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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

Corpectomy is surgery to remove one or more vertebrae (bones) in the spine. This is usually done to take pressure off the spinal cord and nerves.

Vertebral Column


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You cannot move your arm, hand, leg, or foot.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You cannot control when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have new or worsening trouble when you swallow.
  • You have pain or numbness when you move your arms or legs.
  • You have worsening hoarseness or trouble speaking.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Muscle relaxers help stop muscle spasms and decrease pain.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Incision area care:

Keep the area clean and dry. Your surgeon will tell you when it is okay to shower or bathe. Check for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus when you clean your wound.


  • Start activity slowly. Your healthcare provider or surgeon will tell you when it is okay to drive and do other daily activities. Do not bend over or lift objects heavier than 10 pounds until your healthcare provider or surgeon says it is okay.
  • Rest as needed. Rest will help you heal after surgery.
  • Do not lie on your stomach. You can lie on your side with pillows between your legs or on your back with pillows under your knees. Sleep on a firm mattress.
  • Sit with a stool under your feet. Keep your knees higher than your hips while you are sitting.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

You may need to return to have your stitches removed. You may also need an x-ray, a CT scan, or an MRI to help check the position of each vertebra. The tests will show if your graft, plates, or screws have moved out of place. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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