What to Expect From Spine Surgery

  • We understand that having surgery can be overwhelming. At Memorial Spine, we do everything we can to make your experience as comfortable as possible. The information here will let you know what to expect before, during, and after your surgery.

    surgery center at Memorial HealthSeveral Days Before Surgery
    You will be asked to attend a pre-surgical education class with a family member or caregiver. We have found that well-informed patients and families are key to a successful surgery. Our pre-surgical class prepares you for surgery, introduces our spine care team, and answers any questions you may have. Pre-surgical classes are held on Mondays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Wednesdays at 10 a.m., and Fridays at 11 a.m. Call 912-350-0186 for more information.

    Arrival and Check In
    You will arrive at Memorial University Medical Center through the Day Surgery entrance. Day Surgery offers free valet parking or you may park your car in Parking Deck B. A member of our patient and family centered care team will ask you for your contact information, get you checked in, and give you a welcome bag that contains complimentary gifts for you and your family.

    Surgery
    You will be taken to our pre-anesthesia care unit. We will conduct some simple tests and prepare you for surgery. You will be asked to remove your clothing and wear a surgical gown. Your personal belongings will be returned to friends or family in the waiting area. You will be taken into a surgical suite and given anesthesia. Your surgery will take from one to three hours, depending on the procedure. Your family will be able to follow your progress on an electronic patient tracking screen in our waiting area.

    nurse with patientWaking Up
    You will wake up in our post-anesthesia care unit. You will spend one to two hours recovering. Nurses will monitor you to make sure you are not experiencing any problems or severe discomfort. When you are fully awake, you will be transferred to the Memorial Spine unit, located in the ambulatory care unit on the first floor of Memorial University Medical Center. (See a map of the first floor of the hospital.)

    Recovery After Surgery
    On the Memorial Spine unit, specially trained nurses will monitor you and follow evidence-based guidelines to ensure the best outcome. They will help you control your pain, encourage you to move around, encourage you to eat, and encourage you to use the restroom as needed. All of these things help your body begin the road to recovery. A Memorial Spine coordinator will visit you to provide education, answer questions, and make sure you are comfortable.

    doctor with caregiverGoing Home
    Your length of stay will depend on the type of surgery you have. Many people are able to return home in less than 24 hours. If you must stay longer, your physician will keep you informed about your approximate length of stay.