Enhanced Recovery


What is the Enhanced Recovery Programme?

The Enhanced Recovery Programme aims to get you back to full health as soon as possible after your operation. Research indicates that after surgery, the earlier you get out of bed, eat and drink, the quicker you will recover. This will speed up your recuperation process, making it less likely that complications will develop. In order to achieve this, it is vital that you play an active part in your recovery and work together with us.

What happens before the operation?

Spine Seminar

You will get an invitation to a Spine Seminar. The seminar aims to give you information about your operation, what to expect on your admission to hospital, how to prepare yourself for the operation and advice on aftercare. You will meet a member of the pain management team, a Specialist Physiotherapist and the Spine Specialist Nurse for the Trust. You will get the chance to have any questions you may have answered.

We recommend you bring someone with you to the seminar and also bring a pen and paper to write down a few points that you may wish to remember.

If you have been added to the waiting list for a major spine operation and have not received an invitation to one of the Seminars please contact the Spine Specialist Nurse Theresa Maunganidze on St Albans City Hospital (01727 866122) Bleep 2618 via switchboard.

Also if you have had the privilege of having gone through our Spine Enhanced Recovery Programme and would like to share your experiences with other patients please to contact our Spine Specialist Nurse, Theresa and we will invite you to one of our seminars.

Pre-Operative Assessment Clinic

In this clinic an assessment will be made of your general fitness and investigations carried out, e.g. blood tests, blood pressure, ECG (heart tracing) and MRSA screening. You will receive further information about this nearer the time.

What You Can Do To Help Yourself

Whilst waiting for surgery there are changes that you may wish to consider making to improve your health; since being in good general health prior to your operation will further enhance your recovery.

  • Diet - Try to eat a healthy diet in the time leading up to your operation, as good nutrition is linked to better healing. If you have any concerns about your diet, discuss them with your GP; you can be referred to a dietician if necessary. If you are overweight, it is very important to reduce your weight in preparation for your surgery. This will help reduce any risks associated with the anaesthetic and reduce the chances of post-operative complications occurring.
  • Smoking - smoking compromise healing after any surgery and makes you more prone to infection. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen being delivered to the tissues, which is vital for the healing process to occur. It is best to try and stop smoking at least 2 weeks before surgery and up to 6 weeks after. This will give time for the wound and tissues around the spine to heal effectively.
  • Exercise - It is crucial that you stay active whilst awaiting your operation. Regular exercise will improve muscle tone and maintain the mobility of your spine. Having strong muscles and mobile joints will speed up your recovery post-operatively. If you need any advice about what exercise you can do to help whilst awaiting your operation, you can ask your GP to be referred to a physiotherapist for advice; or alternatively speak to the Specialist Physiotherapist during your Spine School session.
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