When patients seek help from our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey, they’re driven by the need to get rid of their pain. But many of them also walk in prepared to push back on a recommendation of surgery: they are afraid of the “knife”, and the downtime.
Though the fear of surgery is common, many of the particular aspects that concern new patients are no longer relevant, as minimally invasive spine surgery has eliminated most of the most worrying aspects.
The first thing that patients experiencing back pain need to know is that most patients are offered conservative treatments such as physical therapy or injections before the subject of surgery is broached. Only if those protocols fail or aren’t applicable to your particular condition will the more aggressive forms of treatment be considered. If it’s determined that a minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you, you’ll find that recuperation and recovery is far different from what has previously been possible.
Here’s what you need to know about what to expect after minimally invasive spine surgery.
When Can You Go Home?
Always the first question that patients scheduled for surgery ask, minimally invasive spine procedures allows most patients to go home the same day as their surgery, though different factors including your specific procedure and overall health condition will play a role.
The ability to send our patients home quickly is a direct result of the technical aspects of the procedure: the incisions that are used are very small, and as a result there is very little blood loss or trauma to internal tissue.
How Long Will it Take For Me to Heal?
Because the surgical technique of minimally invasive spine surgery causes so little trauma and involves such small incisions, patients generally heal much faster than is true of more aggressive surgeries. More complicated procedures require longer downtime and more restrictions, but the majority of procedures allow physicians to determine that patients are fully healed in under a month.
How Much Will it Hurt?
Every patient has their own tolerance of pain, but even patients who are highly sensitive report an improvement in experience from minimally invasive procedures that involve small incisions.
The minimal trauma to muscles and tissue mean less pain, less need for pain medication, and less stress. In order to help patients recover more quickly, regain mobility and prevent future injuries, we often recommend a specific course of graduated exercises administered and managed through a physical therapist.
Returning to Normal Activities
Patients are often concerned about when they can return to work or their normal activities, including exercising, caring for their children, and more. Though heavy lifting is generally prohibited in the days immediately following minimally invasive spine surgery, most people can return to their jobs and normal activities within a matter of weeks rather than months.
Don’t let fear of back pain keep you from getting the treatment that you need. Contact our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey today to set up an appointment.