I had my 1st ever back surgery on 9-12-11 at Georgetown in DC. I had a rough first few days but have been very surprised at my progress. I stopped using the walker 7 days after surgery, stopped pain meds on a regular basis only 5 days after surgery. I was amazed. The surgeon also thought my incision would be about 5 inches but he said he was able to get it down to 3. My biggest issues with my surgery haven't been related to back issues at all. I had a hard time with nausea for the first 6 days or so, severe heartburn and the inability to use the bathroom. I'm slowly getting all of these under control except the brutal heartburn.
If anyone is in the DC region or willing to travel there, I would 100% recommend the doctor that I saw. He is on the younger side it seems BUT he is so skilled and for me, did an amazing job so far. I see him again for my first follow up Monday. His name is Dr. Seyed Babak Kalantar-- or Dr. Bobby Kalantar. Very nice, very smart... I'd trust him again in a heartbeat.