Neurosurgery postoperative instructions are tailored to fit each individual patient and ensure a full recovery. If you plan to have, or have recently had neurosurgery, it’s important to know that having a strong, positive attitude, setting small goals for improvement, and working steadily to accomplish each goal will lessen your recovery time. Our team of dedicated neurosurgeons will discuss your neurosurgery post op care plan with you and are here to answer questions or discuss concerns every step of the way.

If you have questions about neurosurgery post operative instructions or your personal care plan, call (603) 448-0447 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In case of any emergency during non-business hours please dial the same main number and follow the prompts to page the neurosurgeon-on-call.

General post operative neurosurgery instructions are provided below, but post op instructions can vary, are specific to each patient and depend on the type of procedure administered. Patients who have received anterior cervical procedureslumbar surgery, or SI joint fusions may require an individual, post-operative care plan.


It is normal to have pain after your surgery; especially in muscular areas (i.e.: shoulders, neck, back etc.) this does not mean that the procedure was unsuccessful or that your recovery will be delayed. Leg and/or arm aching is also not uncommon. This is primarily caused by inflammation of the previously compressed nerve; the discomfort will gradually decrease as the nerve continues to heal. You may experience muscle spasms across your shoulders or back and into your arms or legs. Medications will be given to control pain and decrease spasm intensity. Moist heat and/or ice and frequent repositioning may also be of further help.


Intravenous (I.V.) fluids will be discontinued when you can tolerate regular liquids without nausea or vomiting. Your diet will then be adjusted back to normal as your appetite returns. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, and eat whole grain cereals, fruits and fruit juices to combat constipation that is sometimes caused by pain medications.


Increase your activity slowly. Daily walking is the best exercise. Try to increase your distance a little each day, setting a pace that avoids fatigue or severe pain. It is normal to tire easily for the first week or so after you return home. Swimming after sutures are removed is encouraged if feasible.Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Change positions frequently to help eliminate muscle spasms and aching. When sitting choose a firm chair that will provide you with plenty of support.If you drop something on the floor, pick it up by bending at the knees to lower yourself. You may resume other physical activities including work only after consulting with your treating surgeon.
Do not:

  • Bend at the waist.
  • Lift anything over 5 pounds (keep in mind a gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds)
  • Lift anything that you cannot easily lift with one hand.

    Sexual relations may be resumed during the recovery period, but positions that strain the back or cause pain should be avoided.


If sutures have been left in your incision, you may remove the dressing and shower 5 days after surgery. Do not:

  • Scrub the incision. Instead, pat the area try with a towel after showering.
  • Soak the incision (i.e.: baths, swimming etc.) until you are approximately 2 weeks out from your surgery and the sutures have been removed. You may have small strips (Steri-Strips*) of tape over the incision. You may shower with them on and pat dry with a towel. The strips will gradually fall off.


Consult you surgeon in regards to your current driving status. There are no set time restrictions. Use common sense and do not attempt to resume driving until you feel completely comfortable to drive in an uninhibited manner. It is recommended that you do not drive for the first 1-2 weeks or while taking high dosages of narcotic pain relievers.


    • You develop a fever of over 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • You have redness, swelling, pain and/or drainage from your incision.
    • You experience urinary problems.
    • You experience any NEW weakness or numbness in your arms or legs.

The nursing staff at the hospital will review discharge instructions with you and answer any questions prior to your discharge. A follow-up appointment with a Physician Assistant will be arranged in 4-6 weeks following surgery. You will also receive a call to check on your post-op recovery in 7-10 days following your surgery by a Physician Assistant.

If you have any questions prior to receiving your call, please contact Upper Valley Neurology Neurosurgery at (603) 448-0447 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In case of any emergency during non-business hours please dial the same main number and follow the prompts to page the neurosurgeon-on-call.