Recovering from spinal fusion surgery

The right surgeon will help you get back on your feet after spinal fusion surgery

The technology behind spinal fusion surgery has come along way. Fortunately, so too has the recovery process from this procedure.

Previously, many patients have been hesitant to undergo spinal surgery because they were worried about the invasive nature of such an operation. Despite being in constant pain from an injury or chronic issue, they were concerned about postoperative pain and were fearful that additional issues could surface after they left the hospital.

The state of play

Nowadays, spinal fusion procedures are a lot less invasive than they used to be. This isn’t to say that spinal surgeons operate earlier or on more people, but it does ease the minds of those who have been recommended for this type of surgery.

To improve pain management, patients who undergo spinal surgery at Australia’s leading clinics now have access to a pain physician. This specialist partners their recovery and postoperative care, reviewing the patient’s pain requirements and keeping in regular contact to modify and control discomfort. It is the pain physician’s job to lessen the impact of pain and to promote better spinal fusion surgery recovery.

Minimising the pain of surgery

The surgeon and the pain physician both aim to make a patient as comfortable as possible. This is something that research has demonstrated assists in the recovery process after major surgery. Knowing that there is this kind of support post surgery can be a great relief to those who are concerned about how they are going to manage the pain.

My goal as a surgeon is for my patients to recover well and be in less pain than they were before their operation. I work closely with them to make sure this is the case.

The path to recovery from spinal fusion surgery

One very simple thing that my clinic does to minimise pain is to provide contact details. Our patients have my phone number and email address so that they don’t have to make the trip to the clinic when they have concerns. They can email or phone if they need advice on pain management.

My team makes it a priority to reply appropriately to all correspondence and to make sure that we don’t miss anything urgent.

Spinal fusion surgery recovery is the job of a team, not just the spinal specialist. The surgeon is the captain of the ship, he is the one making decisions and providing excellence in care. Equally, however, there are a lot of other people who bring knowledge and understanding to the table. These experts will take over from where the surgeon leaves off, helping patients take their recovery to the next level.

Part of the team

As an example, as well as enlisting the help of a pain physician, I am very supportive of postoperative sessions with a physiotherapist and physical rehabilitation specialist. I also often recommend hydrotherapy, especially for older patients. This can make their recovery and mobilisation a lot easier.

It is cooperation and coordination that makes a big difference to a patient’s recovery from spinal surgery. If each member of the ‘support crew’ is encouraging of the work of their colleagues, everyone will do better – and the patient will be able to report that they have noticeably less pain than they did before their operation.

Dr Parkinson is a highly qualified neurosurgeon with extensive experience in neurosurgery. He has studied under, and worked with leading neurosurgeons in the USA performing ground breaking surgeries. He is also involved in developing educational tools for both surgeons and patients.