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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
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.
You may need any of the following:
- Pain medicine decreases or takes away your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe to take your medicine.
- Muscle relaxants are given to reduce muscle spasms and decrease pain.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him 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.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider 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 caregivers 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.
Keep your surgical wound clean and dry. Ask your primary healthcare provider or surgeon how to care for your wound. Check for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage, when you clean your wound.
- Resume activity slowly as directed by your primary healthcare provider or surgeon. Do not bend over or lift objects over 10 pounds until your primary healthcare provider or surgeon says it is okay.
- Rest as needed while 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 so that your knees are higher than your hips.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or surgeon if:
- 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.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- Your stitches come apart.
- You cannot control when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
- You cannot move your arm, hand, leg, or foot.
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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.