When can I go back to work after minimally invasive back surgery?

For patients that have sedentary jobs, a minimally invasive back surgery would allow the patient to begin working part-time in 1-2 weeks. For a bigger surgery such as fusion, it may take up to six weeks.

First, there's the type of surgery

For example: after minimally invasive discectomy, where part of a herniated disc is removed, you will probably recover more quickly than if you'd had spinal fusion, where two vertebrae are permanently bonded.

Aside from the decreased recovery period, other advantages of minimally invasive surgery include more comfort, less time spent in the hospital, and reduced pain.

While every patient is different and may experience distinct healing phases, returning to their normal routines is determined by their condition, the type of procedure, and compliance with the ensuing physical therapy.

To give you a rough estimate

If you have an office job and undergo a minimally invasive discectomy, you may be able to get back to work part-time after a couple of weeks. After fusion surgery, though, it may take four to six weeks. You also have to consider the type of work you'll be returning to.

If you have a desk job that doesn't require any lifting or other physical labor, you'll probably be back more quickly than if you're on your feet all day. You can expect a longer recovery if you're doing physical labor, like construction, gardening, mechanical work, or cleaning.

In any case, it will be between you and your doctor. Do not return to work before your doctor has given you the all-clear; you don't want to re-injure yourself and wind up worse off than you started.


Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/