What happens after the surgery?
Patients usually have to stay for 3 to 5 days in the hospital after TLIF surgery. For the first few days, intravenous narcotic medication is given to control pain. Blood counts are checked to determine whether a blood transfusion is needed, although this is unlikely.
On the first day after surgery, the patient begins a walking program with the help of a physical therapist. The physical therapist will help the patient learn how to get in and out of bed. The doctor may also suggest a walker and a back brace for walking.
The surgical drain is usually removed within two days of the surgery. When the patients are allowed to go home, they are given a prescription for oral narcotic painkillers.
What are the risks and complications?
Although complications are not very common, there are no guarantees that the spinal fusion will be successful. The risk of nonunion is present, although it is very low.
Complications can happen due to blood loss, anesthesia or infection. There is a risk that the tender nerve root maybe damaged during surgery. Medical complications are rare, but they may include blood clots, heart attack and pneumonia.
This material is intended to give the patient an overview of surgical procedures and treatments and is not intended to replace the advice and guidance of a physician. Always consult with your doctor about the particular risks and benefits of your treatment.