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Old 05-16-2007, 12:57 PM   #1
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PacoKS HB User
Return to Work After Discectomy

Hi, all. New to the board. I am scheduled for a laminectomy/discectomy next Thursday, 5/24, for a herniated disc at L4-L5. I've read a lot about this procedure on the internet, but am still curious about how quickly the recovery really is.

Some patients report that they are back to work within days of the surgery. Others note that they miss work for several weeks. My work is sedentary - sitting at a desk, participating in conference calls, creating presentations, email, etc. The surgeon noted that it would likely be about 2-3 weeks but some of his patients returned in a week.

For those of you who have had this procedure, how long were you out from work?

TIA for your responses.

 
Old 05-16-2007, 01:23 PM   #2
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turbot2112 HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

if youre sitting behind a desk id say a week or 2 is doable. i was out for about 6weeks and im an electrician. good luck

 
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:34 PM   #3
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Lilly66 HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

I would say a couple of weeks to be safe. Everyone heals at a different pace. But it will be quite hard to sit for any length of time. I had 2 surgeries on my l4/l5.

Good luck!

 
Old 05-16-2007, 03:17 PM   #4
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Mandrel99 HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

Like they said, it all depends on how you heal. I was out for over two months. I had a really rough recovery, at week two my stitches opened up and had to have more stitches put in. As well with getting an infection. Things happen. All I can say is don't rush it. It is not worth it. I tried to really push myself back to work as soon as I physically could and now I am two weeks out of having a fusion a year later! So give yourself time to heal properly!! Good luck and wish you the best.

Mandy

 
Old 05-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #5
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anhbay03 HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

my post op to do the following:

no stair for 1 week(until the next appointment)
no driving about 4-5 weeks.
no work for 6 weeks. No work mean no work whatsoever. Not even work at home 2.
yes .you can wipe your as.. that u can do.. I know it hard but can do that.
__________________
Disc herniation L4, L5, S1 April 28,2005
MicroDiscsectomy October 16, 2006
current exercise: walking, swimming

Last edited by anhbay03; 05-16-2007 at 06:49 PM.

 
Old 05-17-2007, 06:54 AM   #6
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Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

The recovery definitely seems to vary by individual. I guess I'll know how I feel in a week or so

About the stairs - how serious are they? I live in a split-level house. I can't even get into my house or to my bedroom without using the stairs.

Thank you for the responses!

 
Old 05-17-2007, 08:31 AM   #7
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ms_west HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

My doctor's spin on this was one time per day only. Truthfully I am 14/15 weeks out from a fusion and the stairs kill me still. We even purchased a bed for downstairs in the family room with a high quality mattress so I did not have to climb the steps. We brought 5 complete outfits downstairs so I only had to go upstairs to shower once a week or so. LOL

 
Old 05-17-2007, 10:03 AM   #8
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shawley HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

I had a Laminectomy and L4-L5 Fusion on the same day , and it was pure hell ! I was in surgery for a little over 10 hour's , It took me a long while to recoupe , now that was a big surgery to have I'm told . I have a huge hole in my spine , a wide laminectomy is what it say's on my x-rays . This surgery took me the longest to recover from.

My second surgery was a revision , that's when they had to remove all my hardware and redue everything, and I was up walking gingerly the next day. I believe the Laminectomy was the hardest surgery I have gone through because the last 2 spine surgeries I had didn't compare to it. BUT maybe Ive become used to pain and surgeries ?

Good Luck .
Shawley

 
Old 05-17-2007, 03:30 PM   #9
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mewcamaro HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

I too had the same surgery in August 05, I was not allowed to drive for 6 weeks then I had 6 weeks of PT. So I was out of work for 3 months, and my case is a workmans comp case. I still am in pain and I am scheduled for a Anterior Interbody Lumbar Fusion on L4 L5, L5 S1 on June 22.

My doctor says I will be out of work for this one at least 20 weeks. I am really scared about this one, I have to donate 1 unit of blood in case I need it. I have heard alot of positives and alot on negative on this type of surgery but if it will take the pain away I've got to do it.

 
Old 05-17-2007, 03:41 PM   #10
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jinks67 HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

I had a laminectomy (not major- around 1.5hrs surgery) and unfortunately, 6 wks on, still have the same leg pain, but for some guide, here's my surgeon's recommendations:

hospital 4-5 days
standing day 2
walking day 3
stairs day 4

sitting after around 10dys - 2 weeks
drive a car after 3 wks
7 weeks off work in total

Obviously it depends on the job and person. I would say, that if it wasn't for the continued nerve pain, around 4-5 weeks would have been okay for me to return to a desk job (i.e., in terms of back muscles, normal post-op pain etc..).

Good luck with the op
Jinks

 
Old 05-17-2007, 04:22 PM   #11
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PacoKS HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

I spoke to the nurse today. She told me that I would go home Friday morning (my surgery is at 7:30 AM on Thursday). She said that I would be able to go up and down stairs on Friday and be able to take care of myself, although I will be easily tired by those activities. I won't be able to shower until Saturday night or Sunday morning. She said that I would be released to drive after a week provided that my pain medication use was low.

I am cautiously optomistic about her predictions given the real accounts that have been presented in this forum.

Keeping my fingers crossed...

 
Old 05-18-2007, 05:32 AM   #12
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shawley HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

[COLOR="Red"]Paco ,
My doctor told me my fusion was going to be overnite ,it turned into a 7 day stay in the hospital ,we had to travel 167 miles to this hospital and my wife only brougth a 2 day supply of cloths [/COLOR][QUOTE=PacoKS;2989754]I spoke to the nurse today. She told me that I would go home Friday morning (my surgery is at 7:30 AM on Thursday). She said that I would be able to go up and down stairs on Friday and be able to take care of myself, although I will be easily tired by those activities. I won't be able to shower until Saturday night or Sunday morning. She said that I would be released to drive after a week provided that my pain medication use was low.

I am cautiously optomistic about her predictions given the real accounts that have been presented in this forum.

Keeping my fingers crossed...[/QUOTE]

 
Old 05-25-2007, 08:48 AM   #13
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PacoKS HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

Hello! I had the surgery for my laminotomy/discectomy yesterday. I got to the hospital at 6:00 AM and was in surgery around 7:40. I woke up in recovery at 9:50. I felt pretty good. My leg still hurt, but not as badly as before.

I was lucky and didn't have any reactions to the anesthesia. My throat was really sore and dry. The time in recovery was pretty short and I was in my hospital room at about 11:10. I got up and walked around the room at noon. It felt so much better than laying down.

Around 4:30, I felt pretty good and asked to be discharged. After a visit from the physical therapist I signed the papers and had my IV catheter removed.

I was home by 5:45. I am very sore today, but 95% of the leg pain is gone. I had trouble sleeping last night, I think because of the pain killers. They make my mind race.

Anyway, thank you for the support you have given me. I will check back over the next few weeks and let everyone know how the recovery is going.

Last edited by PacoKS; 05-25-2007 at 08:50 AM.

 
Old 05-25-2007, 10:58 AM   #14
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shawley HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

Paco,
thats awsome , glad everything turned out well. Maybe the laminectomy wasn/t what was hard on me maybe it was the fusion ??? I was in the ICU for a few day's after , hope you continue to feel better.

Shawley

 
Old 10-18-2009, 09:08 PM   #15
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pkings HB User
Re: Return to Work After Discectomy

[QUOTE=jinks67;2989675]I had a laminectomy (not major- around 1.5hrs surgery) and unfortunately, 6 wks on, still have the same leg pain, but for some guide, here's my surgeon's recommendations:

hospital 4-5 days
standing day 2
walking day 3
stairs day 4

sitting after around 10dys - 2 weeks
drive a car after 3 wks
7 weeks off work in total

Obviously it depends on the job and person. I would say, that if it wasn't for the continued nerve pain, around 4-5 weeks would have been okay for me to return to a desk job (i.e., in terms of back muscles, normal post-op pain etc..).

Good luck with the op
Jinks
:wave:[/QUOTE]

I just had the same surgery, still a little pain in my leg.

 
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