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L5-S1 Surgery- When do I go back to work?

stracesstrace Posts: 1
edited 10/07/2015 - 4:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone!

I am scheduled to have surgery on 10/27. I have seen threads regarding this topic, but only from people who have completely different types of jobs, so I am still lost on what to expect. I am a Respiratory therapist, who works 12.5 hours, three days a week. I have to be able to perform CPR, do intensive therapy one Adult and pediatric patients, and I'm frequently in a situation where I am slightly bent over a bed, standing in one position for up to 45 minutes. My surgeon said I could go back to work in 6 weeks, if I was able to do shorter, administrative type duties or if I could ONLY work in the Neonatal ICU, but at this time, my job cannot guarantee any of this. I know I will most likely have to change my job, but I was wondering how long RN's or others in the medical field have been out after this surgery. Thank you for any advice!!!!


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Specific comments :

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--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 10/07/15 10:48 est



  • I'm a nurse, I actually work a desk job, but for the most part, I have seen others go back within 6-8 weeks. It depends on the type of surgery, and how well you recover. I myself had a surgery when I was working in the Emergency Department and was out for 8 weeks, and then because my healing didn't progress, I was out for another 4 weeks. There was just no way I would have been able to stand for the 12 hours. I did FMLA and things worked out fine in the end. Now that my back is so bad, I am grateful that I switched jobs into mostly Desk work. I wish you luck with your surgery and recovery, hope all goes perfectly.
  • Hi RunnerHKT. I'm sorry to hear about your pending surgery, but hopeful you will do well and recover quickly.

    I am having a similar type of surgery on 10/22 and I am a massage therapist, self employed, and typically work about 7-8 hours a day (which is roughly 4 clients/day). My surgeon told me to plan on at least 2 full months of rehab at home before getting back to work. He even suggested I plan on 3 months to be safe. However, I am having L5-S1 fusion with stabilizers (screws/rod) for stage 1 spondylolisthesis.

    I would say it will depend on what all they are doing at L5/S1 and how quickly you are able to start your rehab therapy. Do everything your doctor tells you to do, work really hard at P.T. and you will recover okay - just don't push it too hard and go beyond your limits. I will be praying for you to have a perfect recovery and be able to get back to work as soon as safely possible. Be well and good luck. Elly
  • RunnerHKTRRunnerHKT Posts: 231
    edited 10/10/2015 - 1:39 AM
    That is the surgery I will be having hopefully in November. I'm going nuts trying to get a surgery date. I can not even imagine being a LMT and having to go through this. Luckily I have a desk job, and my surgeon has some new techniques for the surgery, he is doing an anterior approach and says I will be out of work about 2-3 weeks. I am a little concerned about that, but decided that he has done this several times more than I so I'm trusting, but....still getting my FMLA paperwork in order!
  • jsquaredjjsquared North TexasPosts: 7
    I had a laminectomy/discectomy at L5/S1 on 9/29. I work a desk job and went back to work 1 week post-op. I have been feeling pretty good and had my first follow-up appointment today. I was told I could wean off my brace, but still limit bending, twisting and lifting. My next appointment is in 4 weeks (6 weeks post-op) and was told at that point I should be able to do just about anything. I am thankful that the biggest recovery issue I am having is the skin around my incision is reacting in terrible way to the adhesive in the steri-strips on the incision and the tape that I have been using to keep the gauze over the incision. But, luckily, I was told today I can take the bandage off and leave it off!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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