What Is Spinal Fusion?
The procedure is performed in order to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine, thus stabilizing the vertebrae of the spine creating less chance for slippage of the discs. To perform the procedure a bone from your hip may be used as a bone graft. Once the graft is placed between the vertebrae, rods and screws are used so the spine can properly heal.
Why Is A Spinal Fusion Performed?
Many times when our clients are injured as a result of a construction accident or a car accident, they require more than one procedure to help alleviate their pain. A fusion is typically done in conjunction with a laminectomy, discectomy, or foraminotomy. A spinal fusion may be recommended to treat any one of the following injuries related to a car accident or fall:
(1) broken vertebrae – a broken vertebrae makes the spinal column unstable, thus, a fusion may be necessary;
(2) spondylolisthesis – this occurs when one vertebrae slips forward and onto the vertebrae below it, causing back pain or leg pain/numbness;
(3) herniated disc – following the removal of a herniated disc (discectomy), a spinal fusion may be necessary to stabilize the spine;
How Long Will My Recovery Take?
Just as with any surgery your recovery time will depend on you. You may be in the hospital for approximately five days following the surgery. During your admission, you will work with a physical therapist who will provide equipment and exercises to help you regain strength in your back. You will also work with an occupational therapist who will train you in how to go about your everyday activities.
Once you go home it will take you approximately 4 to 6 weeks before you are able to drive and between 8 to 12 weeks before you are able to return to work. You should be aware that full recovery may take up to 6 to 8 months.
What Should I Expect During Rehabilitation And Recovery?
For the first six weeks after surgery, you will need to avoid twisting and bending. Lifting, pushing, or pulling objects greater than ten pounds must be restricted. You will also need to be trained in proper lifting techniques to reduce pain and discomfort, which consist of using your knees to lift objects. Some of the most basic activities may be difficult and will require you to be trained in order to reduce your pain after surgery. These activities will include:
(1) Sleeping – Specifically changing positions during the night will be difficult and you may need to utilize the “log roll” in order to move comfortably;
(2) Sitting – You will need to remember to keep your spine aligned while sitting and remember to only sit for about 30 to 45 minutes at a time;
(3) Getting in and out of a car; and,
(4) Getting in and out of a chair.
Get in touch with Attorney Doug Stoehr if you had to undergo a spinal fusion due to an accident that occurred because of someone’s negligence. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our west-central Pennsylvania law firm by calling 814-515-9074 or email us.