What Is the Recovery Time for Back Surgery on L4 and L5?

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The recovery time for surgery involving the L4 and L5 vertebrae varies depending on the procedure, states Mayo Clinic. For laminectomy procedures, recovery can take as little as a few weeks. In cases requiring spinal fusion, recovery can take as long as six months.

Proper patient recovery from back surgery involving the L4 and L5 vertebrae requires a number of restrictions. A patient who has undergone laminectomy must limit activities that require bending, stooping and lifting for several months after the surgery, according to Mayo Clinic.

Additionally, a patient who has undergone laminectomy or spinal fusion surgery should avoid the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the first six months after surgery as these interfere with the healing process, warns Mayfield Clinic. The patient should also avoid smoking as it increases the risk of complications and delays healing. Driving should be avoided for the first two to four weeks after surgery or until cleared by the surgeon. The patient should also refrain from sitting for extended periods of time and abstain from sexual activity until cleared by the surgeon.

Walking for one to two miles at a time is encouraged during the recovery period, but the return to normal activities must be gradual. Physical therapy may be necessary to restore strength and flexibility, suggests Mayo Clinic.