For people with moderate to severe spinal problems that do not respond to conventional conservative therapy, spinal surgery can provide dramatic relief. For example, spinal decompression can remove pressure on nerves, relieve pain and restore mobility in many such patients. If you’re a candidate for spinal surgery, it’s important to understand all aspects of the procedure and its aftermath. One of the most important questions these patients should have answers to is the length of time required to recover from spinal surgery.
Recovery time from back surgery depends on the form of surgery. Broadly speaking, there are two forms of back surgery: procedures where vertebrae are fused together versus procedures that do not immobilize the spine. Recovery from fusion surgery can take longer than the recovery time from back surgeries that only involve a decompression or a surgery that preserves motion. Your physician can tell you more about the recovery time required for a particular procedure. But it’s important for patients to consider outcomes as well as recovery time. For example, spinal decompression surgery has traditionally been performed in conjunction with spinal fusion back surgery. As part of the recovery process, restrictions on motions and activities are placed on the patient to allow the previously independent vertebral bodies to biologically fuse together and become one long rigid segment devoid of motion. In contrast, with the TOPS™ (Total Posterior Solution) System, an alternative to spinal fusion following a spinal decompression procedure, there are no restrictions placed on the patient. You maintain full range of independent vertebral motion after surgery, and the speed of recovry from this back surgery is dictated by the patient. You can increase you activity level as quickly as you want.
Back surgery treatment does not end when the surgeon completes his or her operative work. The recovery period is of critical importance in restoring spinal health. Whatever the recovery period required, make sure you carefully follow your physician’s instructions. And be aware of all your options for spinal surgery, so you’ll not only have as short a recovery time as possible, but also the best possible outcome to your back surgery.