The surgeon, in consultation with the nurse and with yourself, will decide on the date when you can be discharged. Normally you will be able to leave hospital when you can walk around, climb stairs, perform personal care tasks, and when the wound no longer causes any problems and the pain is under control.

After neck surgery

  • It is best not to drive during the first week.
  • Do not wash the ceiling or carry weights on your neck for the first few months
  • The average period of work disability is six weeks.
  • Your GP will check your wound in his or her surgery 10 days after the operation.
  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Do not wear surgical collars / neck braces.
  • Draag geen halskraag

After back surgery

  • It is best not to drive during the first week.
  • The average period of work disability is six weeks.
  • Your GP will check your wound in his or her surgery 10 days after the operation.
  • Do go for walks, a little further each day, but make sure you get enough rest.
  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Increase your activities a little each day. You can go for walks, bicycle rides and swimming (once the wound is properly closed).
  • Do not wear lumbar corsets
  • When you undergo a classic herniated disc operation, the herniated disc fragment (see "What is a herniated disc?) will have been removed. After the procedure, the disc itself will not have healed yet. The tear in the disc will not have grown together yet. In addition, the muscles running up and down your back are still hurt by the operation and, finally, the nerve, although released, has not yet healed, which can still cause (radiating) pain. For these three reasons you will have to take it easy for one month after the operation. This means that you should continue to get a lot of rest, take the prescribed medication and follow certain rules:
  • Do not drive during the first week
  • Do not lift weights of more than 5 kg
  • Do not do heavy physical labour
  • Do not exert yourself past the pain threshold
  • Do not stay in bed or on the couch or sitting in an armchair all day long.

You should keep moving, always changing position; walking, sitting, lying down, climbing stairs. Take two walks per day, a little further every day. As soon as you can walk for a quarter of an hour without too much trouble you can start riding a standard bicycle. Swimming, too, is recommended as soon as the stitches are taken out.

After the first post-operative consultation with your surgeon these activities can be increased as soon as he or she gives the go-ahead. A good recovery period is always important to allow the back to heal and to be able to perform all activities again later.

In principle the same advice applies for the period following a Micro-Endoscopic Discectomy, although the muscle pain after the operation will be less as the incision is much smaller.

In Flanders, the average work disability period subsequent to such procedures is of four months. This is quite long but sometimes nonetheless necessary. In our clinic the average period of work disability is seven weeks. This means you will be on sick leave, so you can spend 24 hours a day to ensure that your health, that is your back, gets better!

Before you go home

  • Do not forget to ask for a work disability certificate.
  • Ask for a follow-up appointment with your surgeon (or arrange it yourself: 03/760 28.35).
  • Have the appropriate insurance (hospitalisation) forms filled in.
  • Ask for a prescription for your medication.
  • Your surgeon will send a report letter to your GP. You will be given a temporary letter of discharge for your treating physician.
  • At the "Admissions" desk you will be asked to make a payment on account towards the cost of the hospital stay. This will not be a very large amount. You can get an estimate at the time of admission.
  • Don't forget to ask for all your X-rays and home medication to be returned to you!
  • Some more practical tips:

    • Do not take baths before the stitches are removed. Showers are OK.
    • Physiotherapy is necessary only if prescribed by the surgeon or your GP.
    • Lifting is not permitted for the first month following back surgery.
    • Get enough mild exercise and do not stay in bed or on the couch or sitting in an armchair all day long.
    • Take enough painkillers. If necessary, ask your GP for more, or different medication when you go to have the wound checked.
    • Set your car seat as high as possible.
    • At home, use a straight chair or armchair.
    • Respect the "straight back" principle, also when picking things up.

    What is normal?

    • Mild radiating pain in your leg or arm
    • Lower back pain
    • Pain in the neck and trouble swallowing

    What is not normal?

    • An oozing wound
    • Pain that is more severe than before the procedure
    • Not being able to sit due to the back pain
    • Severe pounding pain in the lower back and fever