How long does vertebrae surgery take?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

When it comes to spinal fusion surgery, there are a few different factors that can affect the length of the procedure. Typically, a traditional spinal fusion surgery with general anesthesia takes about four hours. However, it’s important to note that this can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the surgeon’s experience.

In contrast, an awake spine surgery, also known as awake spinal fusion or minimally invasive spine surgery, can take about half the time. This type of surgery is performed under local anesthesia, allowing the patient to remain awake and aware during the procedure. While this may sound a bit daunting, it actually offers several advantages.

One of the main benefits of awake spine surgery is that it often results in a shorter hospital stay. Instead of being admitted for three to four days, patients undergoing awake spine surgery typically can go home within 24 hours. This not only reduces the cost of hospitalization but also allows patients to recover in the comfort of their own homes.

Another advantage of awake spine surgery is the reduced need for intravenous (IV) painkillers. With traditional spinal fusion surgery, patients often require IV pain medication to manage post-operative pain. However, in awake spine surgery, the local anesthesia used during the procedure helps to minimize post-operative pain. This means that patients may be able to rely on oral pain medication instead, reducing the need for IV painkillers and their associated side effects.

Now, let me share a personal experience to give you a better understanding of the awake spine surgery process. A close friend of mine recently underwent awake spinal fusion surgery for a herniated disc. The procedure took around two hours, which was significantly shorter than the traditional surgery time. After the surgery, my friend was kept in the hospital for observation for about 24 hours. During this time, they were able to walk around, eat regular meals, and manage their pain with oral medication.

The awake spine surgery allowed my friend to have a quicker recovery and return home sooner than expected. They were able to resume their daily activities and gradually increase their mobility under the guidance of a physical therapist. the awake spine surgery provided a positive experience for my friend, with minimal pain and a shorter hospital stay.

Traditional spinal fusion surgery with general anesthesia typically takes about four hours and requires a hospital stay of three to four days. In contrast, awake spine surgery takes about half the time and often allows patients to go home within 24 hours. This innovative approach not only reduces the length of the procedure but also minimizes the need for IV painkillers. It’s important to consult with a qualified spine surgeon to determine the most suitable approach for your specific condition.