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Can back surgery be done as an outpatient procedure?


The medical field has changed rapidly over the last few decades allowing for many surgeries that used to require hospitalization to now be performed in an outpatient surgical center. This has many benefits for patients, including faster recovery, lower risk of infection, healing in the comfort of your own home, and less interruption of sleep, which is vital during recovery. 

You may be aware that some orthopedic procedures are performed outpatient, such as arthroscopic procedures of the shoulder and knee, but what about spinal procedures? 

Does back surgery require a hospital stay? 

Improvements in technology and surgical techniques have made spine surgeries possible in outpatient surgical centers. Gone are the days when back surgeries required intensive surgeries and lengthy overnight hospitalizations. These minimally invasive surgeries result in better patient outcomes and favorable recoveries.

These procedures have lower risks of complications, less pain, reduced damage to the surrounding tissue, and a smaller incision. Together, it makes for a less intensive surgery so that patients can recover at home versus a stay in the hospital. 

How long after back surgery can you go home?

After your surgery, the surgical team will move you to a recovery room for monitoring. You will remain there as the anesthesia wears off. You can expect to go home later that day. Depending on the type of surgery, it can be anywhere between one to four hours. 

Because you cannot drive yourself home after surgery, make arrangements for someone to help you after the procedure. For spinal surgery, it may be helpful to recline the seat back on the way home. 

The surgical team will give you a list of instructions before you leave, including follow-up appointments, signs of infection, physical restrictions, and medication information. Be sure to have a second person read the information, too, so you have a clear understanding of the plan. 

What kind of back surgery is outpatient? 

Surgeons can treat many spinal conditions on an outpatient basis. These include degenerative conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and spondylothesis. 

Surgeries that are commonly performed outpatient to treat these conditions include the following: 

  • Cervical and lumbar decompression
  • Spinal fusions
  • Cervical Disc Replacement
  • Lumbar Disc Replacement

What Should I Know About Disc Replacement Surgery in an Outpatient Setting? 

In the past, disc replacement required long incisions and a hospital stay. Now it is a standard procedure performed in outpatient surgical centers because of minimally invasive techniques. 

Smaller incisions are used, which causes less damage to surrounding tissues, resulting in less bleeding, decreased infection, and minimal complications. 

What are Other Benefits of Outpatient Surgery? 

As you can expect, you will have some pain after your back surgery, but it’s usually managed well with ice and pain medication. Many patients can slowly get out of bed and move around within a few hours of the procedure. 

That said, You should get plenty of rest during the first week of recovery. However, many patients can drive and may even return within a week or two of the procedure. Under your surgeon’s guidance and with the help of physical therapy, you will progress your activity level safely. 

Within a week or two, you should be able to drive, and depending on your job, you may even return to work. Under your doctor’s guidance, you’ll gradually progress your activity level, from non-impact exercises in about three weeks to a more challenging physical therapy program around six weeks post-op. 

outpatient surgical centers

How Our Orthopedic Surgery Center in Raleigh Can Help You 

Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is the largest and most modern ambulatory surgery facility in Eastern North Carolina to specialize exclusively in orthopaedics. 

Our professional staff works together to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. The Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center has board-certified surgeons and physicians with advanced training in their respective sub-specialties. Our patients receive outstanding patient satisfaction, superior clinical outcomes, and reduced costs.

You are not only a patient to us. You are an individual with exceptional circumstances, requirements, and needs. 

If you would like more information, please feel free to give us a call at 919-719-3070

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.