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Preparing for Spine Surgery

3-6 months before surgery, your child will have a PrePARE (Presurgical Patient Assessment and Risk Evaluation) appointment with our complex care pediatrics team. Our pediatrics team will thoroughly discuss any respiratory problems, nutrition issues, or other medical conditions your child has that could affect recovery. They will also do comprehensive pre-op lab work. The PrePARE team works with the surgical team and our child’s primary health care provider.

Within 30 days prior to surgery, your child will have a physical with their primary care provider. This is the time to go over your child’s medical history and obtain pre-operative lab work, as well.

1-2 weeks before surgery, your child may meet with the C-SPOC Clinic (Complex Spine Pre-Op Clinic). At this appointment, we go over what happens in the days leading up to surgery, the surgery itself, the days in the hospital after surgery, and the first few days at home. One of our requirements for all patients undergoing surgery is to have specific blood work done, as well as check urine. For patients who cannot use the toilet, but are diapered, we need urine obtained via straight catheter to prevent contamination. These may be done at this C-SPOC appointment. 

Our child life team offers pre-operative hospital visits where they give a tour of the hospital and its amenities for patients and families. They also discuss common medical equipment that may be encountered during the surgery and post-operatively. We will also assess what your child may be most anxious about and use developmentally appropriate medical play to lessen this anxiety as much as possible.


During Your Child’s Hospital Stay

Our child life team is here to make your child’s stay as comfortable as possible. We are always here to discuss various coping mechanisms and resources available to your family. We also have music theray, aromatherapy, virtual reality, and other non-pharmacological interventions available to provide as much comfort as possible.


Rehabilitation and Recovery

After spine surgery, rest is key. Your child’s spine needs time to heal properly. In order to allow the spine to heal, there are restrictions that will be in place for a period of time after surgery. Depending on the circumstance, these restrictions may including: no bending or twisting of the spine, no flexing the hips past 90 degrees, no self transfers, no running or jumping, and no lifting more than 10 pounds.  Our providers and physical therapists will help your child gain strength over the coming weeks post-operation.


Your Care Team

The Gillette 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.

If your child has a complex disorder, you might be working with providers beyond pediatric orthopedics. Count on Gillette to bring together services in a way that’s both comprehensive and convenient. Orthopedists often collaborate with providers in:

  • Orthotics, prosthetics and seating
  • Gait and motion analysis
  • Minnesota’s first Level I Pediatric Trauma Center
  • Orthopedics and surgical inpatient care
  • Pediatric intensive care
  • Radiology and imaging
  • Rehabilitation medicine
  • Rehabilitation therapies
  • Surgery

You’ll work with one of the highest concentrations of pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the nation. The size of the team allows for a degree of subspecialization not found at other facilities.

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.