Patients are typically discharged from the hospital a few days after a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, according to All About Back and Neck Pain. However, it may take up to a year of rehabilitation to fully recover.
The first few days in the hospital require intravenous narcotic pain medicine and fluids to control pain and assist recovery, notes All About Back and Neck Pain. The day after surgery, a physical therapist helps a patient start walking, sometimes with the help of a walker. Forty-eight hours after the operation, the surgical drain is removed, and patients are allowed to shower. Patients may need to stay in a rehabilitation center prior to returning home to get intensive physical therapy.
Recovery at home is accompanied by pain and soreness that goes away in time or is managed with medication, explains All About Back and Neck Pain. An appointment is typically scheduled within three weeks after surgery to examine progress and to notice any side effects of surgery. Patients generally return to work six to eight weeks after surgery if the work does not require heavy labor. Many activities are resumed four to six months after surgery, and improvement continues for up to a year.