Q: Who will be doing my operation?

A: I, Dr. Buckley , will be performing the operation. One of my Physician Assistants, Jordan Hobaica or Stephanie Calenzo will assist me. There will also be an anesthesiologist, x-ray technician, surgical technician, a nurse, and neuromonitoring specialist for specific cases.

Q: How long is the hospital stay?

A: It depends on the type of surgery you have. Here are some common lengths of stay:

  • Anterior Cervical Fusion - can go home the following day
  • Lumbar Discectomy- can go home the day of surgery
  • Lumbar Fusion and Posterior Cervical Fusion- can go home usually 1-2 days after surgery
  • Kyphoplasty- can go home day of surgery
  • SI Joint Fusion or Stabilization- can go home the day of or the day after surgery

Q: How soon after surgery will I be up walking around?

A: You will be up out of bed the same day of surgery.

Q: When can I drive after surgery?

A: This will be discussed at the post operative visit. Patients are typically able to drive 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Q: How much pain can I expect after surgery?

A: Everyone handles pain differently. We try our best to minimize post-operative pain. The first night and the following day is usually the most difficult and each day after that gets better.

Q: When will my sutures or staples come out?

A: 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Q: What are the chances of getting an infection?

A: The national average for infection after spine surgery is 2%. Our rate of infection is 0.2%.

Q: When can I go back to work?

A: It depends on the type of job you are returning to, but usually 6-8 weeks.

Q: What medications will I take after surgery?

A: This varies from patient to patient and the type of surgery. All patients will be sent home on antibiotics for 5 days to prevent infection. Most patients receive a prescription of pain medicine after surgery. If you are on stronger pain medications prior to surgery, we usually make arrangements with the doctor prescribing them  to continue the medications and adjust them as needed postoperatively.

Q: How do I know if I need surgery?

A: Most people have findings on their MRI/CT Scan/X-ray that can be surgically corrected, but this does not mean that you need surgery. We treat the patient and not just the radiology findings. Your history, physical exam, radiology findings, and symptoms are taken into account. There are a few spinal emergencies that require surgery right away. Otherwise we suggest surgery after you have failed all conservative treatments and symptoms are no longer manageable.

Q: I am worried about surgery. Is this normal?

A: It is completely normal to be worried about surgery. Even the most prepared person still has some anxiety. Also Dr. Buckley or one of his physician assistants, Jordan Hobaica or Stephanie Calenzo, are available to answer any questions you may have. You can come in for as many appointments as you like to discuss things.

Q: How should I prepare for surgery?

A: Our surgical coordinator will go over all your pre-operative instructions with you. She will assist in coordinating all your pre-operative appointments. She is available during office hours for any questions you might have. Also if you develop a cold, a rash, or just do not feel right, call the office right away (315) 824-1250.