Managing RecoverySpine Fusion Surgery: Managing Recovery

Following spine fusion surgery, it can take from six months to a full year for the intended vertebrae to fuse together. There are many ways to manage pain and encourage rehabilitation so that fusion can be successful and life quality and comfort can be restored.

Immediate recovery will require a few days of in-hospital monitoring and maintenance. Many patients having a minimally invasive approach may go home the same day as the surgery. After release, patients should not require bed rest; movement is recommended. In fact, walking and promting cardiovascular health almost immediately improves surgical outcomes. External bracing may be required in the initial recovery period to stabilize mobility and prevent fracture. Recovery pain at the surgical site and the graft site can be managed through prescribed medications, ice, heat, and rest. Patients should not return to any normal activity without doctor recommendation or approval.

There are many deterrents to recovery and proper fusion including smoking, unmanaged osteoporotic symptoms, improper medication, and over-activity. Individuals who do not experience the intended fusion and relief of conditions may require re-operation, which prolongs pain, stress, and deference of healing.

One of the best ways to manage post-surgery pain and return the body back to proper posture, mobility, and strength is to exercise. Recommended post-spine-fusion exercise includes stationary bicycle riding, walking, swimming (once the incision is healed), and rehabilitative yoga. Physical therapy may be required for some patients.