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Do I need to eat a special diet and drink extra milk to help my spine heal?

Dr. Thomas G. Lowe

Woodridge Orthopaedics & Spine Center, P.C.

During the healing process, which is the first month, you should certainly eat a balanced diet and avoid a lot of junk food. Certainly you can eat all the things that kids normally eat.

Dr. David W. Polly, Jr.

Minneapolis, MN

Eating healthy food is usually enough. If you lost a lot of blood, you may need to take iron, such as a vitamin pill with iron.

Dr. Patrick Bosch

Albuquerque, NM

Patients should have a healthy balanced diet, but no special diet is needed. However, a multivitamin with iron may help you recover from the surgery.

Dr. Stephen Ondra

Chicago, IL

In general, a good, balanced diet with a multi-vitamin will be adequate to help your spine heal. All young women should drink milk regularly to help develop calcium stores in their bone that will help them throughout their life. All people, but especially women, will lose calcium from their bones as they age. It is important that you drink extra milk during your growing years to help build up your store of calcium for later in life. This is important before and after surgery; even for people that have perfectly normal spines.

Dr. Baron S. Lonner

New York, NY

A special diet is not required. However, your metabolism is increased after surgery and thus you will need to increase your intake of carbohydrates and protein, which will help you heal. Of course, an adequate balance of nutrients and minerals including calcium and vitamin D are important. Iron supplements help your body replenish red blood cells that are reduced as a result of surgery. A multivitamin each day is also beneficial.

Dr. Jean-Pierre C. Farcy

New York, NY
M.M.C. Spine Center

Drinking milk cannot harm and may help but it is not mandatory. A balanced diet is recommended.

Dr. Dennis G. Crandall

Mesa, AZ

Eating a well rounded diet will take care of your body’s nutritional needs. A special diet or supplements are not required.

Dr. W. Christopher Urban

Glen Burnie, MD

A specific diet is not prescribed following surgery. A well-balanced diet will provide all of the essential nutrients required to promote bone and soft tissue healing. Drinking extra milk is a good source of calcium, which helps to prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Dr. Michael F. O'Brien

Denver Orthopaedics

No. However, eating a balanced diet supplemented with calcium and vitamin D is a reasonable thing to consider. However, for the most part, the calcium required to heal the fusion is already existent within your own body. The skeletal system is a storehouse of calcium which can be mobilized as necessary to heal fractures or spinal fusions without difficulty in the young patient.

Dr. Frank J. Schwab

New York, NY

There are no special diet requirements, however a well balanced diet and moderation of "junk food" is important to help promote healing. Extra calcium in your diet will help increase bone density and aid in the prevention of osteoporosis later in life.

Dr. Scott J. Luhmann

St. Louis, MO

No. It is recommended you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes milk and dairy products. If you think your diet is less than adequate, a once-a-day multivitamin may be added.

Dr. Robert S. Pashman

Los Angeles, CA

No. For most individuals, a normal diet will suffice.

Dr. James Mooney, III

Detroit, MI

There is no special diet or intake that is required after scoliosis surgery. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet that provides an appropriate amount of protein to aid in wound healing and appropriate amounts of calcium to maintain good bone density and bone health.

Dr. John T. Smith

University of Utah Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

No, but you do need to get adequate nutrition in order to heal from this kind of surgery. Special supplements are generally not necessary.

Dr. Robert W. Molinari

Rochester, NY

A balanced diet is all that is needed.

The commentary above recounts the experiences of these physicians. Medtronic invited them to share their stories candidly. Keep in mind that results vary; not every patient's response is the same. Talk with your doctor to learn more about any products that are mentioned above.

It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications and benefits of spinal surgery with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your doctor's judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.

  • Published: June 20, 2002
  • Updated: April 19, 2010