Being mindful of the incision site as it heals is important after any type of surgery, including a microdiscectomy. Post-microdiscectomy patients should avoid soaking in a bathtub for at least the first few weeks after having this type of spinal disc surgery, even with the smaller incisions made. However, it is usually fine to take a shower after a microdiscectomy. This article explains what to keep in mind with this process during the microdiscectomy recovery period.
Keep the Incision Site Dry
The most important thing to remember when showering after a microdiscectomy is to take steps to prevent water from getting into the surgical site. Typically, the sutures used to close the incision are considered "water-resistant" but not necessarily "waterproof." When you shower, err on the side of caution and keep the incision site dry by:
• Applying a fresh bandage to the site before you shower
• Not allowing water to directly contact the surgery site
• Leaning forward slightly as you shampoo so the water does not run down over the incision location
If you have a shower head with a detachable nozzle, use this feature when you shower after your microdiscectomy. This way, it is easier to direct the spray of the water. Otherwise, be careful with how you position your body so water is not hitting the incision location.
Check the Incision Site after You Are Done Showering
Generally, if the bandage is still dry when you are done showering, it is safe to assume the incision site is fine. However, it is also important to look for any signs of infection around the incision site or signs of infection in general. These include:
• Redness around the incision site
• Unusual discharge
• Localized pain around the surgery location
• Fever and/or chills
Ask Your Surgeon for Guidance
How susceptible the surgical site is to water or runoff from soap or shampoo also depends on how the incision was closed after the microdiscectomy was finished. It is common for dissolvable sutures to be used today, but some surgeons use thin adhesive bandages. If you are not sure what was used, ask your surgeon. This is also a good way to get advice more specific to your procedure and any shower-related precautions to take.
When Can the Incision Site Safely Get Wet Again?
It is usually safe to get the incision location wet again once it has fully healed. Your primary care physician can let you know for sure when this point has been reached. Once it is confirmed the incision site has properly healed, you should be able to safely take a bath, use a hot tub, go swimming, and enjoy similar activities again.
Although herniated disc treatment with microdiscectomy surgery is generally very successful, a hole is left in the outer wall of the disc. Patients with a large hole in the outer ring of the disc experience 70 percent of all reherniations after surgery. A new treatment, Barricaid, which is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce reherniations, was specifically designed to close the large hole often left in the spinal disc after discectomy. In a large-scale study, Barricaid was proven 95 percent effective in a study of over 500 patients. This means 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in the 2-year study timeframe.
If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.
For full benefit/risk information, please visit: https://www.barricaid.com/instructions.