As with any medical procedure, proper time and care should be given post-op to allow for full patient recovery and ensure long-term treatment success.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our experienced surgeons and medical staff provide top-notch care to deliver the most comfortable patient experience possible – before, during and after any procedure. Our minimally invasive approach is designed to successfully treat neck and back pain, with a small incision, condition correction and a greatly reduced recovery time for patients.
While all procedures are specific to each individual, a few general commonalities occur with minimally invasive spine surgeries. Below are a few of the more common questions and concerns relating to recovery, outlined by the Society of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Spine-Health.com.
How long will I be in the hospital?
In general, minimally invasive spine surgery decreases the hospital stay by one-half. In a typical endoscopic discectomy, the surgeries are performed in the same day, and the patients go home shortly after surgery on the same day.
Furthermore, the immediate post-operative period is marked by much less pain when using minimally invasive techniques.
How long is the recovery?
Recovery from each surgery is different. Some patients return to full activity in 6 weeks while other patients require more time. We encourage all patients to participate in a physical therapy program to safely begin the process of returning to all normal activities.
After surgery, how long will my pain last?
On average, patients who have had minimally invasive spine surgery are discharged in half the time of traditional surgery and the pain usually follows this rule. Each procedure will have a different rate of recovery.
When can I go back to work after minimally invasive back surgery?
The decision to return to work should be individualized to the patient, as well as the patient’s occupation. For patients with sedentary jobs, such as office work, a minimally invasive discectomy would allow that patient to begin part-time work within 1-2 weeks. For a larger surgery such as a fusion, this may take 4-6 weeks. Again, return to work is much faster using minimally invasive surgery vs. standard open surgery but this decision is individualized to special needs of each patient.
Do I have to wear a brace?
Although most patients are provided a brace, this is for comfort only. The use of minimally invasive techniques that preserve muscle function, along with specialized implants that act as an internal brace, allows one to avoid having to wear a brace. Most patients find that the brace improves their pain for about 1-2 weeks, and thereafter it is only worn occasionally.
Will I need physical therapy after I get minimally invasive spine surgery?
Physical therapy is an important component of a rapid recovery. This is individualized to the patient, but in most cases, physical therapy started 2-6 weeks after surgery, depending on the surgery performed and the patient’s overall condition.
Will I need pain medication after surgery?
Tylenol and anti-inflammatory medications are common after surgery, with some patients requesting prescription medication to ease pain, particularly 48-72 hours after surgery.
Additionally, using ice or heat applications can help to ease soreness or discomfort.