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Healing The Body After Spinal Fusion


After your surgery adequate nutrition is necessary to facilitate and 
improve the healing process. Here at the Institute of Spinal 
Disorders we take this very seriously and recommend that you 
follow a nutritional program that promotes the healing process 
after your spinal surgery.  After a spinal fusion, the metabolic demands increase.  Therefore, you will need to supply your body with the proper nutrition to promote the necessary wound healing and premote bone growth.  The caloric demand can double or triple after surgery.

We recommend that you eat 5-6 times per day to keep up with your increased metabolism.

Your meals should include lean protein, unprocessed foods, fresh 
fruits, fresh vegetables, and foods that are high in Omega 3 fatty 
acids. Avoid any processed and/or fast food, because they 
contain far fewer necessary nutrients.

You should also increase intake of calcium and vitamin D. These 
nutrients are used for tissue and bone healing after surgery. In 
order to build bone, protein is laid down first and then calcium is 
incorporated into the protein to form bone with the assistance of 
vitamin D3 and K2.

Vitamin D with K2 

Research has shown that most individuals in the United States are deficient in 
Vitamin D. It is our recommendation that post-operatively you take 10,000 
International Units of Vitamin D each day along with Vitamin K. After 3 months 
have passed you may decrease to Vitamin D with K2 5,000 IU daily.
Vitamin D and K2 need to be taken together to aid in directing calcium like a 
traffic function to go into your bones, making them stronger. K2 also prevents 
calcium from going to the wrong areas, such as to your kidneys, where it could 
lead to kidney stones, or your blood vessels, where it could trigger heart 
Vitamin K2 helps bind calcium to the bone matrix, leading to increased bone 
mineral content. Consequently, the skeleton becomes more resistant and less 
susceptible to fracture. But osteocalcin needs vitamin K2 to function optimally.
Long-term Vitamin K2 deficiency can lead to osteoclasts removing more bone 
tissue than osteoblasts can build. This will result in a slow and steady loss of 
bone tissue, eventually leading to porosity, degradation, and weakness of the 
bones, which could lead to a non-union or the bone not fusing and increase risk 
of fracture.

We have in our practice that more than 90% of our patients are 
Vitamin D deficient. Low Vitamin D levels after surgery can slow or 
prevent proper development of bone. Post-operative maintenance 
of normal Vitamin D levels is necessary for optimal bone formation 
and healing. We test all the Vitamin D levels of all patients prior to 
Vitamin D is an antioxidant that is important in regulating blood 
calcium levels and bone metabolism. Vitamin D is necessary for 
adequate bone formation and decreases the development of 
osteoporosis. It has also been found to:
• Decrease the occurrence of 25 different cancers.
• Help with metabolism.
• Help with depression.
• Have many other benefits.
We want you to take K2 with Vitamin D as this aids in bone 
formation and healing. If you are on blood thinners you should not 
take the Vitamin D without the K2. 


Calcium is important for healthy bones and the development of 
a solid fusion after surgery. Your body takes about 2-3 months 
to completely heal a solid fusion after surgery. During this time 
of healing it is important to supply your body with adequate 
calcium to promote proper healing. It is also important to 
provide your body with the appropriate type of Calcium. Some 
Calcium on the market is not absorbed very well by the 
digestive tract. The types of Calcium that are well absorbed by 
the digestive tract are Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite 
Concentrate, Calcium Citrate, and Calcium Aspartate. 
We recommend Bone Builder Extra Strength by Metagenics 
because it is easily absorbed and contains collagen protein, 
growth factors, and chondroitin sulfate. All of these help support 
bone growth. Metagenics Bone Builder Extra Strength also 
contains phosphorus, fluoride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, 
and manganese. These are necessary for bone formation and 
skeletal metabolism.

Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate  (MCHC) is a highly absorbable crystalline compound that provides everything found in healthy bones and is backed by more than 30 years of research. MCHC contains naturally occurring calcium, phosphorus, and trace amounts of other minerals, bone growth 
factors, collagen and other vital bone proteins. This formula is designed to support bone mineral density and also features vitamin D for enhanced bone health support.



Dovie McVean, MS, PA-C Certified Physician Assistant, Orthopedic Surgery & Nutritionist

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