Care After Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery
This sheet gives you information about how to care for your child after the procedure. Your child’s health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. If you have problems or questions, contact your child’s health care provider.
What can I expect after the procedure?
After the procedure, it is common for children to have:
- Pain and discomfort in the area of the operation.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Give over-the-counter and prescription medicines (including any pain medicines) only as told by your child’s health care provider.
- Older children should not drive or use heavy machinery while taking prescription pain medicine.
- To prevent or treat constipation while your child is taking
prescription pain medicine, your child’s health care provider may recommend
that your child:
- Drink enough fluid to keep his or her urine pale yellow.
- Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Limit foods that are high in fat and processed sugars, such as fried and sweet foods.
If your child has a brace:
- Have your child wear the brace as told by your child’s health care provider. Remove it only as told by your child’s health care provider.
- Keep the brace clean.
- If the brace is not waterproof:
- Do not let it get wet.
- Cover it with a watertight covering when your child takes a bath or shower.
Managing pain, stiffness, and swelling
- If directed, put ice on the affected area.
- If your child has a removable brace, remove it as told by your child’s health care provider.
- Put ice in a plastic bag.
- Place a towel between your child’s skin and the bag.
- Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day.
- Follow instructions from your child’s health care provider about
how to take care of the incision. Make sure you:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before you change the bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Change the dressing as told by your child’s health care provider.
- Leave stitches (sutures), skin glue, or adhesive strips in place. These skin closures may need to stay in place for 2 weeks or longer. If adhesive strip edges start to loosen and curl up, you may trim the loose edges. Do not remove adhesive strips completely unless your child’s health care provider tells you to do that.
- Check your child’s incision area every day for signs of
infection. Check for:
- Redness, swelling, or pain.
- More fluid or blood.
- Pus or a bad smell.
- Have your child avoid exercise, sports, and activities that take a lot of effort as told by your child’s health care provider.
- Do not let your child lift anything that is heavier than 10 lb (4.5 kg), or the limit that you are told, until your child’s health care provider says that it is safe.
- Have your child avoid:
- Twisting his or her back.
- Bending forward.
- Your child may have to do breathing exercises to help his or her lungs. Scoliosis surgery may affect the lungs.
- Have your child return to normal activities as told by the health care provider. Ask the health care provider what activities are safe for your child.
- Your child may have to wear compression stockings and walk one or more times every few hours as told by the health care provider. Doing this will help to prevent blood clots and reduce swelling in your child’s legs.
- Do not let your child take baths, swim, or use a hot tub until your child’s health care provider approves.
- Keep all follow-up visits as told by your child’s health care provider. This is important.
Contact a health care provider if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has severe pain and medicines are not helping.
- Your child has redness, swelling, or pain in the incision area.
- Your child has more fluid or blood coming from the incisions.
- Your child’s incisions feel warm to the touch.
- Your child has pus or a bad smell coming from the incision area.
- Your child has weakness or numbness in the legs that is new or getting worse.
- Your child has trouble controlling urination or bowel movements.
- Your child’s legs become painful or swollen.
Get help right away if:
- Your child has trouble breathing.
- Your child has chest pain.
These symptoms may represent a serious problem that is an emergency. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away. Get medical help right away. Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
- After the procedure, it is common for your child to have pain and discomfort in the area of the incision.
- Check your child’s incision area every day for signs of infection.
- If your child is told to wear a back brace, follow instructions on wearing and removing it. Keep the brace clean.
- Contact a health care provider if your child develops problems, including pain, fever, and other signs of infection.
- Get help right away if your child has trouble breathing or has chest pain.