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Post-Op Supplements

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
For those of you have have gone through fusion surgery, would you recommend any kind of supplements to help with the recovery?

I read on this forum that protein is needed for healing after the surgery and that protein powder shakes are a good idea. How about calcium? Vitamin D? Anything else?

I just wonder if I should stock up now, since I won't be driving to the store after surgery.



  • Always check with your doc before taking any supplements, especially immediately postop. Many supplements can cause increased bleeding and many are actually anti-inflammatories(you know the no NSAID rule after fusion.) It might be best to just take a multivitamin and get your extra nutrients from diet-like increasing fruits and veggies which will also help out your bowels a lot! :)

    Bruce the moderator took a B vitamin complex that is supposed to help with nerve healing. I can't remember what it is, but if he doesn't chime in here, send him a PM.
  • While supplements may be OK with your doctor's approval, nothing beats a good diet. Eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and most importantly, protein. Go easy on caffeine, and as long as you are taking narcotics, and other meds, avoid all alcohol.

    Good luck with your recovery,


  • The only items that I took was multivitamins, iron, and stool softners. Everything else was through diet.
  • So is calcium important, or no? I would have thought that calcium and vitamin D would be important for bone growth.
  • ernurse, wow you have a good memory! Yes, Vitamin B is supposed to help with nerve repair. My surgeon prescribed my Nevramin after my fusion surgery.

    Also, when I had Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (facial paralysis) due to nerve damage, my neurologist also prescribed me Vitamin B to speed up the nerve repair.

    If I remember correctly, the two B vits that help mostly are B1 & B12.

    Look at this link, and read about B12 http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/vitamin-b1.htm

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I take 2 600mg tablets of calcium a day since my surgery. My Dr said that it would help so I'm still taking them. I'm 46 and that might be the reason since younger people heal faster.

  • Yes, I forgot about the calcium. Like Keith, I have been taking 2 600 mg calcium tablets with vitamin D. I also eat sardines with bone in, and lots of spinach, just because it is good for me and because I like it.

  • Since my surgery, I've been taking a multi-vitamin, glucosamine/MSM with collagen, Fish Oil based omega-3, and Citrical with Bone Density Builder. The MSM and omega-3 are both good for connective tissues, and the other supplements provide a good amount of calcium, Vitamin D and other bone and tissue building nutrients.

    But like others said, I think a good diet is most important. Besides the supplements, I made sure I ate plenty of veggies, fruits and protein....I ate an apple, yogurt, skim milk, and spinach almost every day. I've read that animal based protein (especially red meat) can impede your body's ability to absorb calcium, so I tried to get a lot of soy-based protein. I also cut down on my caffeine intake.

    At my 8 week check-up, my x-rays were pretty impressive. The initial post-op rads taken the day of surgery showed the cadaver bone as very mottled, obviously separate bone. 8 week rads showed that the density and texture of the cadaver bone was almost exactly the same as the vertebrae above and below. There is only the slightest white line visible between C5 and the graft and C6 and the graft. My NS called it a "textbook perfect" fusion. I don't know how much of this rapid healing is due to my supplementation, but it sure didn't seem to hurt anything.

  • I am 2 weeks out from 2 level l4-l-5, l5=S1 and a 2 level descetomy and biopsy of sacral tumor, Surgery was 7 3/4 hours. Dietitian at hospital told me carnation instant breakfast with whole or 2 percent milk will give you lots f protein and essential vitamins. I have one every morning.
  • Calcium with Vit D, magnesium, glucosamine with chondroitin DHA fish oil and Iron.
    My Iron is still low after 7 months post op so I need to continue with this. I cant eat much animal protien as it effects my kidneys but I eat lot of veggies and juice veggies every day.

    Zach, who told you to take the arnica? If it was your Dr that is fine but I do know that it can cause changes to the consistency of the blood so if you are taking blood thinners post op be careful and make sure your Dr is aware of it.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I need to ask my doc before my surgery next week. My last fusion I didn't eat more than 3 bites of anything for a full 6 weeks. I realize now how important good eating habits are to healing and the doc said I would have lost a lot of weight if I'd eated 10 times what I did, but in essence, my body held onto everything, as I put myself in starvation mode.

    The Carnation breakfast is a great idea!
  • My NS specifically said no fish oil for 1 month+ after surgery - I also had to stop taking it 2 weeks prior. Word is it interferes with blood clotting (he ranked it up there with aspirin.)
  • I know that fish oil must somehow interfere with the clotting process because it has been shown to be a common denominator in some older males with spontaneous subdurals(bleeding in the brain.)

    Glucosamine I think is really only supposed to help joints like knees. I don't believe the back has the same cartilage structures therefore it won't help the same way(I think that's how my doc explained it when I asked, don't really remember, just knew he said it doesn't work for backs like it does for knees.)

    Whatever you do, make sure your doc knows AND make sure his nurse knows. Sometimes the doc isn't up on different herbals(benefits and risks) so tell the nurse too just in case she knows something about them.
  • So I went to the pharmacy yesterday to buy a big bottle of calcium supplements for post op, as I am running low on my current supplement anyhow (I take one Theragran-M 600mg calcium daily, which also has 200IU vitamin D). They discontinued it, so I stood there for a half an hour and read thru the gazillion types available to me... and realized there is calcium carbonate and calcium citrate. Looks like the main difference is absorption rate (citrate is more readily absorbed into the body and can be taken on an empty stomach) but I'm still reading up on this.

    Anyone have an opinion or recommendation on calcium carbonate versus calcium citrate? Or is it splitting hairs?
  • BackToWorkBBackToWork Upstate NYPosts: 31

    For those of you have have gone through fusion surgery, would you recommend any kind of supplements to help with the recovery?

    I read on this forum that protein is needed for healing after the surgery and that protein powder shakes are a good idea. How about calcium? Vitamin D? Anything else?

    I just wonder if I should stock up now, since I won't be driving to the store after surgery.


    Get a Vitamin D test. It's not usually done in a regular blood test. It's deficiency is epidemic. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may prescribe for you 50,000 IU once a week. Without "D", your fusions may not take, fail, or take forever to fuse. The longer they take to fuse, the more chances you have for breaking rods. The rods are not designed to last forever if fusions are not good, or have failed.

    If you feel a lot of clicking and klunking in your back, you may have broken hardware. Get a copy on CD of every CT Scan, MRI, and X-rays. X-rays standing and laying down. Laying down you may not see anything, but standing up, you can easily see broken hardware if present.

    Get that D test. You won't absorb Calcium without D. And there are a host of other problems you'll have fusing without proper levels of D. Take Extra D anyway! It won't hurt you and your body will need plenty while fusing. Don't forget standard stuff like C, B Vitamins, Fish Oil, Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc-D3 mix, Multi-Vitamin. Your body really switches on when you have bone fractures, damage going on and it needs extra stuff to fix things. Including calories. 16000 vs 2000.

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,224
    Just reminder, there are no medical professionals on forums.
    Please inform your doctor of all products you take, including supplements and or any over the counter meds and or vitamins.

    Also, please let your doctor guide you re your diet and calorie intake.
    What may be beneficial for one may be harmful to another.
    Your doctor knows best about you and your overall well being.

    Thank you

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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