Spine surgery is often recommended as a last-resort intervention, when symptoms are no longer alleviated with nonoperative interventions, or have caused significant disruption of normal activities.
If you’ve been contemplating getting a spine surgery, you probably have some questions about how long it may take you to return to your normal activities and what the entire recovery process can entail. Here’s some information to help set your expectations of the recovery process for spine surgery.
Recovery Time for Spine Surgery
The recovery time for spine surgery is different for everyone. It will depend on the severity of your condition, the surgical approach used and type of surgery done, and your overall health, among other factors.
The recovery time for laminectomy, for instance, can take anywhere between four weeks and a few months. If you’ve had spinal fusion done at the same time, recovery can take even longer. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss all of these with you during your appointment.
What Recovery from Spine Surgery Entails
As with any other type of surgical procedure, expect to experience some pain after your spine surgery. Your care team will provide you with analgesics to manage your pain and ensure your comfort as you recover.
Your care team may also have you wear a brace to support and keep your spine aligned as well as reduce your risk for injury as it heals. Your care team will also likely encourage you to walk and move around (with supervision) a day after your surgery, or as soon as your anesthesia wears off. You need to avoid certain movements and positions, such as lifting, twisting movements, sitting for extended periods, or excessive bending, until they say it is safe to do so. A walker and other assisted devices may be required initially.
Prior to your discharge, your care team will give you a detailed set of postoperative instructions—which you need to follow—to minimize your risk for complications.
You may need someone to drive you home and help you to do certain tasks such as household chores, shopping, and preparing meals during the first few days/weeks.
Your orthopedic surgeon will likely have you come back for a follow-up appointment four to six weeks after your surgery to check on your incision and progress in recovery. Your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy, which usually starts between four and seven weeks after your discharge depending on which procedure you’ve had. Physical therapy is an essential component of your rehabilitation plan, as it facilitates a safe and successful recovery, so it is imperative that you diligently work with your PT.
Your surgeon will provide you with a return-to-work recommendation based on the nature of your job. If you have a physically demanding job (e.g., one that requires heavy lifting or that involves using vibrating equipment) and you’ve had an open surgery, your doctor may have you wait several months before you can go back to work.
Spine Surgery in Westlake and Avon, Ohio
If you are considering spine surgery, visit us here at Orthopaedic Associates in Westlake of Avon, Ohio for a consultation with Dr. Jeffrey Roberts, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the nonsurgical and surgical treatment of adolescent and adult spine problems.
Dr. Roberts has a solid track record spanning nearly three decades for the unmatched patient outcomes he provides for even the most complex spine procedures. This means you can rest assured that you’re in safe and competent hands.
To find out more about the treatments and on-site services we offer, or to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons, call us at (440) 892-1440 or (866) 362-7624. We look forward to serving you!