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Lumbar Fusion Surgery (MULTI LEVEL)

Can anyone that has had this surgery let me know how long they ended up being off work? Can you go back fairly quickly if you have a job where you are sitting?


  • Multi level fusions are different than regular fusions, which are tough enough to recover from . I would suggest that you make a list of questions for your surgeon and make an appointment to discuss the acute post op restrictions and activity levels, as well as any further questions you have . Returning to work is based on how you are doing, and the ability you to have to tolerate the activity, but most surgeons tell patients to plan for at least three months.

  • I was off work completely for three months, then telecommuted for another two or three weeks after my L4-L5-S1 fusion. Prolonged sitting is unfortunately one of the worst things you can do after lumbar fusion. My work computer has a "take a break" timer that I used to remind myself to get up at least once an hour and walk around for a while. Alternately, set a timer on your phone, iPad or even buy a cheap wind-up kitchen timer,

    No sugar coating here... Recovery from a multi level fusion will be physically and emotionally arduous. I'm relatively young, not horribly overweight and a nonsmoker, and it was not an easy journey. Not quick either. Your surgeon can assess you and estimate your overall recovery time better than we can, but don't be surprised if they say 12-18 months.
    August 2013 C7-T1 MED
    July 2013 L4-L5-S1 TLIF
    December 2011 C5-C6 ADR
    April 2009 L5-S1 MED
  • I had a fusion of L4-S1 in February of this year. I have a desk job and was JUST released to go back to work this past week. Like Spine in Security said, it is rough and sitting is extremely painful. They actually didn't want me to sit other than for meals after surgery and honestly, I didn't even sit then. And when I did sit, I was only supposed to sit for 30 minute increments. I ended up calling my surgeon for more meds to get through my work day. I am going back on a gradual schedule - 2 weeks of 4 hour days, 2 weeks of 6 hour days, and then regular full time.

    I am 28, nonsmoker, and slightly overweight but not unhealthy. Before going back to work I felt pretty good. Sitting is really hard on me. And getting the stomach flu was hard on me too.. Watch out for that!

    My surgeon also said full recovery will take about a year and I should keep improving until 9 months post-op. When I got the stomach flu I took a few steps backwards though and a month later, I am still tying to get back to where I was before getting sick...

    Good luck! Plan on being off at LEAST 12 weeks. I think I was off for 13 or 14.Walk as much as you can.
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