Spinal stenosis — what to expect for your postoperative recovery period

Before undergoing minimally invasive surgery for spinal stenosis, it is important that you know what to expect for your postoperative recovery period.

The specific recovery guidelines after your surgery depend on the type of minimally invasive procedure used to treat your spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis can be caused by several spine conditions, as well as the natural degeneration of your spine due to age. For this reason, the minimally invasive surgery used to treat your condition will be solely determined by the cause and severity of your condition.

In order to research what to expect following your spinal stenosis surgery, consult your physician to review your MRI or CT scan and accurately diagnose the cause of your spinal stenosis and the type of surgical treatment recommended for your condition.

Postoperative recovery for minimally invasive decompression surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer two types of minimally invasive decompression surgeries to treat spinal stenosis: foraminotomy and laminotomy.

Our minimally invasive decompression surgery for spinal stenosis typically requires a 12-week recovery period. This is generally shorter than the 3-month to 6-month recovery time after a traditional open back surgery. During our minimally invasive decompression surgery, the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the spine are not disturbed. This is one of the main reasons why our minimally invasive surgery has a much shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery.

You may feel slight soreness and stiffness at the surgical site for the first few days following your surgery. It is important that you listen to your body during this recovery period. If any of your movements or activities causes you pain or discomfort, stop and rest. A detailed guideline of lifting restrictions and activity regulations will be provided to you and your Care Partner prior to your surgery. If you have any questions during your recovery period, consult our care team via the SPINE LINE.

Postoperative recovery for minimally invasive stabilization surgery

We offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back fusion with our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. To treat spinal stenosis, we have two commonly used minimally invasive stabilization surgeries: transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion and anterior cervical discectomy fusion.

The recovery time following our minimally invasive stabilization surgery is typically 12 weeks. The standard recovery time for traditional open back fusion is 6 months to a year. The reason our recovery time is so much shorter is because our minimally invasive surgery is performed through a small incision and does not disrupt the surrounding muscles and soft tissues, as opposed to traditional open back fusion that requires a 5-inch to 10-inch incision and cuts through surrounding muscles and tissue.

Your surgeon or nurse will guide you through the recovery process prior to your surgery. The specific guidelines of your recovery process are dependent on the type of minimally invasive stabilization surgery you receive.

Contact our SPINE LINE with any questions during your recovery period. We also welcome you to contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive procedures and whether you are a candidate for outpatient treatment at our state-of-the-art facilities.

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