Benefits of Psychological Preparation for Back Surgery

Over the past thirty years, over 200 research studies with thousands of patients investigating psychological preparation for different kinds of surgery have identified several specific benefits.

The key advantages of preparing for back surgery as well as other types of surgery are:

  • Less distress and anxiety both before and after surgery
  • Fewer complications related to the surgery and recovery
  • Less pain and less need for post-operative pain medication
  • Less anesthesia requirements

  • Quicker return to health
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  • Shorter hospitalization period
  • Reduced healthcare demands due to empowering the patient to take more responsibility for her/his recovery
  • Increased patient satisfaction with treatment
  • Reduced cost per surgery

Challenges of Preparing for Back Surgery

Despite the scientific support for the importance of psychological preparation prior to back surgery, this aspect of care is often overlooked. One reason is that spine surgery has traditionally been viewed in mechanistic terms, seeing the back surgery patient as a passive recipient of a surgical intervention with little influence over the recovery process.

The information in this article is adapted from the book, Preparing for Surgery: A Mind-Body Approach to Enhance Healing and Recovery (Deardorff and Reeves, 1997).

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