Spinal fusion surgery recovery advice

Patients who are considering undergoing a 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 patients in this situation, pain has become a way of life for too long and they are eager to get back to doing the things they love.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients since 2005. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures are an outpatient alternative to traditional open spinal fusion, offering our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period.^ If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to our caring team for more information about the surgical options we offer and what patients can expect during the recovery process.

Preparing to undergo spinal fusion surgery

Patients often think that a healthy recovery period is dependent on what you do after the surgery. While this is true, it’s also true 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. That means you can physically and mentally prepare yourself for your upcoming procedure.

If necessary, one of the most important changes you can make prior to the surgery is to quit smoking. Smoking reduces the circulation to the spine and other areas of the body, limiting the distribution of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the area that has been operated on, and raising the risk of complication associated with fusion 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. 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. In contrast, minimally invasive stabilization at Laser Spine Institute is performed on an outpatient basis and requires no overnight hospital stay.^ 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 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.

People who would like to find out if they are a potential candidate for one of our procedures can ask for a free review of their MRI or CT scan.*