Spinal Fusion

What can I do to prepare for my child's spinal surgery?

Every child is different based on their age and experiences before the surgery. Below are things you can do to plan ahead for the upcoming scheduled surgery.

Pre-operative evaluation: Our goal is to provide the best and safest care to your child. In order to do that we need to evaluate your child's overall health. This may include laboratory evaluation, special tests such as an MRI or CT scan. You may also need to take time off work to see other specialists to make sure your child is healthy enough for surgery. Your child's healthcare team will let you know what special appointments and tests your child will need in order to ensure the surgery is safe.

Family & Community Support: Taking time off from work and planning for FMLA, if needed. If you work outside the home, talk with your boss about options well before surgery. You may need to take time off from work and plan for a Family Medical Leave (FMLA). It is very important to arrange this ahead of time. Your child will need special care after surgery. Someone will need to be with your child after surgery. This person must be able to care for your child while they recover. Accept help from friends and family. They may be able to take other children to or from school and activities. Clear as much as possible from your schedule. This will limit stress.

School: Contact your child's school to let them know of the upcoming procedure. Communicate with school and day care about the change in attendance and any extra needed help. If your school cannot accommodate a wheelchair or toileting needs, you may need to make arrangements for home schooling or a tutor if available. If you have paperwork that needs to be signed, please bring it to the hospital with you so it can be faxed to your school.

Support group: Children's offers a Spinal Fusion Support Group. Here, you and your child will get the chance to meet a few members of your healthcare team. You will also meet and talk to other kids who have had surgeries like your child's. Tracie Brasch, a nurse in the orthopedic clinic, discusses our support groups for children who will be having a spinal fusion for conditions that require surgical stabilization. The Spinal Fusion Support Group Meetings take place every other month on a Wednesday evening.

What to expect if your child is having scoliosis surgery:

If your child is having scoliosis surgery, there can be a lot to remember and do. The tips found below are designed to make it easier. Here's what to expect and/or do at each stage:

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