Discharge Instructions for Laminectomy

A surgeon removed a piece of bone from the back of your spine called the lamina. This procedure is called laminectomy. Its purpose is to relieve the pressure caused by a bulging disk, ligament, cyst, tumor, or bone that painfully pushes on a nerve. Below are some care tips you can follow at home to help you feel better.

Activity

  • Don't push, pull, bend, or twist for  2 weeks after your surgery. Use a long-handled "grabber" to pick items up from the floor. You can also use an assistive device to help pull on your socks without bending. Ask your physical therapist about these items before you leave the hospital.

  • Don’t sit for more than  20 to 30  minutes at a time. And when you aren’t sitting, lie down or walk.

  • Walk as much as you can. You can walk outside or inside. If you use a treadmill, walk at a slow speed, with no incline.

  • Going up and down stairs is also good for you, so do it as much as possible. Don’t lift anything heavier than  10 pounds  until your healthcare provider says otherwise.

  • Don’t drive for  2 to 3 weeks after your surgery. And never drive if you are taking opioids or other pain medicines that can make you drowsy. Let others drive you instead. And limit car trips to  20 to 30  minutes at a time.

  • Have someone remove electrical cords, throw rugs, and anything else in your home that may cause you to fall.

  • Arrange your household to keep the items you need handy.

Home care

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Check your incision daily for redness, tenderness, or drainage.

  • Don’t soak in a bathtub, hot tub, or pool until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Follow your surgeon's instructions on when you can start showering. This is usually 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Then shower as needed. After showering, gently pat the incision dry. Don’t rub it or apply creams or lotions.

  • For safety, use grab bars in the shower. Use a shower chair if you find yourself tired while showering.

Follow-up

  • Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Make an appointment to have sutures or staples removed about  2 weeks after surgery.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have any of the following:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • A severe headache

  • Trouble controlling your bowels or bladder

  • Calf that is painful, warm to the touch, and tender with pressure

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Pain, redness, or drainage from the incision that gets worse

  • Fever of  100.4° F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Shaking chills

  • New pain, weakness, warmth, or numbness in your legs

  • Foot, ankle, or calf swelling that does not get better after elevating your feet

Online Medical Reviewer: Luc Jasmin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.