For people who have undergone cervical disc replacement in India, it is important to know about the pre- and post-operative care so their surgery can be a success. While the cost of cervical disc replacement in India is just a fraction of what it costs in the more developed parts of the world, post-operative complications can make any surgery twice as expensive.
Listed below are the pre- and post-operative measures that must be undertaken by anyone considering cervical disc replacement in India.
Pre-operative Care/Factors to Consider
- Understand the benefits and risks of cervical spine surgery. It will help you be mentally prepared and have realistic expectations from the surgery. A report by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence showed that 65% of people who had one cervical disc replaced, and 77% of those who had surgery at two sites in the neck, claimed to have ‘excellent’ improvement in their symptoms. It was further revealed in some tests that the muscle strength and sensations in the neck and arm had improved in these patients.
- On the other hand, there might also be some adverse after-effects of neck surgery, which include temporary hoarse voice (13%), moderate problems with swallowing (4%) and temporary paralysis of the nerves to the voicebox (4%). Also, not everyone may completely get rid of pain after cervical disc replacement, though significant reduction in pain is usually seen.
- Inform your surgeon of any medications that you take on a regular basis. Some of these may interfere with anesthesia or cause other complications, so the spine surgeon may ask you to discontinue some for the time being or modify the doses of some others.
- The surgeon may advise you to practice aerobics, stretching, and breathing exercises well in advance, so that your body is in the best possible condition before surgery.
- You may need to work with a physiotherapist before the surgery, so that you know the proper ways to move post-surgery. This will be necessary to minimize dislocation risks.
- You may be asked to prepare to quit or cut down smoking well in advance of the surgery to aid the recovery process.
- Prepare your home and stock up on easy to prepare foods and other essentials. Place the phone, utensils, clothes, shoes, and other frequently used things in such a way that you can reach them without much of bending or stretching.
- Since you will not be able to do physical work for some time after surgery, arrange for someone to take care of the daily chores once you go back home. Also, arrange for someone to drive you back when you are discharged from the hospital.
- Minimally invasive disc replacement surgery generally does not involve much of blood loss. However you may need to donate your own blood before surgery for autologous transfusion, just in case of an emergency. Using your own blood safeguards you from risks like contracting HIV, Hepatitis, or other infections. If blood donation is needed, you will be given nutritional supplements like iron and calcium to restore your blood balance.
- Blood pressure, blood glucose levels and other routine tests are conducted a week to ten days before surgery.
- You will be admitted to the hospital in the morning on the day of the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after your dinner on the day before the surgery.
Post-operative Care for Cervical Disk Replacement
- Artificial disks for the neck are less invasive compared to many other back surgeries. Hence, most patients can leave the hospital in two days after surgery.
- You will be encouraged to move around a few hours after surgery. This is to prevent clots.
- The incision site may be painful for a few days. Pain medications will be given to give you relief.
- Patients are given a soft collar to protect the neck.
- A three-week rest is generally advised before returning to sedentary work. Strenuous physical work should be avoided for at least six weeks post-surgery.
- If the patient had severely restricted neck mobility prior to surgery, he/she may need physiotherapy after surgery to reintroduce movement.
- Your neurosurgeon will develop a customized post-operative recovery and exercise plan for you. Sticking to this plan is the key to your recovery.
- Patient needs to be in touch with his/her surgeon for a considerable time after surgery for follow-up checks. Four to five months of medical monitoring is mandatory.
- If you develop fever after the surgery, notify your doctor.
Traveling Post-Cervical Disk Replacement
Patients, who have had their cervical disc replacement in India, or any other country, must ask their doctor about how soon they will be able to fly back, before booking the return tickets.
Medical Trip’s package for cervical disc replacement abroad includes an 8-10 day stay at the hospital. This feature has been included keeping in mind the recuperation period required before a long flight home. Also, we have special arrangements with a choice of hotels just in case additional recuperation time is advised before flying back.
Pre- and post-operative care is crucial for the success of any surgery and cervical disc replacement is no exception. The tips given here are only indicative. Your health professional will discuss this matter with you in detail.
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