Thoracic spine surgery home care (119401)

Key points below

What can be done for pain?

Your child will have some pain and soreness after surgery.  It may be caused by the incision or the way your child was positioned during surgery.  The soreness will go away slowly over several weeks or months.  

During this time, your child may need pain medicine.


Bathing and scar care

Take only a sponge bath until your provider says it is ok to take showers.  Most often, this is after the first follow-up appointment and the wound is healed.
Keep clothing over the incision for one year after surgery.  This is needed to avoid all exposure to the sun. After one year, use a sunscreen with SPF30 or higher.
Your child’s scar will change color many times as it heals. The way a scar looks depends on your child’s skin type. Some skin types heal with a thicker scar than others. Most often, a scar will slowly get smaller with time.


Dental Precautions

Tattoos or body piercings

Your child should not get a tattoo or body piercing for at least one year.  There is a higher chance of infection due to the implants.


Smoking is never recommended. Being around smoke can delay wound healing after surgery.  It may increase the risk of the spine not healing. This can increase the chance of the rods breaking. It can also lead to lung infections.

Activity Guidelines

These activities and times are guidelines only.  They will vary for each child. Please talk with the health care team before starting an activity.  Your child should not do anything that will cause more than just a little pain.  

Most patients do not need physical therapy.  If your child was in physical therapy before surgery, they can start again after the wound is healed and it is comfortable for them.

Motions that make your child twist, bend at the waist or are jarring may hurt at first.  To avoid bending at the waist, your child should use their knees to stoop. This way, the leg muscles are used and not the back muscles.

Once home from the hospital these things are fine

May slowly return to all non-contact activities when there is less pain

Your child may: 

Your child may be able to return to sports once they are able to do the above activities. Check with the doctor first.

1 year after surgery
Almost all activities can be re-started.  Check with the doctor first.

Trampolines should never be used.



Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.