Spine surgery was traditionally performed as open surgery, which meant a very long incision, a lengthy hospital stay, and a greater risk of complications. Now, patients often have the option of having minimally invasive surgery to correct their back problems. Although these procedures are minimally invasive, it’s still important for patients to become fully aware of what’s involved and what they can expect before making the decision to move forward with the operation.
Each patient’s recovery time is subject to change, depending on factors like the patient’s overall health. However, patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery can expect a shorter stay in the hospital. As a general rule of thumb, minimally invasive procedures reduce the hospital stay by one-half. For example, the hospital stay for an open lumbar fusion is typically five to seven days. When this procedure is performed with minimally invasive techniques, patients might return home in two to three days.
Once you’ve returned home, it’s important to manage your medications properly or enlist the help of a family member. Your doctor might ask that you take antibiotics to prevent an infection. You may also be started on blood thinners to reduce your risk of blood clots. And you can manage your pain with pain medication. If you find that your pain is not well controlled with your current medication regimen, call your doctor for guidance.
Resuming Normal Activities
You may begin physical therapy before you return home from the hospital. After you are discharged, it’s important to keep your physical therapy appointments to facilitate your recovery and help you resume your normal activities. Some patients might be fully recovered in as few as six weeks. Talk to your doctor about when you can begin driving, working, and lifting heavy objects again.
Spine Institute of Nevada is a leader in minimally invasive procedures. Some of the minimally invasive surgeries we perform in Las Vegas include cervical discectomy, thoracic lateral fusion, lumbar microdiscectomy, and lumbar laminectomy—just to name a few. You can schedule a consult with a spine surgeon by contacting us at 702-239-3787.