What Is Spinal Fusion Surgery and How Long Does It Take?

What is spinal fusion surgery

What Is Spinal Fusion Surgery and How Long Does It Take?

What is spinal fusion surgery?

Before understanding the question, it is important to know about the structure of the spinal cord.

The spinal cord is composed of nerves that carry impulses from the body to the brain. Vertebrae are the bones we call the backbone that protects the spinal nerves.

In some cases, the spine and vertebrae column might get affected due to natural reasons or accidents resulting in spinal cord instability.

How will spinal fusion surgery improve my condition?

 Lower back surgery can reduce pain caused by:

  • Degenerative disk disease or bad back: In between our vertebrae discs are cushions which prevent friction. With age, these cushions wear out, resulting in severe pain. It might need lower back surgery.

  • Spondolyolethesis: Commonly known as spondylolysis, Spondlysis is the fracture of the vertebrae. It is caused due to sports injury or continuous stress on the lower back due to poor posture or continuous sitting. It causes weakening and shifting vertebrae. The stage where the vertebrae start shifting is known as spondylolisthesis. 


  • Spinal stenosis occurs due to the narrowing of the spinal column and causes severe pain. 


  • Scoliosis: It is the curving of the side of spines from side to side, usually found in children.


  • Fracture in vertebrae: The broken vertebrae would cause immense pain due to trauma or osteoporosis.


  • Herniated disc: The vertebrae are covered with cartilaginous cushions at the back. The slipping and displacement of these cushions can result in the bulging or rupturing of the disc, causing severe pain.


  • Tumours in the spinal cord would also need lower back surgery.


The doctor can provide a treatment plan after diagnosing the condition.


How long would spinal fusion surgery take?

The time taken for spinal fusion surgery depends on the number of fused vertebrae and the extent of the damage. It also depends on the type of disease behind the vertebrae condition.

The Spinal fusion surgery may take anywhere between three to seven hours.

What to expect after spinal fusion surgery?

After the surgery, you would have to stay in the hospital for one to three days. The pain is controlled through medications. If you are facing any of these procedures after your spinal fusion surgery, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Drainage oozing out of the wound
  • Redness at the operated site
  • Tenderness and inflammation
  • Chills and shivering
  •  Fever with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more


Also, it is important to understand that the surgery is a time taking procedure. l4 l5 surgery recovery time might take months, and you would need to wear a brace for proper alignment and posture of the spine. 

Physical therapy during the l4 l5 surgery recovery time has shown benefits.

Tips to follow for faster recovery from spinal fusion surgery

It is necessary to take good care of your spine after the surgery. You should rest completely to allow the body to heal and recover completely. The doctor and the paramedic teams would provide instructions and follow these tips too:

  • Align with the treatment plan and pace slowly. Do not enforce anything.
  • Wear your brace from time to time and other assistive materials. If the physical therapist has given you braces, make sure to wear them. It would help reduce the pressure and help the spine get strength and stability.
  • Do light physical activities. Take a walk, and do light stretches while following your physical therapy to help your body recover.
  • Restrain from smoking. Smoking interferes with the body’s healing, so avoid smoking before and after the surgery.
  • Consume a balanced diet. Give your body all kinds of macros and micros by consuming a balanced diet.
  • Use a hot and cold compress. Hot showers, heating pads and cold compress can be a soothing experience during recovery.
  • Sleep in a comfortable posture. Sleep on your upper back with your head and shoulder in a slightly elevated position with the help of pillows or a blanket under your knees. It would help in reducing pain and help you in resting properly.
  • Sleep well. Sleep is an important part of the healing process, so avoid late nights while l4 l5 surgery recovery time.

To make the recovery period quick and easier after the spinal fusion surgery, it is best to consult your doctor and follow their advice. 

If you are looking for spine  surgery, the experts at Germanten Hospital might be able to help you with little to no complications. So book an appointment at Germanten today!