When a patient comes to us for spine surgery, their first question is, “Will I be able to walk and live my life normally again?” “What will be the recovery time after spine surgery?”
To address these questions, we have come up with this detailed blog to give you a clear understanding of all these questions.
So let’s begin.
How Long is the Recovery Time?
Recovery time in spine surgery depends a lot on the type of Surgery. Similarly, it also depends on the problem for which the Surgery is being done.
Let’s talk about the type of surgeries first. As we already know, there are two types of spine surgery:
The blood loss is quite more in open Surgery.
The incision is also bigger; the muscle dissection is more. Due to these reasons, the recovery time for Open Surgery is comparatively more.
Minimally Invasive Surgery:
In minimally invasive spine surgery, the blood loss is significantly low, the size of the incision is very small, and the muscle dissection too is minimal.
So the recovery time in minimally invasive Surgery is quite low. Patients get back to their bed very quickly, the bed rest is quite low, and the recovery is simple.
That’s why a lot of patients prefer minimally invasive Surgery over Open Surgery.
Now let’s talk about the impact of the indication of the Surgery on the recovery time.
The indication for which the Surgery is done also plays a crucial role in determining the recovery time. 90% of spine surgeries are done for the slipped disc.
In this indication, we generally perform either discectomy or fusion, in which metal screws and rods are used to fuse two or more discs.
In the first case, the recovery time will be quite less. But the recovery time will be a bit longer in the case of fusion surgery.
In a discectomy, we help a patient walk after 2-4 hours of the Surgery. But in the case of fusion surgery, we make the patient walk the next day. As the pain factor is a bit more in the fusion surgery, the recovery time is more.
If spine surgery is done for trauma, the recovery time is quite different from the other cases.
If the patient has no leg or hand weakness in the pre-op stage, the recovery period is better. As the pain reduces, the patient feels normal and starts walking within a few days.
But the recovery period is prolonged if the patient has weakness in the hands and legs during the pre-op stage. In fact, in such patients, the recovery periods range from a couple of months to a couple of years.
Moreover, the complete recovery varies for each case. Some patients recover completely, while in some patients, complete recovery might not be possible. It largely depends on the patient’s neurological status.
The number of patients with tumours in the spine is rising day by day. But in most of the cases (almost 90 to 95%), these tumours are non-cancerous. If the patient comes to us with just pain, the recovery will be quite fast.
But if the patient has weakness along with the pain, the recovery will take considerable time in such cases. Moreover, 100% recovery might not be possible.
The rest, 5 to 10%, are cancerous tumours. In such cases, either the tumour is due to spine cancer or due to the cancer of another part that metastases in the spine.
If the primary tumour is severe, the overall survival rate is quite low; hence, the recovery time is also long.
But if your Surgery is done immediately after the diagnosis, the recovery rate improves considerably, and the recovery time is quite low. The chances of you getting back to work also improve.
Now, let’s take a look at some tips that can help reduce your recovery time so that you can get back to your routine faster.
How Can you Go Back to Work Early?
Here are a few tips to help you get back to work early after the spine surgery:
- Good mental status: Some patients are very supportive and responsive. They have a positive attitude and strictly follow the surgeon’s guidelines. Such a positive attitude can hasten the recovery process.
Contrary to these patients, some patients feel very depressed, anxious and stressed. They are also not supportive during the physiotherapy sessions. In such patients, the recovery rate is a bit slower.
- No rest: We strongly recommend our patients not take complete bed rest. The patients need to get back on their own feet and start walking. The quicker they start walking, the faster they will recover.
- Physiotherapy is one of the most important parts of a spine surgery procedure. The success of each spine surgery depends on three factors, the surgeon, the physiotherapist and the nursing staff.
The patient needs all of them to work in sync for better recovery.At our facility, we start physiotherapy from the day of the Surgery itself. Our physiotherapists visit the patient twice a day and help them with their recovery procedure.
Recovery after spine surgery depends on multiple factors. We hope this blog has offered you enough insight into all these factors. Remember, each patient is unique, and so is their Surgery.
So the exact recovery time varies from patient to patient. So it’s always good to take a piece of advice from an experienced spine surgeon for better guidance.
Feel free to talk to us if you need any assistance or information related to spine surgery. Our experts will surely help you out.
Dr. Eshan Nerkar
Neurologist And NeurosuegeonDr. Eshan Nerkar, Consultant Brain & Spine Surgeon in Nashik specializes in Spine Surgery. He practices at AXON Brain & Spine Clinic. He is one of the best neurosurgeons in Nashik with more than 10 years of experience. He has performed more than 1000 surgeries related to brain and spinal surgery procedures.