What to expect after lumbar spinal fusion surgery

How long does the pain last after spinal fusion surgery?

As the back continues to heal, patients usually start to feel better and find they can take on more activities. The worst pain is generally over by 4 weeks after surgery. Pain is likely to continue to decrease gradually, but some patients continue to have pain 3 to 6 months after surgery.

Is a spinal fusion major surgery?

Spinal fusion is a major surgery and medical procedure used to treat back injuries. The surgery includes using rods and screws, and bone grafts to stabilize the spine. This surgery is usually a last resort after other treatments have been tried and failed.

How long before you can bend after spinal fusion?

Don’t forget about your restrictions for the first 6 weeks after surgery. You need to avoid twisting and bending. You also need to avoid lifting, pushing or pulling objects greater than 5 lbs. Lifting and activity restrictions will be gradually removed as the healing process takes place.

Can you damage a spinal fusion?

Thankfully, most of the complications occur infrequently. The complications that can occur include those that would be associated with any type of surgery, such as infection, bleeding, and anesthetic complications. Another potential complication of spine fusion surgery in the low back includes any type of nerve damage.

How much pain is normal after spinal fusion surgery?

After surgery, pain is no longer achy and arthritic but stems from wound healing, swelling and inflammation. You will experience some pain outside of the hospital. For most back surgeries, it will take 1-1.5 months to resume “normal” mobility and function. During this time, pain should be tolerable and controlled.

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What can you not do after spinal fusion?

Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay. Do not drive for 2 to 4 weeks after your surgery or until your doctor says it is okay. Avoid riding in a car for more than 30 minutes at a time for 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

Can you live a normal life after spinal fusion?

Even people requiring bigger surgeries like spinal fusion are 90% likely to return to work and stay at work long term. While most people recover from back pain through exercise and healthy lifestyles, those who require surgery can expect to return to work and “get their life back” too.

What is the success rate of a spinal fusion?

Studies indicate that the patient’s pain is improved 60% to 70% after TLIF spinal fusion surgery and approximately 80% of patients undergoing TLIF spinal fusion surgery are satisfied with the surgical result.

How long do you wear a back brace after spinal fusion?

Depending on the surgery and your general condition, you may only have to wear your back brace for two weeks or until your first post-op visit. Lumbar fusion surgery patients will have to wear their brace for a longer period of time, up to three months, especially as they return to work and to normal activities.

Can you sit in a recliner after spinal fusion?

Do not sit for prolonged periods of time. It is okay to sit while eating and for half an hour at a time. Recliners are better than soft-backed chairs. Do not lift more than 10 pounds for the first 4 weeks after surgery.

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Will I lose weight after spinal fusion?

It is common for patients to lose or gain weight in the first few months after surgery. This is a balance between weight loss from diminished calorie intake due to poor appetite, and weight gain from diminished activity.

Can I lay on my side after spinal fusion surgery?

John Hopkins Medicine Orthopaedic Surgery Division says lying flat on your back or on either of your sides reduces pain when sleeping after spinal fusion surgery.

How should I sleep after lumbar fusion?

It is generally OK after back surgery to sleep in whatever position is most comfortable. Some prefer to sleep on one side or the other with a pillow between their knees and/or behind them to support the back.

Why does my back still hurt after spinal fusion?

Ty explains instances when a patient who has undergone hip or back surgery may still feel back pain after a lumbar fusion. A fusion involves the lower part of the lumbar spine, and can place extra strain and stresses on the SI joint. This results in SI joint dysfunction, which can cause pain.

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