The duration of spinal surgeries can vary from a few minutes to several hours. Based on the duration and type of surgery and the pathological condition of the patient, the patient may develop complications and discomfort in the intraoperative and postoperative period. Perioperative nurses in the spinal surgery unit have a duty bestowed upon them to provide holistic care to spinal surgery patients in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative period to enable proper evaluation, enhance patient comfort levels, prevent complications and allow early mobilization, rehabilitation, and recovery. This essay explores literature pertaining to perioperative nursing for spinal patients.
The spine or the vertebral column lies in the central portion of the posterior aspect of the body. It is made up of 33 vertebrae, of which 7 are cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, 5 sacral vertebra and 4 coccygeal vertebrae (RTIICS, 2009) (Fig.1). The sacral and coccygeal vertebrae are fused while others are not. A typical vertebra consists of a vertebral body with two pedicles, 2 transverse processes, 2 laminae and one spinous process (Fig.2). Between the bodies of vertebrae, intervertebral discs which are fibrocartilagenous in nature are present. The disc is spongy for the purpose of the absorption of stress. The spinal canal which contains the spinal cord runs through the middle parts of the vertebrae. From the spinal cord, spinal nerves arise which come out of the vertebral column and innervate various parts of the body.
The cervical spine is the most mobile portion of the spine. It allows the body to flex more than 20 deg and rotate the head axially 40-50 deg. The thoracic spine also allows axial rotation but only up to T9. Below T9, the spine allows only flexion and extension (Harvey, 2005, p.426).
The spinal cord can get affected by diseases and trauma. . .