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What’s the Typical Recovery Time for Spine Surgery?

After finding out they may require surgery one of the first questions most people ask is “when can I be back on my feet?”.  What is a typical recovery time for back or neck surgery? Recovery times can vary depending on an individual’s condition, health and other factors. But, here are some average recovery times for different spine surgeries performed by the doctors here at Saratoga Spine.

Neck Fusion Recovery

Cervical discectomy and fusion, also called a neck fusion, involves the surgical removal of an intervertebral disc and fusion of the two adjacent vertebrae together. Most patients are walking around a few hours after neck fusion surgery and can leave the hospital the next day. After surgery the doctor may ask that you wear a soft or hard collar to aid in the healing process. Most people can return to work in 2-6 weeks, depending on the nature of their job.

Neck Disc Replacement Surgery Recovery

Cervical disc arthroplasty is the name for a surgery in which one or more of the discs between vertebrae are replaced with an artificial disc. After disc replacement surgery a patient usually stays in the hospital for one night and goes home the following day. Similar to neck fusion surgery, with disc replacement surgery the patient may be required to wear a neck brace for a few weeks after surgery. They may return to work 2-6 weeks after the operation, depending on the type of work they perform.

Cervical Laminoplasty Recovery Time

Cervical laminoplasty is a procedure used to treat spinal stenosis and reduce pressure on the spinal cord in the neck. After this operation a patient may experience significant pain in the back of the neck for several days. Patients typically remain in the hospital for 3-4 days post-operatively and pain can be managed with medication. A cervical collar is typically recommended for several weeks after the operation. For patients with significant myelopathy the nerves can take up to 18 months to heal. However, depending on the severity of their original condition, there may be some permanent nerve damage.

saratoga spine typical recovery time for spine and neck surgeriesKyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is the surgical method for repairing compression fractures of the spine. Since kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, patients are typically released from the hospital the same day or the following day. Patients are typically asked to refrain from repeated motions such as bending, twisting or lifting objects over 5 pounds for a period of about 4-6 weeks.

Lumbar Fusion Recovery

A spinal fusion surgery is a procedure in which two or more adjacent vertebrae are surgically fused together. During a lumbar fusion the vertebrae that are fused are located in the lumbar region of the spine. The methods used to fuse the vertebrae can vary depending on the needs of the patient. Therefore the recovery time can also vary. Typically patients stay in the hospital for 2-4 days after surgery and can return to work within 6-12 weeks, depending on their job requirements.

LLIF / XLIF Surgery Recovery Time

LLIF is an acronym used for lateral lumbar interbody fusion surgery while XLIF refers to extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion. These procedures involve surgically fusing two or more adjacent vertebrae together. However, with XLIF or LLIF, incisions are made on the patient’s side and the surgeon uses special instruments to access the spine from the side, without cutting through the back muscles. After an XLIF or LLIF surgery an individual usually stays in the hospital for one or two nights. Pain is treated with pain relievers and/or muscle relaxers. Depending on the nature of the individual’s job they can typically return to work within 2-6 weeks after surgery.

Lumbar Laminectomy / Discectomy

A lumbar laminectomy or discectomy is used to relieve pressure on the spinal cord in the lower back region. During this procedure all or part of a vertebrae or intervertebral disc is surgically removed. Depending on the severity of the condition a patient may be able to go home the same day as the surgery or may be asked to stay in the hospital for up to 3 days depending on how many levels were decompressed. Post-surgical pain is treated with pain medications and/or muscle relaxants. Most patients can return to work within 2-6 weeks of their surgery depending on the type of work they perform.


Recovery Times for Neck and Back Surgeries

With most spine surgeries patients are encouraged to be up and walking around the day of or day after surgery. Many procedures require a short (if any) hospital stay and have a relatively quick recovery time. Patients can usually return to work within weeks of having spine surgery. Each patient’s individual conditions are different, so if your doctor recommends surgery be sure to ask him about the expected recovery time for your procedure.

*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery