The nurse is caring for a 14-year-old girl with scoliosis and a curvature greater than 50 degrees. The patient underwent a posterior spinal fusion with implants. Postoperatively, the priority nursing action to prevent complications is


• The nurse must frequently perform a neurovascular assessment of the lower extremities to monitor for and prevent neurologic deficits.

• Assess the lower extremities for warmth, sensation, movement, and pulse strength. Neurologic dysfunction may result from bleeding or compression caused by a bone particle dislodged during the spinal fusion.

Incorrect options:

• An indwelling catheter is left in place for 24 hours because voiding may be difficult due to the horizontal position that must be maintained, but assessing this is not the priority.

• Promoting comfort and maintaining skin integrity are important nursing interventions, but neurological integrity is a priority.

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