Lumbar spinal surgery takes several hours, including skin preparation, positioning and the time for anesthesia to take effect, according to Mayfield Clinic. Some patients return home the same day following surgery, while others remain in the hospital for two to four days during the initial recovery period.
During recovery a nurse checks the patient's blood pressure, temperature, breathing and pulse at set intervals, states Mayfield Clinic. Antibiotics are administered, and the incision is checked and redressed periodically. Nutrition is provided through an IV for a period of time, and a catheter drains the bladder for the first day after surgery. Home care may be necessary for a period of time to help the patient with getting out of bed, walking, bathing and using the toilet.