Minimally invasive spinal fusion recovery — what to expect after surgery

Before scheduling your minimally invasive spinal fusion, it is important that you understand what to expect during your recovery period. Recovery for spinal fusion surgery varies depending on the individual and the type of stabilization surgery performed. However, there are some general postoperative guidelines to follow that will help you heal properly.

During your recovery period, we encourage you to review the postoperative guide found in your surgery packet. Your Care Partner has also been given instructions for your care for the first 24 hours after your surgery. If you have any questions regarding your recovery process, please contact our nurses and team on our 24/7 SPINE LINE. We are here to help you on your journey to recovery.

Postoperative recovery guide for minimally invasive spinal fusion

During your recovery period, it is important to move at your own pace. If at any time you feel pain or discomfort during an activity, stop immediately and rest. The most important aspect of a healthy recovery is to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your limits. Even though you may feel healthy and pain-free, please remember that your body just endured spine surgery and needs to rest to heal efficiently.

In order to make your recovery period more effective, please follow these guidelines after your minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery:

  • Attempt to walk two to three times a day for the first week following your surgery. These walks should only last five to 10 minutes, and you should stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort.
  • Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time. Be sure to move around and change positions frequently throughout the day, except when sleeping.
  • Do not drive for the first 48 hours after your minimally invasive spinal fusion or until you’ve stopped taking pain medications or muscle relaxants completely. Avoid rough or uneven roads.
  • Be sure to try the daily activities and stretches posted on Spine-Exercises.com.

For a complete list of do’s and don’ts following your minimally invasive spinal fusion procedure, please refer to the postoperative guide in your surgery packet. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact our dedicated team.

Minimally invasive spinal fusion versus traditional spinal fusion

People facing the decision about whether or not to undergo a spinal fusion surgery for chronic neck or back pain should consider the differences between a traditional spinal fusion and our minimally invasive spinal fusion. During a traditional spinal fusion, a 6- to 8-inch incision is made across a large portion of the back, and surrounding muscles are cut or torn in order to fuse the vertebrae of the spine together. The average length of recovery for a traditional spinal fusion is about six months to a year, mainly because the muscles need time to heal properly before you can return to your normal functions.

At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spinal fusion is performed through a small incision, usually less than 1-inch in length. Instead of cutting through the surrounding muscles and tissues, our procedures simply move the muscles aside so we can properly access the vertebrae of the spine. This means that you will have a lower risk of complication and a shorter recovery period.^ Additionally, all of our procedures are performed in our outpatient surgery centers throughout the country, which means you have reduced hospital-associated costs.^

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute

  • No lengthy recovery^
  • Board-certified surgeons+
  • Less surgical blood loss^
  • A reduced risk of infection^
  • Patient satisfaction score of 98^
  • Patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100^

If you are interested in learning more about our minimally invasive spinal fusion, please reach out to us to schedule a free MRI review* and determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures. We can help you recapture your quality of life from chronic spine pain and discomfort.