How long will you be out of work after bulging disc surgery?

People seriously considering bulging disc surgery are dealing with symptoms that disrupt their ability to perform basic tasks, especially those involved in their job. While conservative treatments like medication or physical therapy are effective for many, spine surgery can offer the best hope for others who haven’t been able to find relief.

A common concern for patients deciding if bulging disc surgery is right for them is how long they can expect to be out of work during the recovery process. The answer to this question depends on a large number of factors, including a patient’s age, state of health, strenuousness of the job, severity of the disc bulge and the specific procedure being performed.

One key factor that can affect return to work time is the invasiveness of the procedure, with minimally invasive spine surgery offering the potential for a quicker return to work compared to traditional procedures.^ By learning more about these different approaches, you can work with your doctor to make this important decision on a more informed basis.

Recovering from traditional bulging disc surgery

For years, bulging disc surgery required a highly invasive full-open spine procedure performed in a hospital setting. This type of surgery requires the surgeon to make a large incision to access the spine and remove the portion of the disc that is putting pressure on spinal nerves. In cases of more severe disc degeneration, full removal of the disc and a spinal fusion to stabilize the area could be needed.

Because of the muscle disruption involved from the large incision, these procedures require an overnight hospital stay of one or more nights. Since muscles are cut or torn, patients can expect a long and difficult recovery period. Return-to-work times vary on a case by case basis, but patients undergoing traditional procedures are often advised to expect to be out of work for three months or longer, with some patients requiring up to a year before normal activities can be fully resumed.

Recovering from minimally invasive bulging disc surgery

As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures,^ the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive spine surgery to treat conditions including bulging discs. Our procedures can be performed with a less than 1-inch incision on an outpatient basis through the use of muscle-sparing techniques.

81 percent of our patients who undergo a minimally invasive decompression surgery and 70 percent of our minimally invasive stabilization patients return to work within three months of surgery.^ To learn more about our procedures and the advantages they can offer patients, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

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

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