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Back Stories

Recovery after Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

recovery-minimally-invasive-spine-surgeryRecovery after Minimally Invasive Surgery

What is the recovery like after minimally invasive spine surgery

In bed. In pain. Out of work. For what feels like FOREVER. Is that the impression you have of what it must be like recovering from spine surgery? That may have been the reality for those undergoing traditional or “open” surgeries, but recovery after minimally invasive spine surgery is decidedly different.

The truth is that the fear of a long and painful recovery can keep some back pain sufferers from getting relief. They’re so afraid of the unknown or the perceived discomfort and long healing process that they stick with the pain they know. Sound familiar?

“The important thing for people to understand about minimally invasive spine surgery is that it isn’t just easier to tolerate during the procedure, with less time on the operating table, less blood loss, smaller incisions, and less chance of complications,” said Dr. Mark C. Valente, Board certified and fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon and Founder and Medical Director of DISC Spine Institute, a leader in minimally invasive back treatments and surgical procedures. “It also typically means a much shorter and easier recovery.”

Whether you need to undergo an outpatient procedure or something more complex, the recovery after minimally invasive spine surgery might just make your fear dissipate.

Minimally invasive spine surgery shows “significantly reduced risks to the patient compared to ‘open’ spine surgery procedures, which are still performed and were the norm only a few decades ago,” said US News & World Reports.“After years of practicing traditional ‘open’ spine surgery, many modern technical advances have paved the way to provide the same (if not better) results with much less pain, surgical complications and healing time, allowing patients to undergo the entire process with reduced stress on the body and return to normal life that much faster.”

Here’s what you can expect after minimally invasive spine surgery:

  • Getting out of the hospital—Depending on your procedure, you may be able to walk out on your own power within an hour after outpatient surgery or spend a few days in the hospital. More complicated procedures can require a hospital stay of a day or two—far less than what patients would experience with a traditional surgery.
  • Incision site—Incisions from minimally invasive procedures are significantly smaller than those from traditional surgeries. They can be as tiny as a few millimeters, which limits the scarring, and the discomfort. While you can expect to feel some tenderness around the incision site in the days following your surgery, this can generally be easily managed with over-the-counter medication. Be sure to take care of it as advised and be on the lookout for any signs of infection, such as excessive pain, swelling, or fever.
  • Resuming normal activity—Your spinal surgeon will give you specific instructions regarding what you can and cannot do in the days immediately following your surgery. You should expect to get back to “normal” slowly to make sure you properly heal. For many minimally invasive surgeries, six is the magic number—that’s the amount of weeks you can generally expect to be recovering before you can get back to your “real” life, but each case is different. Taking medications as prescribed, exercising as advised, and having patience with the process can help keep you on the right track.

Contacting a doctor

Advances in technology and specialization by leading spinal surgeons have made minimally invasive surgical procedures a popular and ever-growing option for back pain sufferers. When it’s time to put an end to your pain, visit DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back paintoday. Minimally invasive surgical techniques mean treating chronic back pain is easier than ever, with outpatient treatments, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.

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