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Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines
10666 North Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Phone (858) 554-7988


Pediatric Patients Following Revision of Spinal Implant or Implant Removal

Your child is recovering from an outpatient procedure to revise his or her spinal implant, or remove part or all of the implant. Below are guidelines for your child to follow after he/she is discharged from the hospital.

Initially, your child may complain of pain and soreness directly related to the surgery: The incision, positioning from surgery, etc. This is expected and should decrease over the next few days or weeks. Pain medication will be prescribed and can be given as needed. Follow the directions on the bottle. If a refill is needed, have your pharmacy call your doctor's office ( refills are not processed on weekends ).

Infection is not expected after surgery, but it can occur. It is important to look at your child's back at least once a day until the first office visit. Once the dressing as been removed, the incision should appear pink and the edges should be together. Showering is permitted about 5-7 days after surgery (unless otherwise advised). Please inquire about the exact date with your doctor after surgery. Tub bathing should be postponed until the incision is completely healed and your doctor's allows this form of bathing. Any redness, swelling or drainage should be reported to your doctor without delay. This could be a sign of infection and treatment should begin as soon as possible. Call your doctor's office as soon as possible. It is also important to report a fever greater than 101.0 (taken by mouth).

No restrictions in diet are necessary. It is important to encourage liquids, fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of constipation, which often occurs after surgery. You may wish to give your child a multi-vitamin with iron regularly. This will help the body heal and produce new blood cells, which were lost during and after surgery.

At first, your child's activity will be self-limiting due to discomfort. After the first week, however, you will need to monitor your child's activity to prevent injury.

Twisting or bending forward at the waist and heavy lifting is discouraged. Squatting to pick up items off the floor or bringing a leg up to the chest to put socks and shoes on is allowed. The initial weight lifting restriction will be dependent on your child's age and the status of his or her spine and implants. Please discuss specific restrictions with your child's surgeon.

Walking, stair climbing, riding in a car or school bus is okay. You will be instructed when activities can be allowed or increased at each office visit.

Return to school is allowed with a few days after surgery unless otherwise instructed.

Exposure of the healing incision to sunlight or tanning beds can be potentially harmful and bad sunburn may occur. It is recommended to apply a strong sun block over your child's incision the first year unless otherwise advised by a doctor.

A return visit to the doctor's office is expected within 1 week of surgery. After that visits should be scheduled at 6 month intervals. X-rays of the spine will be required at each office visit . If you have a health plan that requires that x-rays be taken elsewhere, please arrange for x-ray orders to be sent to the appropriate x-ray facility before your appointment. Your surgeon's office can assist you with this.

This instruction sheet has been written to give you useful information following your child's spinal implant revision or removal surgery. This is not a substitute for, or in place of your doctor's instructions. If you have been advised differently based on your child's individual needs, please follow your doctor's