Spinal fusion surgery recovery advice

Patients anticipating an upcoming minimally invasive stabilization (MIS) surgery (spinal fusion) might be concerned about what to expect during the recovery period and what they can do to heal in a timely manner. For many spinal fusion patients, pain has become a way of life for too long and they are eager to get back to doing the things they love.

Our team at Laser Spine Institute is here to walk you through what to expect during your minimally invasive stabilization recovery period and to give you advice on how to have a safe and healthy journey to wellness. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to our Care Team for more information and tips on how to let your spine heal from surgery so you can recapture your life.

What you do before the surgery matters

Some patients may think that a healthy recovery period is dependent on what you do after the surgery. While this is somewhat true, patients should also note that what you do right before the surgery affects your recovery as well. In most cases, spinal fusion surgery isn’t an emergency procedure, so it can be scheduled and planned around rather easily. That means you can physically and mentally prepare yourself for your upcoming procedure.

Perhaps the most important change you can make prior to the surgery is to quit smoking before your operation. Smoking reduces the circulation to the spine and other areas of the body, thereby limiting the distribution of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the area that has been operated on, and harming the success of fusion surgery. This issue is reflected in the much higher failure rates of the surgery in smokers when compared to people who didn’t smoke or quit smoking for months before their surgery.

You can also take this time to learn all about the particular type of surgery that you will have. Many patients find that simply knowing as much as possible about a procedure in advance makes them feel more at ease with it. Being psychologically prepared for the minimally invasive stabilization surgery and the recovery can greatly aid you during the healing process. It can also help you make practical arrangements, like transportation and medical pickup, several weeks in advance of your procedure.

What to expect after the surgery

The length of time that you will recover in the hospital or surgery center will differ based on the type of spinal fusion surgery you choose to undergo. Patients who have traditional open back surgery are generally required to stay two or three nights in the hospital after surgery, while those who opt for minimally invasive stabilization at Laser Spine Institute are generally released from our outpatient facility after the surgery is completed and the patient has recovered from the anesthesia. You will be required to have a home health nurse at your residence or hotel for 24 hours after surgery.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the recovery guidelines prior to your surgery so you can let your Care Partner know what to expect after your surgery. Always listen to your body and stop an activity immediately if you feel pain or discomfort. During your recovery, consult with a doctor if you have any questions or something doesn’t feel right.

For more information about what to expect after our minimally invasive spinal fusion, please contact our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute. If you have already had one of our minimally invasive procedures and you have a question about your recovery, please call our SPINE LINE for assistance.