How painful is recovery from lumbar spinal fusion surgery?

Spinal Fusion is the joining of one vertebrae to another vertebrae by a bone graft.  This bone graft acts as a bridge between the two vertebrae.  Spinal fusion is held together with metal screws and rods. It is done for symptomatic degenerative disk disease, spine fractures, cancer, spinal instability and spondylolithesis.  Large open spinal fusions may have incisions many inches long while single level minimally invasive spinal fusion can done through 1 inch incisions.

Recovery from lumbar spinal fusion depends on the patient’s health, pathology being treated  [what is actually wrong with your spine,  the number of levels affected (single vs multilevel disease) and prior surgery and complications] and the lumbar fusion technique.  Minimally invasive surgery tends to be less destructive, painful and have a quicker recovery. Most people will be on pain medication for a week to months as they recover from there surgery.

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