Monitoring after scoliosis surgery

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After a scoliosis operation, doctors and nurses will monitor your pain and recovery using a variety of different techniques. Read about the tests they use.

Key points

  • A nurse will ask you to rate your pain from 0 to 10 to ensure you are getting enough pain medication.
  • Doctors and nurses will ask you various questions and whether you can feel certain things in order to test your nervous system and ensure your spinal cord has not been injured.

The nurses and doctors will be monitoring your status while you are in the hospital. It is very important to answer their questions, even if you are feeling tired or grouchy.

Here is what one teen felt about this:

"I wouldn’t answer the nurses or doctors when they came in to ask me questions. I was so tired and I just wanted them to go away. They said, ‘You need to answer the questions,’ so I did."


Pain is generally measured on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being a great amount of pain. A nurse will ask you to rate your pain. This helps the nurses make sure that you are getting the right amount of pain medication.

Spinal cord testing

Both doctors and nurses will test your spinal nerves after your surgery. This is important to make sure there has been no injury to your spinal cord. The doctor will touch you with something sharp or dull while your eyes are closed, and ask if you can tell the difference. A nurse may ask you to move your legs and wiggle your toes. They will ask you to grasp their hand or finger and squeeze hard. The nurse may also have you close your eyes and ask you which toe they are touching.

Last updated: June 1st 2008