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What To Expect After Idiopathic Spine Surgery

After spine surgery, it is important that your child does not bend, twist, run or jump, or lift more than 10 pound while they heal. For fusion surgery, these restrictions are in place for 3 months. For tethering surgery, they are in place for 6 weeks. They should be up and walking around the house to once per hour, during waking hours. There is no limit to how much walking tey can do, but it is recommended they take it slow and increase distances a little each day. It is okay for your child to sleep in whatever position is most comfortable.

Children can return to school part-time within 3 weeks and full time within 4 weeks. Note that your child may need an elevator pass for up to two months. Some children also benefit from having an extra set of books at home so that they do not need to carry them back and forth from school.

Driving is allowed at 6 weeks; however, your child must be off of any narcotic pain medication.


A General Healing Timeline After Idiopathic Spine Surgery

Once home, your child can shower at home normally, soap and water can over the incision. It is important to not scrub the incision. Instead, pat the incision dry. There is no need to recover it with a bandage. Prineo mesh tape/steri-strips may be trimmed as they peel away from incision, but do not pull them off.  For the first 6 weeks after surgery, do not submerge the incision underwater – no bathtub, pool, hot tub or lake. Your child can shower at home normally, using only soap and water can over the incision.

At 6 weeks, brisk walks, gentle swimming, biking and elliptical are allowed.

At 3 months, your child can lift up to 25 pounds, job, run, return to gym class (no contact activities), basketball, soccer, baseball/softball, volleyball, dance, light upper extremity exercise and bowling/

At 4 months, amusement park rides, a full return to gym class, tennis and golf are allowed. If your child already has experience ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, rollerblading, horseback riding, those activities are allowed, too. There is no lifting maximum.

At 8 months your child can participate in wrestling, gymnastics and lacrosse. Depending on the procedure and surgeon preference, after 1 year, hockey and football may be allowed.

It is important to note that all of these are suggestions. Each patient is different and will need to recover based on their provider’s preferences.


Your Care Team

The Gillette orthopedics team is composed of experts who’ve chosen to specialize in the unique needs of children, teens and adults who have highly complex conditions. At Gillette, you’ll benefit from expertise gained in more than 120 years of providing orthopedic care and pediatric orthopedic surgery.

With both pediatric and adult-focused providers, you’ll be working with experts who specialize in highly complex conditions and injuries. As your child gets older, Gillette will support your family in making the transition to adult-focused health care—older teens and adults can benefit from Adult Services.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.