Although joining of the vertebral bones after spinal fusion surgery takes about six weeks, full recovery from the procedure takes about three to six months. Recovery time depends on the age, overall health and physical condition of an individual, according to Healthline.
Spinal fusion surgery generally involves taking a bone graft from the patient's pelvic bone and then placing the graft between a section of vertebral bones in order to fuse them. Once the bone graft is in place, the surgeon uses metal plates, screws and rods to immobilize the spine, which helps the spine heal faster, explains Healthline. After the procedure, the patient stays in hospital for two to three days for observation for reactions to the anesthesia and surgery.
The patient needs to follow certain guidelines during the recovery period after spinal fusion surgery. He should avoid sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time, bending at the waist, carrying anything more than 10 pounds or carrying anything overhead until the fusion heals, says MedlinePlus. Take short walks for the first two weeks after surgery, then slowly increase walking distance after that. The doctor may refer the patient to a physical therapist to learn how to do activities such as getting out of bed or up from a chair, getting dressed and undressed, and keeping the back safe when carrying and lifting items, notes MedlinePlus.