Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Post Operation

Following surgery,  patients can experience some residual tingling and numbness in their arms and legs depending on whether they had a neck or a back operation. The neurologic symptoms that were present pre-operation should improve shortly after surgery most of the time. However, it is not unexpected to have additional tingling, numbness, or shooting pain in the arms or legs. Furthermore, patients with severe spot compression or a severe nerve compression may experience symptoms following a minimally invasive spine surgery once the pressure is taken off the nerve and the nerve begins to regenerate. With that said, the extent of pain totally depends on the pathology or what was present in that particular patient prior to surgery and the symptoms can vary from person to person.

Recovery at the Site of the Incision

Typically, with the neck procedure and the back procedure, there is some initial soreness at the surgical site. There can be some have some incisional pain depending on what type of surgery is performed. With more minimally-invasive surgeries and with some of the endoscopic surgeries, there is minimal post-incisional pain and minimal neurologic recovery. These are two of the benefits of these minimally-invasive techniques.

Bruising or Bleeding

There can be a bruising or bleeding experience depending on the type of surgery the patient has. The patient can have bruising around the incisional site which is not abnormal. Any excessive bleeding is abnormal and patients are given instructions to follow up with their physician when there is any excessive or increased bleeding after the procedure. There are also follow-up appointments for patients shortly after the procedure to check on all these things.

How Long Post-Surgery Effects Last

Post-surgery effects vary from patient to patient but, in general, some patients can have an improvement in their neurologic symptoms immediately in the recovery room. The soreness from the surgical site may take from seven to ten days to improve, depending on the type of procedure and the approach to the spine.

Usually, the neurologic symptoms, which are the radiating symptoms that go into the arms or legs, tend to respond more rapidly to the surgery. Some patients have improvement in their neurologic exam in the recovery room. The back or neck pain from the procedure may take a week or so to improve.

Other Things to Expect

Since the approach to the spine is less and there is less iatrogenic damage to tissues with these procedures, the recovery for a minimally-invasive procedure is typically much less than it is for an open procedure. Prospective patients can expect to have a much faster recovery, sometimes up to 25 percent of what is normally expected with a traditional operation.

After surgeries, patients who were on pain medications prior to surgery will expect to take a lot more pain medications immediately after surgery. However, for minimally invasive spine surgery, they take the same amount of medications. Most people undergo minimally invasive spine surgery because they want to stop taking the pain medications and they want to get better.