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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.
HOW TO PREPARE:
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may also need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI of your spine. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
The night before your surgery:
Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Providers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN:
What will happen:
- A large incision will be made near your vertebrae (spinal bones) if you are having an open procedure. Several, smaller incisions will be made if your procedure is being done through a scope (a thin tube with a light and camera on the end). Fluoroscopy (type of x-ray) may be used to guide the surgeon. The surgeon will remove tissue and bone with a drill or other tool. One or more pieces of bone may be taken from another area of your body, such as the hip. These pieces are used to fill in the space where bone was removed and are called bone grafts. Other materials, such as titanium or carbon fiber, can also be used as a graft. A metal plate may be placed over the graft and screwed into the surrounding bone to help support the spine.
- An x-ray may be done to check the placement of any grafts, plates, or screws used during surgery. A drain may be placed in your wound to remove fluid from the surgery area. The incisions will be closed with stitches. Bandages will be put over the wound.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.
CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- You get a cold or the flu.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.
You may bleed more than usual or get an infection. Nerves in the area where the vertebrae are removed may be injured. Nerve damage can cause hoarseness or problems swallowing or controlling your bowel or bladder. You could lose the ability to move your arm or leg (paralysis) if your nerves are damaged. You may need to have more surgery. If you have a bone graft from your hip area, your hip could break or you could have problems walking. Without surgery, your symptoms may get worse.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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