Laminectomy recovery begins in the hospital as soon as the operation is complete. Once the surgeon is finished and has closed your wound you will be taken to a recovery area where you will be monitored until you wake up from the general anesthesia they used during the procedure. Most patients are able, and encouraged, to get out of bed and begin walking around on the same day as the surgery. For a traditional open back laminectomy you should expect to be in the hospital for 2 – 5 days. This time could be extended if complications such as bleeding or infection arise.
Most patients will feel pain for the first few weeks after the surgery, but you will be provided with pain narcotics that should dull it. Your main activity to strengthen yourself for the first few weeks will be walking. It is important that you try to stay active to limit the amount of scar tissue that forms. If excessive scar tissue forms you will likely end up feeling pain again as this will place pressure on the nerves that were just freed. It is also important to keep walking and active as this is a great way to keep your heart and lungs in shape.
After a few weeks have passed your laminectomy recovery will be taken to the next stage. You doctor will examine you and if you are ready he will recommend you to a physical therapist. Your therapist will work with you and help introduce activities such as hydrotherapy and cycling that will help to strengthen your back further.
How Long After Laminectomy Surgery Before I Can Get Back to My Daily Activities?
This is a common question that is not very easy to answer. I am sure that your doctor will be able to answer that better than any website on the internet. This is because not all patients heal at the same rate and some laminectomies are more complicated than other. A good ball park figure would be to expect your laminectomy recovery to last anywhere from six weeks to six months, although there are some people who will heal faster and some that will take longer to heal. Another important factor to healing would be if you smoke cigarettes. Cigarette toxins will slow down your rate of healing; generally speaking we all understand they are bad not only for your lungs and heart, but the toxins in cigarettes affect your spine as well.
Pain After Laminectomy
As stated earlier you will be in considerable pain for about a week after laminectomy surgery. This pain should slowly fade and you will notice that your endurance or the level at which you can perform an activity should start to get better within the first few weeks. If you are worried about any pain that you think is out of the ordinary, you should seek reassurance from your doctor. Because only your doctor knows your medical history a website on the internet will not give you the same answers that your doctor would.