What Is the Average Recovery Time After Spinal Fusion Back Surgery?


Quick Answer

Most people need between 6 and 12 weeks to recover sufficiently from spinal fusion surgery to return to work, although people in physically demanding jobs often return to work with restrictions. The specific time varies with complications from surgery and success following the rehabilitation plan, notes Mayfield Clinic.

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Full Answer

Some spinal fusion patients go home that same day, while others remain in the hospital for a day or two, depending on their condition and the fusion type. Some require advanced help and transfer to a short-term rehabilitation or transitional care facility. No matter what type of surgery or how quickly patients go home, though, they should not drive for at least two to four weeks after the operation and not until they talk to their surgeon, as stated by Mayfield Clinic.

Sexual activity, yardwork, housework and sitting in hot tubs, tub baths, lakes or swimming pools is not allowed until at least the first follow-up visit, when the doctor evaluates the patient's condition and eases restrictions on activities. Recovering patients should avoid sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time. They may find that they require help with daily activities such as bathing or dressing for several weeks, as fatigue and pain are common. Patients should go for walks as soon as they are able, even if there is some minor discomfort, as that movement builds strength and aids healing, according to Mayfield Clinic.

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