Recovery after neck and back surgery

If you are experiencing chronic neck or back pain, you may be curious to know what to expect if you undergo surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we specialize in a variety of minimally invasive alternatives to traditional open neck and back surgery. Our minimally invasive procedures are performed as outpatient procedures, offering many advantages to help you get back to your daily routine.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

Many patients requiring stabilization of the spine benefit from a minimally invasive alternative to fusion called minimally invasive stabilization surgery. One form of minimally invasive stabilization, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, focuses on relieving neck pain, weakness and tingling associated with herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. Instead of hospitalization and a lengthy rehabilitation associated with traditional open spine surgery, ACDF offers you a number of benefits, including the following:

  • A small incision
  • Muscles are separated, not cut or torn
  • Reduced risk of infection and less surgical blood loss

Directly after surgery

Our esteemed surgical team and patient care personnel offer attentive, personalized medical service before, during and after your ACDF procedure. Following surgery, you will be taken to our post-surgery care unit, where you will be:

  • Monitored closely by our expert medical staff for vital signs
  • Transitioned to a monitoring area once our staff confirms that you are completely stable
  • Assisted as you begin slow and gentle movements, such as standing, sitting and walking
  • Given instructions on limitations and wound care before being discharged
  • Allowed to return home or to a hotel with the attendance of a home health care nurse

Following the procedure

The weeks following ACDF are crucial to your recovery process. We encourage you to rest and relax during this time, while following your surgeon’s instructions on resuming activity. Once you return home from surgery, you will receive follow-up calls from our Patient Services Department. You will also need to return to your local Laser Spine Institute clinic or see your primary care doctor two weeks after your surgery to check the incision area.

Starting physical therapy

In the first several days after surgery, you may be able to begin taking short walks several times a day. These can start out being five or 10 minutes long, but by the sixth or seventh week after surgery, you should be able to walk about two miles without pain. The Physical Therapy Consultants at Laser Spine Institute will also recommend a series of exercises for you. You can begin the mild, Level 1 exercises for the cervical spine about two to three weeks after your surgery. The more advanced Level 2 exercises should not begin until four to six weeks after your surgery.

Find relief from neck and back pain

At Laser Spine Institute, 88 percent of our patients return to daily activities within three months of having stabilization surgery. Each patient’s surgery and job differs, and the time that you return to your normal daily activities depends on your work environment and the type of surgery performed. To learn more about our minimally invasive procedures, including ACDF, we invite you to call a member of our Care Team today.