Between hope and fear: A qualitative study on perioperative experiences and coping of patients after lumbar fusion surgery

Annemieke Y. Van Der Horst*, Hester R. Trompetter, Dean F.M. Pakvis, Saskia M. Kelders, Karlein M.G. Schreurs, Ernst T. Bohlmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objective
Recovery following lumbar fusion surgery is frequently accompanied by post-operative pain, and patients often continue to experience some level of chronic pain. There is a scarcity of qualitative research focusing on patient experiences regarding lumbar fusion surgery. This study aims to clarify how lumbar fusion surgery patients experience the perioperative period; their hopes, their post-operative pain experiences, their fluctuating physical condition and accompanying emotions.

Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 lumbar fusion surgery patients. Transcripts of these interviews were open and axial coded by two coders using Atlas.ti software and Thematic Analysis.

Results
A total of thirteen categories and four overarching themes were generated from the data. Participants described their beliefs and experiences surrounding surgery, including a long preoperative illness process, tumultuous recovery and unfulfilled preoperative expectations. Participants used various forms of pain coping including activity avoidance and endurance, and emotion regulation strategies such as acceptance.

Conclusion
This study demonstrates that, for lumbar fusion patients, surgery seems to be a last resort. Professionals should fulfill the patients need for information and focus on managing realistic expectations while respecting the distress and strain the illness process has on a patient, thereby potentially increasing patient satisfaction and enhancing postoperative recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100707
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing
Volume35
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • ANXIETY
  • AVOIDANCE
  • CONSEQUENCES
  • Coping
  • DEPRESSION
  • EXPECTATIONS
  • Emotion regulation
  • IMPACT
  • Interviews
  • LOW-BACK-PAIN
  • Lumbar fusion surgery
  • POSTOPERATIVE PAIN
  • PREVALENCE
  • Patient experiences
  • Qualitative research
  • RECOVERY

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