How long will I be in the hospital following Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

In general, MISS decreases the hospital stay by one-half. In a typical endoscopic discectomy, the surgeries are performed in the same day, and the patients go home shortly after surgery on the same day. For various types of lumbar fusion surgery, the patient typically goes home in 2 – 3 days, where previously they stayed in the hospital for 5 – 7 days with the open procedure. Furthermore, the immediate post-operative period is marked by much less pain when using minimally invasive techniques.

How long is the recovery?

Most patients are able to get up out of bed and start walking shortly after surgery. For the first 6 weeks the activity level is limited to walking and normal daily activities. During the first 6 weeks patients are to avoid heavy lifting, bending, and twisting. After 6 weeks, patients can begin physical therapy and an exercise program. By 3 months, many can tolerate an increase in activities as well as low impact sports. At 6 months, all activities may begin, including sports.

After surgery, how long will my pain last? Will I have to take pain medications and will I become dependent?

On average, patients who have had Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery are discharged in half the time of traditional surgery and the pain usually follows this rule. Each procedure will have a different rate of recovery. There is no evidence that post-operative pain treatment leads to addiction.

When can I go back to work after Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

For patients with sedentary jobs, a minimally invasive discectomy would allow part-time work within 1 – 2 weeks. For a larger surgery such as a fusion, this may take 4 – 6 weeks. Again, return to work is much faster using minimally invasive surgery vs. standard open surgery.

Which type of surgery has a greater success rate?

Although the long-term results of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery are not well studied, the short term success of MISS is clear – minimally invasive surgery allows for more rapid recovery and a quicker return to work / sports. There is less post-operative pain and shorter hospital stay with a markedly decreased infection rate.