Pre-Op Information

Detailed below are the pre-op information and procedures for surgery with Dr Parkinson.

  • Depending on the surgery you are having, you will be required to arrive at the hospital the night before or at least 6 hours before your surgery.
  • Dr Parkinson will discuss your specific situation with you, but in most cases you will be required to fast for 8 hours before surgery.
  • You will need to make arrangements for someone to collect you when you are discharged as you will not be allowed to drive yourself.
  • You will be advised when to stop any medications that may increase your bleeding risk (eg aspirin).
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and leave any jewellery at home.
  • Before the procedure your skin will be cleaned and you will be given a general health check.
  • An intra-venous line will be placed into a vein in your arm to administer fluid and medications.
  • You may be given a sedative to make you drowsy before your anaesthetic.
  • You will be given a general anaesthetic to put you to sleep.

Let Dr Parkinson know if you develop a fever, cold or flu symptoms before your scheduled operation.

Post-Op Information

This information is provided as a guide only – your personal post-operative experience may vary from the one described below. Dr Parkinson will go through your procedure with you in detail and will discuss pre- and post-operative expectations. If you have a persisting, severe problem always refer back to Dr Parkinson’s office.

General Post-Op Information

  • After your procedure, you will spend about an hour in the recovery room before being taken to your ward bed.
  • Expect to spend four or five nights in hospital.
  • Generally, patients are able to get out of bed on the day of surgery.
  • A physiotherapist will provide instructions on general activities and exercises for most patients.
  • Avoid bending, lifting, twisting and sudden movements and don’t lift anything heavier than a milk carton for two weeks.
  • Most people resume normal activities after three weeks.
  • Walking is the only exercise permitted for the first six weeks.
  • We recommend patients do not drive for 2 weeks following surgery, although individual cases will vary and this will be discussed with Dr Parkinson.

Wound Care

  • The wound is usually closed using dissolving sutures and should not be soaked under water for the first week after surgery. Patients usually shower with a dressing and change it for a dry one afterwards. The wound should not be soaked uncovered for the first three weeks.
  • Patients should expect some pain relating to the incision after the operations and in most cases this only requires medication for a few days after which is should settle to an ache. This can be treated with mild analgesics.
  • Where there has been pre-operative pain or numbness, patients may experience twinges of similar pain or pins and needles after the operation, settling over time.
  • If the pain returns and is severe, or if pins and needles don’t settle, patients should contact the office. Similarly, any problems with the wound should be reported to our offices.


  • When will I go into hospital for my operation?

    You will usually be admitted on the day of surgery, although sometimes the night before. The hospital admission office will tell you when to come to the hospital and when to stop eating and drinking.

  • How long will I be in hospital following my surgery?

    This depends on the surgery.

    • After minimally invasive or keyhole spine surgery, many patients go home the morning after the operation.
    • Patients with severe symptoms, spinal cord or nerve root compression as well as elderly patients, may be in hospital for up to five days.
    • Patients undergoing spine fusion operations may be in hospital for up to seven days.

    Regardless of when you are discharged from hospital, it is important to rest for one to two weeks following spine and minimally invasive spine surgery.

    The exact timing of your discharge will be determined by your individual circumstances and will be discussed with Dr Parkinson.

  • How long should the wound remain covered after surgery?

    For the first five days, change the dressing every 24 – 48 hours and never leave a wet dressing on the wound.

    If the dressing is soaked off in the shower, allow the wound to dry before applying a clean, dry dressing.

  • When can I drive after surgery?

    We advise patients to avoid driving for two weeks after their operation.

  • When will I be seen for follow up?

    The office will make a six week follow up appointment for you when your surgery is booked. Depending on your procedure, you may need to have an x-ray prior to the six week assessment. Dr Parkinson will discuss this with you.

  • What exercises should I do in the first six weeks?

    You may be referred to a physiotherapist who will prescribe a suitable exercise program, however, for the first six weeks we recommend walking only, aiming to reach a distance of one to two kilometers a day.

    Swimming, weight training, cycling and running should be avoided.

    Two to six weeks after surgery you may use a stationary bike and hydrotherapy.

    Once you have had your six week check up with Dr Parkinson, you may be able to resume your regular exercise program, although specific programs should be discussed with Dr Parkinson

  • Do I need to wear a brace or collar after surgery?

    No, generally not.

  • What medication will I need after the operation?

    You will likely experience localised pain at the wound site which may be treated with an analgesic.

  • What sort of anaesthetic will I have at the time of surgery?

    Nearly all neurosurgery is performed under general anesthetic. Occasionally, peripheral nerve surgery is performed with sedation and local anesthetic.

  • What is the risk of developing a clot in the leg (DVT)?

    The risk of developing a clot in the leg is very low after elective spine surgery. However, a prolonged period of immobilisation increases the risk of developing a DVT which is why early mobilisation after surgery with the aid of physiotherapists and nursing staff is encouraged.

    Where patients have a history of DVT or a genetic predisposition to DVT (eg Factor Five Leiden), active prophylaxis DVTs with calf compressors or low molecular weight Heparin, Heparin or anti-thrombotic stockings may be used to minimise the chance of clotting.

    Doppler ultrasound scans of lower legs are used for early detection of clot formation where patients have difficulty mobilising.

    Where a clot forms, it may be monitored if it is small, or anticoagulants may be used (eg Clexane or Warfarin).

  • Do I need a referral to see Dr Parkinson?

    Yes, please bring a referral from your GP.

  • What do I bring to my first appointment?

    Please bring a referral from your doctor as well as any workers compensation or third party details and all x-rays you have.

  • Practice Policies

    Health information
    Dr Parkinson examining X-RaysAs a part of our commitment to providing quality health care we maintain files containing information concerning your health history. The following types of information are maintained:

    Personal details such as your name, address, date of birth.
    Medicare number.
    Your medical history.
    Notes made during the course of medical consultations.
    Referrals to other health service providers.
    Results and reports received from other health service providers.
    This information, known as the medical record or file, is, at all times, the property of the Specialist Connect.

    Routine procedures for collecting and disclosing health information
    Health information is generally collected by the treating doctor during the course of the consultation.
    Ancillary health information may also be collected by medical administration staff both before and after the consultation.
    Health information may also be disclosed to specialist doctors and allied health professionals the treating doctor may refer you to in order to continue your health care.

    Ordinarily we will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent. However, we advise that there may be occasions where we will be required to release the details of your file. This will occur where the law requires disclosure.

    Some examples are:
    There is a serious threat to an individual’s life, health and safety.
    There is a specific requirement by law, for example, when served with a subpoena or other court order.
    You are physically or legally incapable of giving consent, and the disclosure to a person responsible for you is necessary to provide appropriate health care / treatment or for compassionate reasons and this is not contrary to any prior wish or wish that the responsible person is aware.
    We advise that as a patient of this practice you have rights of access to any information we hold concerning you. We are happy to discuss these with you. Should you wish to access this information please contact the reception staff.