How Long Will You Be Out of Work After Bulging Disc Surgery

People seriously considering bulging disc surgery are dealing with symptoms that disrupt their ability to perform basic tasks, especially those involved in their job. Typically conservative treatments like medication or physical therapy are effective for many. However, spine surgery can offer the best hope for others who haven’t been able to find relief. 

A common concern for patients deciding if bulging disc surgery is right got them is how long they can expect to be out of work during the recovery process. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. These factors include a patient’s age, state of health, strenuousness of the job, the severity of the disc bulge, and the specific procedure being performed. 

One key factor that can affect return to work time is the invasiveness of the procedure. Minimally invasive spine surgery offers the potential for a quicker return to work compared to traditional procedures. By learning more about these different approaches, you can work with your doctor to make this important decision on a more informed basis. 

Recovering from Traditional Surgery

For years, bulging disc surgery required a highly invasive full open spine procedure performed in a hospital setting. This type of surgery requires the surgeon to make a large incision to access the spine. They then remove the portion of the disc putting pressure on the spinal nerves. In cases of more severe disc degeneration, full removal of the disc and a spinal fusion to stabilize the area would be needed. 

Because of the muscle disruption involved from the large incision, these procedures require an overnight hospital stay of one or more nights. Since muscles are cut or torn, patients can expect a long and difficult recovery period. Return to work times varies on a case-by-case basis. Patients undergoing traditional procedures can often expect to be out of work for three months or longer. In some cases, patients require up to a year before returning to normal activities. 

Recovering from Minimally Invasive Bulging Disc Surgery

Our procedures are a safer and more effective alternative to traditional open-neck or back procedures. The surgeons at BEST, Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott perform minimally invasive spine surgery to treat conditions including bulging discs. We use a less than one-inch incision and perform our procedures on an outpatient basis. BEST takes pride in its use of muscle-sparing techniques. 

A majority of our patients return to work within three months of surgery. Even if their procedure is minimally invasive decompression or stabilization. If you would like to learn more about our procedures and the advantages they can offer patients, contact us today!