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4 Requirements To Fulfill Before Having Laparoscopic Spinal Surgery

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Although laparoscopic spinal surgery is less invasive than "open" surgery, you'll still need to fulfill some preoperative necessities before undergoing your procedure. The physician at the orthopedic spine center will discus your preoperative requirements during your consultation appointment, and will give you an instruction sheet to refer back to in case you have questions. Here are four requirements that you'll need to fulfill prior to having minimally invasive spinal surgery.

Preoperative Medical Testing

Before your surgeon can operate on you, he'll need to know whether or not you're healthy enough to tolerate surgery. You will be required to have some blood tests, which will include a complete blood count, or CBC. This test will tell your surgeon if you are anemic, if you have an infection, and if the number of your platelets, or blood clotting cells, are within normal limits.

Another blood test that you'll probably undergo is a chemistry profile, which includes tests to evaluate liver and kidney function, as well as cardiovascular function. You'll also have a physical examination, a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram, or EKG, to evaluate the function of your heart while it is at rest.

It is essential that your lungs be healthy enough to withstand the effects general anesthesia in order to reduce the risk of post-operative pneumonia. This is why you need a chest X-ray prior to surgery. Depending upon your age and general state of health, your surgeon may recommend additional testing or allow you to skip certain tests.

Signing The Consent Form

You will also be required to sign a surgical consent form prior to undergoing spinal surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will review details of your procedure and will go over the risks and benefits that may associated with your surgery. Risks factors for laparoscopic spinal surgery may include complications from anesthesia, organ perforation, disability, infection and blood loss.

While these complications are rare, you will not be able to have your surgery until you have understood and signed the surgical consent form. When you sign the consent form, you are saying that you understand the risks associated with the procedure, and that you are giving your permission to have the surgery.

Discontinuing Blood Thinners

Your surgeon may advise you to stop taking aspirin, prescription anticoagulants and dietary supplements a couple weeks before your surgery to reduce the risk for excessive blood loss during your procedure. During your consultation appointment, it is important that you not only tell your surgeon which medications you're taking, but also which dietary supplements or vitamins you're taking.

Certain dietary supplements such as fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, garlic and magnesium, can lead to abnormal bleeding, and will need to be discontinued prior to surgery. To be sure that your blood will clot as it should during surgery, your surgeon may order a test known as a "bleeding and clotting time," which gauges how long it takes for your blood to clot.

If these results are abnormal, you might not be a candidate for surgery until your test results normalize. Blood that doesn't clot properly raises the risk for extreme blood loss during and after surgery, which may necessitate the need for a transfusion.

Quitting Smoking

You will be asked to quit smoking before your surgery to help reduce the risk of vascular, respiratory and circulation problems. Smoking delays healing, can lead to infection and also damages your blood vessels. Smoking can also complicate the effects of general anesthesia, and may raise the risk for developing a postoperative respiratory infection. If you are unable to quit smoking on your own, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation options so that you can quit in time for your surgery.

If you have any questions regarding your laparoscopic spinal surgery or your recovery period, don't hesitate to call your surgeon. He will be more than happy to answer any of your questions and address your concerns. When you go into surgery as a well-informed patient, you have a better chance of enjoying a successful recovery period. Find more information at