What to expect during your minimally invasive fusion recovery process

For patients who undergo minimally invasive stabilization or fusion at Laser Spine Institute, the recovery process is typically much shorter^ than what would be experienced with a traditional open spine fusion. However, the postoperative recovery process will typically vary from patient to patient. After your procedure, your surgeon will give you and your Care Partner appropriate postoperative instructions based on your spine condition, the specific procedure you had performed and your overall level of health. As you begin your recovery after minimally invasive fusion, you will go through several stages of healing described below that each have different guidelines and expectations.

The initial minimally invasive fusion recovery stages

At Laser Spine Institute, the minimally invasive fusion recovery process begins immediately following the procedure. You will be moved from the surgical operating room into our recovery area, where nurses monitor vital signs and provide medications to alleviate your discomfort. Eventually, you will be asked to increase your activity level by walking or sitting upright in a chair before being released.

Before you are released, the surgeon or nurse will review with you and your Care Partner the postoperative recovery guidelines, including a discussion about your procedure and future appointments at Laser Spine Institute. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions before you leave the facility. You can always call our SPINE LINE, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you have any questions or concerns.

The first two weeks of minimally invasive fusion recovery

During the first two weeks of recovery following a minimally invasive fusion procedure, you may be asked to wear a neck or back brace, use ice when necessary and perform certain low-impact exercises like going for short walks a few times a day. Sexual activity may also be performed as long as you are a passive partner. Be sure not to drive during this recovery period, particularly while under the influence of muscle relaxers and/or pain medications. You should also avoid bending, twisting, lifting more than five pounds and getting your dressing wet, soaking in a tub or swimming.

The following weeks of minimally invasive fusion recovery

Your minimally invasive fusion recovery and wound healing should be checked at your local Laser Spine Institute facility or at your primary care physician 12 to 14 days following surgery. If the wound is completely healed, showering and bathing are permitted. In the following weeks, your recovery may involve increased walking activity of up to 15 minutes, cautious driving as long as you have stopped narcotics and/or muscle relaxants and limited sitting and computer work. Lifting, bending and twisting should still be avoided.

After four weeks, limited bending and twisting are permitted, and an exercise regimen involving low-impact aerobics and core muscle strengthening should be incorporated as long as you alternate between them. Be sure to avoid heavy pushing, pulling, lifting or carrying weights during these exercises. As you continue your recovery, you are encouraged to contact our dedicated team. We are available to answer any medical questions or concerns that may arise while you are getting back to your daily routine.

Learn more about minimally invasive fusion recovery

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. For more information about minimally invasive spine fusion and the recovery process, reach out to our team today. We are happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for one of the outpatient procedures we perform in our state-of-the-art facilities around the country.