Lumbar Fusion

What to expect after surgery

  • Your muscles were cut and manipulated during the surgery. Expect moderate/moderately severe incisional and muscular pain. Hot showers and use of muscle relaxers will help with this, and it should begin to improve over the first week.

  • Be prepared to stay 1-2 nights in the hospital. If you have other health problems it could be longer.

  • Your follow up visit will be in 3-4 weeks. If you have questions in the meantime feel free to call the office at 706-475-1870.

  • You will be given pain medication and muscle relaxers after surgery. Use them as prescribed. If your pain is not controlled with this, call the office. Do not alter the dose or schedule of your medication without discussing with us.

  • Usually patients with this surgery require narcotics for 3-4 weeks after surgery. As your pain improves, you may transition to over the counter Tylenol. Avoid medications like Advil or Aleve for the first 6 months to allow your fusion to properly heal.

  • Narcotics and muscle relaxers cause constipation. Increase the fiber in your diet, drink plenty of water, and use OTC stool softeners as needed. Stay active with walking and other gentle exercise.

  • You may still have some numbness and pain in the legs after surgery. This should get better with time. It can take months for the nerves to heal completely.

  • Some patients with sedentary jobs may go back to work after 3-4 weeks. If your job is heavier you may be out longer. Some patients may require physical therapy before returning to the workplace.

  • You will have skin glue on your incision. Keep it clean with showering at least daily. Do not apply any ointments or lotions to this region. There may be some swelling and bruising around your incision. This can be normal, but call the office if you are worried.

Restrictions after surgery

  • Do not lift anything over 5-10 pounds for the first 3-4 weeks after surgery. Limit bending and twisting during this time.

  • Do not drive for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery or while you are still on narcotic or muscle relaxing medications. At first you will want to limit your trips to short, local trips.

  • Do not do any exercise the first 3-4 weeks except for walking. At your post op visit you will be given instructions about transitioning back to your normal activities.

  • Do not get in the bathtub or a swimming pool until your incision is completely healed, at a minimum for 2 weeks after surgery.

When to call the office

  • Please call the office during normal business hours 8 am-4 pm for prescription medication. Narcotics require written prescriptions, so you should call 2-3 days before you are completely out. Medications will not be called in after hours.

  • Call for any temperature over 101.5, increased incisional swelling, redness or increased pain. We may need to see you in the office.