When undergoing back surgery for nerve pain due to disc compression, patients may come round from their anaesthetic with complete resolution of leg pain and sciatica symptoms. In most cases however, where the compression has existed for some time, it will take a little longer for the results to become clear and patients are likely to notice an improvement in symptoms over a number of weeks. Analgesic medications may be prescribed to alleviate the pain associated with the incision and tissue trauma. Patients are usually monitored in the hospital overnight and discharged the next day. A review by Lee (2009) found the average stay to be 0.9 days for those undergoing minimal access microendoscopic discectomy, and 3.8 days for the conventional open method. Complications were also found to be lower in this study in association with minimal access discectomy (4%) as opposed to open discectomy (10.3%).
The days following spine surgery
In most cases patients are encouraged to become mobile again as soon as they can after surgery, even if this is only a little walk to the chair in their hospital room, or to the bathroom. This is in order to reduce the risk of thrombophlebitis occurring and to prevent the patient from stiffening up. A gradual increase in gentle exercise is recommended with patients advised to take longer walks over successive days to aid the recovery process. The use of a corset or brace is advised for some patients, particularly those who are at risk of spinal hypermobility during the healing process including those who have had a discectomy and fusion procedure. Any activity which involves twisting or bending the back is usually to be avoided and patients will be cleared for other activities, such as driving, sexual activity, and exercise other than walking after their follow-up appointment (usually set for two weeks after back surgery).
Next Read About: Risks and Benefits of a Discectomy