What to Expect after Lumbar Disc Fusion Surgery
As with any major surgery, the recovery period following lumbar disc fusion surgery can be challenging. When performed as a traditional open spine procedure, lumbar fusion is a massively intrusive spine operation that requires a large incision. While the ultimate goal of this surgery is to permanently remove the source of back pain – after more conservative treatments have failed – the days, weeks and months after the operation can be both mentally and physically taxing.
After the surgery
The days immediately following a traditional open spine lumbar disc fusion surgery can be somewhat difficult. Once the pain medication begins to wear off, the patient may feel discomfort at the surgical site.
Here are some things you can expect following an open spine lumbar disc surgery:
• Dressing care – In order for your incision to heal, your surgeon will use a combination of stitches, staples, glue and bandages. Listen closely to your orthopedic surgeons’ advice on treating your dressings because some dressings will dissolve or fall off on their own, while others require professional removal. Keep your incision dry and clean, and change bandages as instructed to avoid infection.
• Rest – Immediately following the operation, you will need to take it easy to allow your body time to recover.
• Activity – Once you are feeling strong enough, it is important to get your blood flowing by moving around. Although you must be careful not to overdo it, exercise is crucial to ensuring the success of your operation.
• Medication – You will likely receive a prescription for oral pain medication to help manage your discomfort.
• Physical therapy – Eventually, you will require physical therapy to help you regain your strength.
• Check-ups – Your first postoperative check up will likely be four to six weeks after your operation; however, don’t be afraid to ask for help or call your physician if you are experiencing additional pain or symptoms.
Laser Spine Institute
An alternative to traditional open spine surgery is available at Laser Spine Institute in the form of minimally invasive, outpatient spine procedures. To learn more about these advanced procedures as an alternative to open spine lumbar disc fusion, contact us today.