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Patient Education Surgical Spine Video: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville

Patient Education Surgical Spine Video: Shriners Children's Greenville

Understanding what to expect prior to undergoing spinal surgery — including an operation to address scoliosis, kyphosis or other diagnosis — is important in lessening pre-surgical fears and increasing post-surgical compliance. In this video, created to educate and inform patients and their families, we follow patient Sydney - from the time she enters the hospital until discharge; we also receive an inspiring look into life after surgery!
View Transcript

Sydney: Hi, I'm Sydney and welcome to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Greenville. You and I will soon have something in common. We both will have had a spinal fusion surgery right here at Greenville Shriner's Hospital. And we both will have gone on to live happy and active lives. But for now, I'm here with another Sydney and she's been through a spinal fusion too, along with our Chief of Staff, Dr. Wattenbarger and our Director of Surgical Services, Mary Peterson. We are here to help you learn what to expect during your upcoming surgical experience.

Dr. Michael Wat...: If you're feeling a little nervous, don't worry, that's normal. We hope this video puts you at ease and answers you and your parents questions. You'll hear from my fellow spine surgeons later in this video. We want you to know that together, we have performed thousands of spine surgeries just like yours.

Mary Peterson: Now we will walk you through the surgical process from start to finish. At the end of the video, we will provide a recap so you know what to expect each day. Let's get started

Sydney: On the morning of your surgery, you will come to the first floor and check in here at the reception desk. It's important that any family or friends over the age of 16 accompany you know that they will need to show a photo ID in order to enter the hospital with you.

Once everyone has received his or her stickered badge, you will be escorted to the pre-op area. The pre-op area is where you'll go prior to your surgery. There, you will also meet your surgical team. Your nurse will have you take off your jewelry and take out any piercings. Remove glasses or contacts as well as your socks. You'll also need to be certain you're not wearing any nail polish.

Mary Peterson: In surgery, we use a special device to measure the oxygen through your fingernail. So, this is why we don't want you to wear fingernail polish. Also, on the day of your surgery, your eyelids will be closed while you're asleep. So, we don't want you to wear contacts either.

Sydney: The nurse will now take your blood pressure. The cuff wraps around your arm and fills with air. So, it feels quite tight. Now, it's time to change into a hospital gown. For girls who are 10 and older, this is also when you'll be asked to provide a urine sample.

Dr. Michael Men...: When you are settled in the preoperative area, your surgeon will come by to see you. If there are any other questions, you can ask them now. We also check your back and make sure that nothing's changed with your health since your last visit. And we'll also sign your back. Signing your back is one step in a continuous effort to have a safe procedure.

Sydney: Before your surgery, you'll also meet someone from the anesthesia team who will be in charge of helping go to sleep. You'll have an IV put in your arm, either in this room while you're awake or later in the operating room after you're asleep. You may feel a tiny pinch just for a second but your parent or other loved one will be there with you. The IV stays in your arm during surgery to give you fluids or medications.

I wasn't really nervous but I understand if some kids are. But just remember, they're doing their job. So, you'll be okay.

Now you're ready to go to the operating room. At this point, your parents or loved ones will head to the surgical waiting area on the second floor, near the kids end. We'll keep your parents or loved ones updated on your surgeries progress, including when you're done and that you're headed to the recovery room.

This is the operating room where you'll have your surgery. It's very bright so the surgery team can see well. There will even be a special spine operating table designed for your kind of surgery. It's also kind of chilly but don't worry, we'll cover you with a nice warm blanket.

There were a lot of people in the room and I was pretty surprised but it made me more comfortable knowing that they each had their own specific jobs to take care of.

You'll get a pulse ox on your finger which tells us how much oxygen is in your blood. It just feels like someone is holding your finger. You'll get several little stickers on your chest. These monitor your heart during surgery. They feel cool and very sticky. Then your anesthesia team will give you the medicine you need to sleep.

Mary Peterson: The sleep that you experienced during surgery is different then your normal night time sleep. You won't feel anything. You can't hear anything and you can't wake up just at any time. Your anesthesia team will wake you up when your surgery is over.

Sydney: You'll wake up in the recovery room. You won't remember your surgery and it may feel like it was just a minute ago that you took your sleep medicine.

Dr. Keith Getty...: When you wake up from surgery, you might have a breathing mask on or you'll have a tube blowing air into your nose. That is to allow you to breathe as you're waking up from surgery. You'll also find that you'll still have an IV in one of your arms and then you'll have an arterial line in another arm. The arterial line allows us to monitor your heart rate as you're recovering from surgery.

Mary Peterson: Also, while you're asleep, the nurse will place a tiny tube in your bladder. This will drain the urine, both during surgery and the day after surgery. Both your special IV and the tiny tube will be removed the day after your surgery.

Sydney: When the recovery nurses feel you are ready, they will roll you in your bed, down to the second floor. Once they make sure you were settled in your room, they will invite your parents or loved ones in to see you.

Pete Stasikelis: Sometimes after surgery, the medicines that we use for anesthesia will make you feel nauseous or sick to your stomach. That's okay. And your nurses are prepared to help you deal with that. Sometimes these same medicines can make you feel itchy. That's okay. And our nurses have things that can sometimes help you with that but it's not an allergy, it's just a normal response to these medicines.

Sydney: If you need it, we'll give you medicine to help you with your nausea and your itching. Once you're feeling a little bit better, you can have some ice chips and then some juice. Later in the day, you will be able to eat more as you begin to feel better. We use a pain scale so you can tell your nurse how you feel. One means it doesn't hurt much. And 10 means the pain is overwhelming. We will ask you to show us how you feel so we know what we need to do to make you feel better. You'll even have a button that will help you manage your own medicine. You'll be the only one who can push this button.

Dr. Michael Wat...: On the morning after surgery, we'll take away the button and begin giving you pain medicine through an IV with a pill or with liquid. Remember, this is the toughest day. The more you move, the better you feel. So, get up and moving.

Sydney: The morning after surgery, you will usually be ready to sit up. In most cases, you will sit for an extended period of time. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, once in the evening, plus, we will want to have you up and walking as soon and often as possible. How long you stay after your surgery, depends on what your doctor feels like is best for you. Most patients stay with us two to three nights. When it's time to go home, you'll get a first-class wheelchair ride to your car. You will want to have two pillows and a blanket waiting for you in your car to make your ride home a bit more comfortable.

Dr. Michael Wat...: When it's time to go home, you'll be given a prescription for narcotic pain medicine. Narcotics when taken as prescribed are very safe and help you move better. Remember, the toughest time is behind you. We want you to take your narcotics regularly for the first day or two, probably every four to six hours but again, as prescribed. And then after that as needed. You can also take over the counter ibuprofen or Motrin to help you wean off of the pain medicine. Do not take Tylenol with your prescription.

Dr. Michael Men...: The medications you receive through your surgery and after it will slow your bowels. It seems funny but we ask you all the time, whether you're passing gas or when you're pooping. The nurses will help you have a bowel movement before you leave. And after you go home, it will be important to make sure your bowels keep working.

Dr. Keith Getty...: What I tell my patients to try to remember is APP. APP, activity. Increasing your activity every day, trying to do more each week, trying to be more and more active. The one P is for pain control. We are going to adequately control your pain in a safe manner. And then the third P is poop. You have to poop before you go home and you have to continue pooping once you get home.

Pete Stasikelis: It's natural to be nervous when you're going home. Fearful to move and afraid to do things that you normally do. But we want you to be active. We want you to be moving around. We need you to be moving around. Try to spend as little time as possible lying down but rather be up with your family, watching TV, playing video games, reading books, anything you want to do in a chair or walking.

You're never a shut injure. You're always free to walk around, go outside your home or go to whatever store you want to go briefly. You're probably not going to feel like going for a long time but you'll certainly want to go briefly to pick out snacks and things of that nature. So, don't feel cooped up, move around and that'll make you feel better.

Sydney: Your care manager will call you a few days after your surgery to see how you're doing. In the meantime, make sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions.

We hope what we've told you has helped you to feel better informed about what to expect before, during and immediately after your surgery. Now, we'd like to show you what to expect in the weeks and months to follow.

Dr. Michael Wat...: Remember, everybody's different. So, if your recovery is a little slower than the kids that you see in these videos, don't worry. You'll do great.


Sydney: Any questions unanswered? Be sure to ask your care manager or doctor. They will be happy to help. Thank you for your time and attention.