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Back Surgery Recovery Time

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Although back surgery can solve a lot of problems for the patient it is used at the last resort for treating different conditions which involve cartilage, bones, muscles of the spine and ligaments. But in order for the patient to obtain as much as possible from this type of surgery, proper recovery period is vital.

Human spine provides structure and support to the body, and it also provides protection to the spinal cord. This protection is very much needed because any damage to the spinal cord would cause great troubles and many complications for the injured individual. Trauma, strenuous activity, malignancies, birth deformities, diseases, infections and weight lifting can cause the damage and induce pain, numbness, stiffness in the back and other health issues.

Some of these minor problems can be treated with drug therapy, rest and proper exercises. But in case serious damage has been made, a surgical intervention is required. Most often, the intervertebral discs and vertebra issues have to be treated with surgery.

Recovery Period After A Surgery

The recovery period and treatment that will be applied during this period depends on the type of surgery, patient's age, type of work the patient's is doing and fitness level. Another factor that influences the recovery is the patient's discipline and his willingness to adhere to the recommended lifestyle changes.

Laminectomy and Laminotomy

A bony covering which is positioned at the spinal canal is called lamina. In order to reach the disc, the whole lamina has to be removed and this procedure is called laminectomy. In case only small part of lamina needs to be removed, the procedure is called laminotomy. These surgical procedures have to be made in order to reach a herniated disc.

• 6-12 weeks is the recovery time for the patients who had cervical laminectomy
• 2-4 weeks is the recovery time for the patients who had cervical laminotomy
• 1-2 weeks is the recovery time for the patients who had lumbar laminectomy
• 1-2 weeks is the recovery time for the patients who had lumbar laminotomy

In case a patient has a physically demanding job, he or she has to wait for 3 to 4 months before going back to work.

Discectomy

Herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc, is treated with discectomy. What happens here is that the wear and tear causes the outer covering of the disc to rupture, causing the inner part of the disc to bulge out. And when this part presses the nerves, the patient may feel pain, numbness in the legs and other issues. Discectomy is also used to treat spinal stenosis, which may occur when the discs reduce in size.

• 2-3 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had cervical discectomy
• 8 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had thoracic discectomy
• 2-4 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had lumbar discectomy

In case a patient has a physically demanding job, 2 or 3 months of recovery time will be needed.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal instability, chronic back pain, spondylolisthesis and spinal instability are treated with spinal fusion. What happens during this surgical procedure is that two vertebrae are fused together. To perform this surgery, orthopedic surgeons have to remove the disc which is located between two vertebrae and then place a bone graft. In time, the bone graft will heal and secure those two vertebrae. The patient will have restricted movement for a couple of weeks after the spinal fusion surgery.

• 5-6 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had cervical fusion
• 8 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had thoracic fusion
• 4-8 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had lower lumbal fusion

In case a patient has a physically demanding job, a couple of months of recovery time will be needed. Also, older patients will require more time to fully recover.

Foraminotomy

This surgical procedure is used to treat spinal stenosis. In order to relieve the pressure on the nerves that pass through the vertebrae, widening of the foramen (an opening between adjacent vertebrae) is required.

• 3-4 weeks of recovery time is needed for the patients who had lumbar or cervical foraminotomy

In case a patient has a physically demanding job, 2 or 3 months of recovery time will be needed.

In Conclusion

Recovery period will be shorter if the minimally invasive techniques are applied for the surgeries mentioned above. This is mainly because a smaller incision will be made and so the damage to tissue, organs, infection, scarring and bleeding risks will be significantly lower. On the other hand, not every patient is suitable for this type of back surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will be able to determine what your options are and what kind of treatment would be the best for your specific case. Back surgery is a procedure that your orthopedic surgeon will recommend when all other treatments do not provide any results. And when it comes to the surgery itself, an orthopedic doctor will make the decision if you are a good candidate for an open surgery or a minimally invasive surgery.

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