Lumbar Fusion Surgery: From Prep to Recovery

If you’ve been having pain in your back for an extended period of time, and if medicines, physical therapy, and other therapies have yet to do the trick, then it may be time to consider something more serious. A spinal fusion. If that pain is in your lower back specifically, then lumbar fusion surgery could be an option for you. At the ClinTech Center in Johnstown, our orthopedic doctors and surgeons can identify your lower back issue and provide lumbar fusion if you have exhausted other options.

Having any kind of surgery comes with some risk, but we assure you the best care at the ClinTech Center for Spine Health. Recognized widely in the orthopedic community, our spinal surgeon, Dr. Fernando Techny, will do everything he can to make the surgery a success and enable you to move with less pain once again. Lumbar fusion is a serious surgery with a fair recovery time, but is relatively low risk in terms of results, with national statistics showing it to be around 80 to 85% effective.

What’s Lumbar Fusion Surgery Like?

Lumbar fusion surgery is a serious procedure that will require you to have some recovery time in the hospital, usually between 2 and 4 days. After that, you will need to take it easy and recover. For some this means going to a skilled nursing facility for a short time, while for others it could mean going home after the hospital and having someone help you deal with the pain and recovery for a few days.

Prepping for Lumbar Fusion Surgery

When you’re getting ready for lumbar fusion therapy, you have a lot to consider and prepare for. Lifestyle changes may need to be made before surgery can take place. You’ll be asked to stop smoking and taking certain medications, as they could increase the likelihood of certain complications. You’ll also need to consider things such as taking time off of work, arranging for rides in the first few days after surgery, and finding someone to help you as you recover.

For the surgery itself, you’ll have to take certain measures to prep your body. The day and/or night before your surgery may be restricted food and drink wise, and you should only take your regular medicines after having discussed them with your doctor and orthopedic specialist.

The Lumbar Fusion Procedure

With lumbar fusion, and any kind of spinal fusion, the surgeon will remove cartilage and other material remaining in between the vertebrae. A metal or plastic space, along with bone chips from your spine or a bone bank, is placed in between your vertebrae. Those bone chips are packed in between and around your vertebrae and then screws are placed to set the bone straight with your spine. During the healing process, the bones will fuse together.

Recovery From Lumbar Fusion

The recovery time for lumbar fusion therapy will depend on many things, from the patients’ age and medical conditions to the work of the orthopedic surgeon. At the Clintech Center, our orthopedic specialists are always trying to deliver the best surgery possible. Our goal is for you to have significantly less or no pain and with little recovery time. However, even with a successful lumbar or other spinal fusion, the overall recovery process can last a few months. You should be feeling good enough to take care of yourself without risking injury within 3 to 4 weeks for most patients, but actually recovering completely to return to your pre-surgery activities may take more like 3 to 6 months.

Long Term Effects of Lumbar Fusion

A lumbar fusion is a significant decision for many reasons, and one of them is the potential long term effects of the surgery. Ideally, a lumbar fusion will take away the pain and mobility issues in your lower back by fusing two of the vertebrae and desensitizing that area of the spine from the muscle and nerve pain it’s causing. However, there are reasons that orthopedic specialists suggest it after almost everything else — because it may cause strain on the rest of your back and speed up the degenerations process. Still, for those who not even physical therapy can provide relief, spinal fusion is a way to get significant pain relief for years to come. Patients who have lumbar fusion therapy are literally having their spine reset, so it’s important that you continue to seek things that benefit your spinal health.

Trust the ClinTech Center for Your Spinal Fusions

At the ClinTech Center for Spine Health in Johnstown, we only want the best for our patients and their backs. If you’ve had serious back pain that has persisted through every attempt to fix it, then maybe now is the time to consider spinal fusion therapy. Give us a call today to see what our orthopedic specialists can do for your back!