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 care team at our SPINE LINE. We are here to help you on your journey to recovery.

Postoperative Recovery Guide

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 in order to heal efficiently.

In order to make your recovery period more effective, please follow these guidelines after your stabilization surgery:

  • Attempt to walk two to three times a day for the first three days following your surgery. These walks should only last a short time, and you should stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort.
  • Avoid staying in one position for more than 20 minutes. Be sure to move around and change positions frequently throughout the day.
  • NEVER drive while taking pain medication or muscle relaxers.
  • DO NOT drive for the first two weeks following your minimally invasive spinal fusion. Avoid rough or uneven roads.
  • Be sure to try the daily activities and stretches posted on

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, do not hesitate to call our SPINE LINE and discuss your concerns with one of our nurses or care team specialists.

Comparing Procedures: Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion vs. Traditional Spinal Fusion

For 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, the incision is made across a large portion of the back, and surrounding muscles and blood vessels are torn and moved 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 cut and torn 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 about 1-inch or so in length. Instead of cutting through the surrounding muscles and tissues, our advanced surgical technology allows us to simply move the muscles aside so we can properly access the vertebrae of the spine. This means that you will have minimal scarring and a shorter recovery period.^ Additionally, all of our procedures are performed in our outpatient surgical centers, which means you do not have an additional cost for hospitalization after the surgery.

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute

  • No lengthy recovery^
  • Less than a 1-inch incision (small incision for MIS)
  • Minimally invasive outpatient procedure
  • Board-certified surgeons+

If you are interested in learning more about our minimally invasive spinal fusion, please contact our Spine Care Consultants to schedule a review of your MRI and determine your candidacy for one of our procedures. If you have already completed our spinal fusion, and you have questions about your recovery process, please call our SPINE LINE for guidance.