Lumbar fusion recovery

For patients who have suffered through chronic lower back pain for several months or years, having patience through the recovery period for a lumbar fusion surgery can be very difficult. However, it is critical to closely follow your postsurgical instructions after undergoing your procedure to give yourself the best chance of properly healing.

At Laser Spine Institute, even though our patients can be up and walking within hours of undergoing a minimally invasive stabilization procedure for the lumbar spine,^ having a successful recovery process still requires taking it slow and following the instructions given to you by our surgical team.

Taking it slow after lumbar fusion surgery

Whether you have undergone a traditional open spine surgery or a minimally invasive stabilization, such as Laser Spine Institute’s transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, keep the following in mind as you begin the recovery process:

  • You just underwent a surgery. Even with a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, your body still needs time to heal and your spine needs time to strengthen again before you return to favorite hobbies and activities.
  • Many patients have spent years living with a reduced activity level. That may mean that your muscles have deteriorated some and aren’t ready to resume a fully active lifestyle. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be active, but that does mean that you should cautiously enter your activity and stop immediately if you feel pain or discomfort.

You and your Care Partner will be given specific instructions and guidelines to follow to help maximize your recovery process. The key to a healthy recovery is to be patient and listen to your body.

Warning signs of failed back surgery syndrome

An important part of the recovery process after lumbar fusion surgery, especially a traditional open spine procedure, is monitoring for any pain experienced as the incision, bone and other affected body parts heal. If the surgery succeeds, the symptoms associated with the original spinal condition should begin to diminish. However, if the procedure was unsuccessful and/or you are experiencing complications, you should watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Localized pain
  • Pain that radiates to the part of the body innervated by the compressed nerve
  • Tingling
  • Numbness, or complete loss of sensation
  • Muscle weakness

If you are experiencing the same or increased symptoms after your surgery as you did before your fusion, you should consult with your surgeon or general practitioner to determine if you have failed back surgery syndrome. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients a lower risk of complications compared to traditional open spine procedures.^ We also treat patients with failed back surgery syndrome who are considering the possibility of a follow-up procedure. For more information, please contact our caring and dedicated team today.

We’re happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.