Spinal Fusion Recovery Time

Minimally invasive spinal fusion recovery – what you need to know

After undergoing a minimally invasive spinal fusion, the recovery process will be different for each patient. However, most patients – unless your surgeon instructs you differently – should avoid any heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for about six to eight weeks after surgery. While your physician will likely prescribe short walks and mild rehabilitation exercises following your procedure, any activity that produces severe pain should be stopped immediately.

Exercises following an minimally invasive lumbar spine procedure

Recovery exercises will vary based on the type of procedure that was performed. In the instance of a lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) from Laser Spine Institute, the focus will be on regaining strength and mobility in the lower back and hips. The exercises recommended to you by your physician and our Physical Therapy Consultants will be broken up into two levels. The gentle exercises in Level 1 are designed for patients in their second or third week after surgery, while the more advanced exercises in Level 2 are reserved for the sixth or seventh weeks following surgery.

Level 1 exercises during minimally invasive spinal fusion recovery include:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Abdominal bracing
  • Shoulder presses
  • Gluteal sets

Level 2 exercises during minimally invasive spinal fusion recovery include:

  • Hook-lying alternative arms
  • Hook-lying alternative legs
  • Hook-lying combo
  • Bridging
  • Supine sciatic/tibial glides

Exercise details & precautions

For a detailed explanation of the above exercises and a step-by-step video about proper body mechanics while performing them, refer to the DVD given to you after your surgery or go to http://www.spine-exercises.com. Your surgeon or our Physical Therapy Consultants will likely suggest that you perform these exercises one to three times per day, depending on the stage of your recovery process. Exercises will also be paired with intermittent periods of walking. Absolutely no heavy lifting should be performed for at least six to eight weeks after your surgery.