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 highly invasive spine operation that requires a large 6- to 8-inch incision. While the 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. To learn about the post-surgical process, read the following article.

The process after a lumbar disc fusion 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 fusion surgery:

  • Dressing care. For your incision to heal, your surgeon will use a combination of stitches, staples, glue and bandages. Listen closely to your surgeon’s 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, low-impact 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 checkup will likely be four to six weeks after your operation. However, don’t be afraid to ask for help or call your doctor if you are experiencing additional symptoms.

A minimally invasive alternative to lumbar disc fusion surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery in the form of minimally invasive spine procedures.^ As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain each year. To learn more about the advantages of our outpatient procedures, contact us today.

Our procedures utilize small incisions that do not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, allowing for a shorter recovery period and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To find out if you are a potential candidate for our clinically appropriate alternative^ to lumbar disc fusion surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*