What is the recovery time for lumbar fusion?

by Carl Spivak

Spinal Fusion is the joining together of the spinal vertebrae with bone.  This is usually done through the disk space [called anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF) / extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF), posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) or endoscopic lumbar interbody fusion (ELIF)] but can be done posteriorly over the lamina (posterior fusion), in the facet joints (facet fusion) or transverse processes [posterolateral fusion (PLF)].

The Endoscopic Lumbar Interbody Fusion is the newest development in fusion techniques and many believe will cause the least damage and pain and have the quickest recovery.   Endoscopic fusion is done through a small tube with the aid of an endoscope.   This endoscopic area of spine surgery is generally called Laser spine surgery, even though lasers are rarely used today.

Recovery time varies from person to person and from procedure to procedure. The larger the procedure (that is more exposure and therefore tissue damage and the greater number of levels fused) the longer the recovery. People recover quicker from minimally invasive procedures.  Recovery can take from a couple weeks to many months.  Most people can return to light activity (no strenuous lifting or exertion) in few weeks.

Schedule an Appointment to learn more about endoscopic lumbar interbody fusion (ELIF).

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