What should I expect from my recovery after spinal fusion surgery?

Patients who are preparing to undergo a spinal fusion might have some hesitation and concerns about the recovery period. For any type of surgery, you can expect some sort of recovery time to allow your body to heal before you can begin getting back to your daily activities. The type of spinal fusion you undergo can be a factor in the length of your recovery period. For example, traditional open back surgery is a more invasive procedure and typically requires a longer recovery period^ than minimally invasive approaches to spinal fusion, such minimally invasive stabilization surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Before you decide the type of spinal fusion surgery you want to treat your spine condition, take some time to research your options so you can make an informed decision about your spine care needs. If you have any questions as you research spinal fusion options, we encourage you to reach out to our caring team for more information. We are here to help you find the best treatment option so you can get back to doing the things you love.

Options for spinal fusion surgery

There are two main approaches to spinal fusion surgery: traditional open back fusion and minimally invasive stabilization surgery.

Traditional open back fusion is performed in a hospital setting and can require several days of hospitalization after the surgery. The procedure begins with the surgeon making a large incision in the back that involves disruption of the muscles surrounding the spine. This causes the patient to endure an even longer recovery time to heal those muscles before he/she can get back to normal daily activities. Once the spine is accessed, the damaged spinal disc is removed to release the impacted nerve. Bone graft material is placed in the now-empty disc space to stabilize the area.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive stabilization surgery as an alternative to traditional open back fusion. By using muscle-sparing techniques we can perform fusion on an outpatient basis, allowing our patients to be up and walking within hours after the surgery.^ After the spine is accessed with a small incision, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc to take pressure off the nerve. A bone graft or implant will then be inserted to stabilize the spine.

Recovery times after spinal fusion

After traditional open spinal fusion surgery, patients are often required to stay two to three days in the hospital for a monitored recovery. This is required because of the highly invasive nature of traditional open back surgery. Patients must be monitored to avoid infection, maintain circulation and reduce stiffness. Patients will not be able to lift or bend very much for several weeks, or sit for more than about 20 minutes at a time.

Our dedication to patient-centered care has helped position Laser Spine Institute as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Since 2005, we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain.

To learn more about our procedures and typical recovery experiences, reach out to our dedicated team for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.