What to Expect After Back Surgery

If you are scheduled for or considering back surgery, it’s important to know what to expect after surgery. There are many different surgical techniques used to treat back pain, and each one can affect recovery differently. In this blog post, we will discuss the three most common surgical techniques used for back surgery and how they can affect your recovery. We will also break down the entire recovery process so that you know what to expect day-by-day after surgery.

Types of Procedures

The first step in knowing what to expect after back surgery is understanding the different types of surgical procedures that are available. The three most common types of back surgery are laminectomy, discectomy, and spinal fusion.

Laminectomy:

A laminectomy is a procedure that involves removing a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina. This procedure is often used to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Discectomy:

A discectomy is a procedure that involves removing a herniated disc that is pressing on the spinal cord or nerves. This can be done through an incision in the back or through a small tube called an endoscope.

Spinal Fusion:

A spinal fusion is a procedure that involves joining two or more vertebrae together. This is often done to stabilize the spine and relieve pain.

What to Expect During Recovery

After you understand the different types of back surgery, it’s important to know how they can affect your recovery. Each type of surgery has its own recovery process, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about what to expect after your particular surgery. In general, however, there are a few things that are common among all types of back surgery.

Hospital Stay

nurse assisting patient with walker

First, you will likely be required to stay in the hospital for a few days after your surgery. During this time, you will be monitored closely by your medical team. You will also be given pain medication to help manage any pain you may experience. While in the hospital, you can expect to start physical therapy within the first 24 hours. You may also be given a back brace to wear during the recovery process.

Going Home

Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will need to take it easy for a few weeks. This means no heavy lifting, strenuous activity, or driving. You will also need to avoid bending or twisting your back. However, your physical therapy will continue to ensure that your muscles heal properly. Your doctor will develop a PT routine based on your individual case, however the exercises will be centered around strengthening your spine.

Becoming More Active

After a few weeks, you will slowly start to increase your activity level. Your doctor will likely give you specific restrictions to follow until around the six week mark. At this point, you may be able to slowing start doing more. Most people are able to return to work around the 3 week mark. However, it is essential to check with your doctor and follow their instructions.

Follow-Up Care

About 4-6 weeks after surgery, you will follow up with your doctor, then you will continue to see them every few months. Eventually, you will only need to follow-up every year or so.

It is important to remember that recovery from back surgery takes time. It is not uncommon for it to take several months before you feel like yourself again. However, most people find that their back pain is greatly reduced after surgery and they are able to return to their normal activities.

In Conclusion

In this blog post, we discussed the three most common surgical techniques used for back surgery and how they can affect your recovery. We also broke down the entire recovery process so that you know what to expect after surgery. If you are scheduled for back surgery or are considering it, we hope that this blog post has been helpful in preparing you for what to expect. Remember, recovery takes time, but eventually you will be back to your normal self. Thanks for reading!

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