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 overwhelming, especially if a patient has already tried several weeks or months of conservative treatment, like pain medication or physical therapy, without experiencing 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 contact 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 you 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 planning to travel to the surgery center (if necessary), finding someone to assist you during your recovery time, scheduling time off work and arranging transportation if you are advised not to 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 medications. You should consult your doctor or surgeon before discontinuing these medications to ensure that the brief pause will not negatively affect your health.

Additionally, many types of spine surgery prohibit driving after surgery, especially if you are taking pain medication and muscle relaxers. 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 your transportation for groceries and medication, in case you are not healing as quickly as 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 has a two- to five-day hospital stay due to the increased risk of this highly invasive procedure, which uses a 6- to 8-inch incision that cuts or tears the muscles surrounding the spine. Patients who undergo traditional open back surgery can expect to have a lengthy recovery period of six months to a year.

If you are undergoing a minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute, you can expect to have your surgery and be up and walking within a few hours of surgery.^ Our minimally invasive procedures allow our patients to experience a lower risk of complication^ compared to traditional open back surgery. Because of our minimally invasive spine procedures and our patient satisfaction score of 98,^ you can undergo spine surgery in an atmosphere of comfort and compassion at one of our state-of-the-art surgery centers across the country.

After your spine surgery

The recovery period for most patients depends 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^ compared to patients who undergo traditional open spine 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
  • Postsurgical exercises
  • 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 reach out to the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute. Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures. We are here to help you find answers so you can make an informed decision about your spine care needs.