Spine surgery is a major procedure that often involves a lengthy recovery process. For many people who haven’t experienced an improvement in pain and other symptoms through more conservative treatments, spine surgery may be necessary to eliminate chronic pain and restore function. Due to the lengthy recovery process, it’s important that you understand what to expect before deciding whether to move forward with surgery.
Recovery after spine surgery depends on a variety of factors. The most important factor impacting the length of your recovery is the type of spine surgery procedure you’re undergoing. However, several other factors will also impact how long it will take you to heal:
Laminectomy and foraminotomy procedures are performed to correct a condition called spinal stenosis, which is caused by a gradual narrowing of the nerve channels in your spinal column. This condition results in progressive pain near the spine and numbness in the arms, legs, hands, and feet. These procedures can be performed anywhere on the spine where stenosis develops, including the lumbar, thoracic, or cervical regions.
Recovery after this type of spine surgery requires one week of home rest, followed by one to two months of limitations in activity. Heavy lifting, bending, and engaging in many athletic activities must be avoided during this recovery period.
Many back issues are caused by a damaged or degenerated disc. This can result in chronic pain and numbness in the arms, legs, fingers, and toes. A discectomy can be performed to remove part of the damaged disc, providing significant relief from pain and numbness.
Discectomies are typically performed on an outpatient basis and result in a relatively short recovery compared with other spine surgery procedures. You should be able to resume most regular activities after about a week of rest. Heavy lifting and certain athletic activities should be avoided for up to two months to ensure proper healing.
Significant damage to one or more discs is often treated using artificial disc replacement. During this procedure, your damaged disc is replaced with a prosthetic one that mimics the pliability of your natural disc. This is a relatively new procedure that has been quite successful at restoring full range of motion and flexibility.
In most instances, you can expect to fully recover in approximately six weeks after undergoing artificial disc replacement.
Spinal fusion surgery is being increasingly viewed as a last resort due to the limitations it places on motion. During this procedure, titanium rods, screws and plates are inserted into your spine to stabilize the two vertebrae being fused together.
This is the most extensive spine surgery procedure, often taking as long as eight hours to complete. In addition, it has by far the longest recovery period. Spinal fusion patients should expect their recovery to take 6-12 months, and activity will be heavily restricted during this time.
At Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, our orthopedic spine surgeons are committed to delivering the exceptional quality care you deserve. Our caring team goes to great lengths to ensure you have an amazing experience throughout every phase of your treatment, including your recovery.
Our spine surgery procedures are performed by Dr. J. Alex Sielatycki. He focuses on surgical motion preservation procedures and other more minimally invasive treatments whenever appropriate. After surgery, you’ll receive detailed aftercare instructions that will provide you with everything you need to know to achieve a successful recovery. By following our instructions diligently, you can restore a pain-free life and return to enjoying the activities you love.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We serve patients in Meeker and throughout the White River Valley.
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