What to expect for your spine surgery

Patients getting ready to undergo spine surgery may experience anxiety as the surgical date approaches. Spine surgery can be an overwhelming concept, especially if a patient has already tried months and years of conservative treatment without any lasting pain relief.

If you are approaching your surgical date and are becoming nervous about your upcoming spine surgery, the best counterbalance to anxiety is knowledge. We encourage you to reach out to our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute for information about what to expect before, during and after your procedure, even if your procedure is not with our team. Our goal is to empower patients with knowledge so you can walk into your surgical appointment feeling confident and sure about your decision.

Before your spine surgery

Before your surgical procedure, you should begin to research what you need to do to prepare for the surgery and the recovery period. This includes making arrangements to travel to the surgery center (if necessary), find a Care Partner to assist you during your recovery time, schedule time off of work and arrange transportation if you are advised to not drive for a few weeks after surgery.

Many patients are required to stop taking certain medications a week or two prior to surgery. These medications include some blood thinning medications and pain relievers. You should consult your surgeon and physician before stopping these medications to ensure that the brief pause will not negatively affect your health.

Additionally, many types of spine surgery prohibit driving for a week or two after the surgical procedure. If you are able to return to work during this time, you may need to arrange transportation to take you to and from the office. You should also plan to arrange transportation for groceries and medication, if necessary. Some spine surgeries have a shorter recovery time than others, but you should have a transportation plan in case you are not healing as quickly as you expected.

During your spine surgery

The surgery itself can vary from an outpatient procedure to a major operation that requires lengthy hospitalization. For example, traditional open back surgery must be performed in a hospital due to the increased risk of this highly invasive procedure. Patients who undergo traditional open back surgery can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days immediately following the surgery for monitored recovery.

If you are undergoing a minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute, you can expect to have your surgery and be discharged to head home within a few hours. Our minimally invasive procedures allow our patients to experience a low risk surgery, precise treatment and a shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery. Because of our minimally invasive spine procedures and 96 “patient satisfaction score”:/back_problems/back_surgery/articles/success/,^ you can undergo spine surgery in an atmosphere of comfort and compassion at one of our seven world-class surgery centers across the country.

After your spine surgery

The recovery period for most patients will be dependent upon the type of surgery received and the patient’s health and medical history. Patients who undergo minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute have a shorter recovery time^ than patients who undergo traditional open back surgery.

Regardless of the type of procedure you have, you will be informed about the specific requirements of your recovery period before you leave the facility or hospital. Some common guidelines you can expect during your recovery include:

  • Some period of recovery at the hospital or clinic (be it hours or days)
  • Pain treatment with medication and ice
  • Plenty of rest, but also limited movement shortly after surgery
  • Back surgery rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Postoperative follow-up appointments

For more information about what to expect during your Patient Experience or to ask about the minimally invasive procedures we offer, please contact our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute. We are here to help you find answers so you can make an informed decision about your health care needs.