart, lungs, stomach, intestine, bowels system) = furniture and fittings inside that house.
Of unknown reason, somehow the beam/post of the house slant and go out of place day by day.  The house in the initial stage the structure still look good at first glance, the furniture in the house are not affected.  Each day the beam/post slant more and more.  Eventually the house structure got distorted.  If the beam/post could not restore on time the furniture inside the house will get crush.  Therefore never delay and regret later when discover that the beam is too faulty and the only option left is wait and watch the very moment the beam crush down the furniture.

With the above I hope that you would not procrastinate anymore.  If the curve is under severe category do not have wavering thoughts. You need to accept the fact that surgery is the only option.  Source a good spine surgeon and plan the date of the surgery.  Start to do planning for pre-operations and post-operations. Mentally/emotionally prepare and having physical readiness makes a lot of difference on recovery rate.

List of things to prepare for Pre Spinal Fusion for scoliosis surgery

  • Abstain food/supplement that do blood thinning for at least 2 weeks before the surgery eg (gingko, ginseng, chicken of essence, vitamin E supplementary).  Personally I stopped consume any vitamins/supplement prior 3 weeks before the surgery to avoid excessive bleeding during the surgery that may lead to complication.
  • Is very important to maintain the body in the top-notch health as possible to enter the operating theatre.  Make sure no sickness not even the common flu, cough and fever for at least one month prior to the surgery.  This is to ensure the body is well prepared and ready for the upcoming tremendous stress during the surgery and have a good recovery rate.
  • Practice the logroll techniques how to get in and out from the bed.  I practice and habitual this technique prior to the surgery as I am aware at all time we need to ensure to keep the body straight, no twisting and body bend after the spinal fusion surgery. No body bending/twisting is the temporary restriction until the spine is fussed up.  This is normally about 9-12 months. Click this to discover  What is logroll technique?
  • I also change and start to habitual some movements eg wash my hair on standing position.
  • It is also good to prepare the home for post-ops recovery needs.  As temporarily restriction of no body bending during the recovery period, rearrange the bed to downstairs in a double storey house really help. This is due to after surgery the patient will takes some times to get adjusted to the straight spine in their movements.  Climbing up stairs is quite challenging initially.  
  • Change/buy new mattress if it is sagging.
  • Re-arrange some of the necessities items eg clothes, toiletries and some others household items to be easily assessable with no body bending is required.  

  • Besides no body bending, there are weight limitations during recovery period as well. I did up to the level of re-organised my liquid detergent to a smaller bottle.
  • Get some special equipment like grabber.  It is really handy for picking up things from the ground. 

  • Depending on some people, some during the initial recovery period they need plastic chair for them to sit down during shower.  
  • Being advised by some past patient that it is also handy to have clothes that are button in front during the recovery period as some may have difficulties to raise their arms. Every individual body are different I have no problem in lifting my arms and hands. In fact I did my shower and hair washing with no one to assist me since the very day all the IV tubes are detached from my body.

  • Pack only the necessary items to be use at the hospital eg toiletries, a sets of clothes to wear when discharge from hospital is sufficient.  Do not overly pack cause the hospital single room is not as big as the hotel’s suite.  Anyway while you are in the hospital you need to wear the hospital gown instead of your normal clothes. Normally patient who undergo spinal fusion for scoliosis are discharge after 3 – 4 days.  My surgeon wanted to discharge me on the third day but I request to stay one more day. 
  • You may want to include a pair of sock, blanket and favorite small soft toy into your packing list for your hospital stay.
  • If you are a female, include sanitary napkins as one of the items to pack along to the hospital. I discovered many are like me, somehow our body due to keep thinking of the up-coming surgery it just mess up the usual cycle.  Only after the surgery when the body is not so tense then menstruation appear immediate back. I believe you are like me have own preference sanitary napkin.
  • Pre-arrange to have someone stay at home to assist you in the initial recovery period. You may be like me capable to take care of your own hygiene however you still need people help to prepare and take care of your meals.  In the initial stage of recovery I spend a lot of time sleeping and bed rest.
  • If you have long hair, do considered to trim it short before the admission in order to ease hair washing during recovery period. 

  • Most probably you are not allowed to squat for a period of time during recovery. It is very practical to trim the toes nails one day before the admission unless you have someone to assist you.
  • Get ready some interesting books.  Books are good company beside laptop/ipad and hand-phone during the recovery period.
  • Put up a big reminder “remove nail polish before admission”. Nail polish deter oxygen level monitoring as it block the true colour of the nail bed.  Do not paint your finger or toe nails with Henna (inai) as well.
  • It is much practical to use spectacles than contact lenses during your hospitalization.
  • Remember to remove all jewelry from your body before admission. Do not take any risk of possibilities being stolen. Even so they are worthless, the necklace image in the full spine x-ray will confused the spine doctor.
  • Check all the shoes, sandal and slippers make sure the sole are not worn out.  This is to ensure that they are still in good condition and have good traction in helping to avoid slipping.  It is advisable during spinal fusion recovery not to slip/fall.
  • Particularly for female to get ready at least a pair of comfortable flat shoes.  My surgeon advice me to shelf off my court shoes for at least 4 months. 
  • Get some comfortable loose fits cotton clothes these really help during recovery.  Personally in the initial recovery period I wish to give breathing space for my incision scar. 

Additional items for adults to take notes 
  • How soon you will be driving again depends very much how long can you sit on a chair without getting up to walk around.  I only start driving on the 8th weeks post operations after I could feel that my muscles are fit and ready to handle my manual cars.
  • If you are being employed pre-inform your superior about the surgery.  Perform a proper work hand-over.  This is to avoid matters related to work disturbance during your recovery period.
  • Upfront handle your utilities bills and any up-coming bills in the next 1 – 2 months.  This is to avoid servicing interest charges.
  • Based on the facts of having weight restriction and no body bending during recovery, I do spring cleaning on my closet and  did a good cleaning thoroughly the whole house before my admission.
For those who are student
  • Guardians/parents need to pre-inform the form teacher about your child will be absent from school for at least 3 – 4 weeks due to spinal fusion for scoliosis surgery.
  • Inform the teacher about the weight limitation of your child when she/he return back to school.  Arrange with the teacher is it possible to leave your child school bag for the teacher to manage or sharing of books with other student during class.
  • Inform the physical education teacher that your child will need to abstain from PE during the recovery period.
  • Remind the form teacher to educate the other students not to push or engage in any sort of activities that can accidentally cause your child to slip/fall.
  • Inform the form teacher to educate the other student to gives moral support and assistance to your child.  In some cases the patient after surgery is required to wear lumbar brace for a period of time. This piece of gadget may cause your child to have an extra nickname.
  • Pre-inform the transporters the condition of your child if you do not ferry your child in and out to school.
  • As most school toilet are squat.  Inform your child do not be ashamed if required a trustworthy friend assistance. 



JoVial said...

Hai Madam Wong, I am Chai Fong Wei. I am the patient of Dr Lim Wai Kong. Your sharing in your blog are very useful for me as I am going to spine surgery soon after next week. My spine surgery doctor is Prof Kwan. Dr Lim assigning me to get Prof opinion after he calling you the other day. I am seeking for your advice regarding to the surgery. Below is the questions that I wish to ask you:
1. Do we allow bath on the next day of surgery?
2. My younger sister will accompany me when i am in the hospital, do hospital provide a place for rest?
3. Do i have difficulty to eat after surgery?

Actually before reading your blog, i got a lot of questions in my mind. Now, only leave little.

JoVial said...

Hai Madam Wong, my name is Chai Fong Wei. I am the patient of Dr Lim. Your sharing in blog regarding to the surgery have help me a lot as i am going to surgery after next week. My spine Dr is Prof Kwan as well. Very thankful where you told Dr Lim about the doctor. I wish to get your advice for the surgery. Actually i have a lot of questions in my mine before i reading your blog, now has much more lesser.

1. my sister will accompany me in the hospital, is hospital provide any bed service for visitor?

2. Will i have difficulty to eat after surgery?

3. Do i allow to bath after the day of surgery?

4. i am currently having coughing, i wish my coughing wont make me cut pain.

Madam Wong, thanks for reading my comment. Hope to hear you soon. my email is

JoVial said...

Madam Wong, sorry for drop by so many times. I would like to ask about the bed. what kind of mattress i should prepare for myself? hard or soft? how about pillow?

Wong Chor Mun said...

Dear Fong Wei,

Thank you for dropping down your comments.. A few weeks ago I start to recall Prof Dr Lim told me once that spine surgery is many times safer than those years.. That statement seems to be just a common conversation however it has planted a seed into my brain...
After about two years from that statement I seems to be blown carry by "the wind' to seek medical help for my scoliosis that has deteriorate a lot. I never expect that through that I extended the message of there is help for scoliosis to a lot of people. Fong Wei soon you will be walking taller than before.. having a straighter body and everything from your view is so much beautiful and nicer than before...