For a run-of-the-mill, standard open surgery, going in from the back, the standard stay is three days, assuming there are no complications. Some surgeons have patients staying overnight, but I personally think that is rushing things too much. You need to have pain well-regulated with oral meds and be able to take care of yourself before discharge...this means climbing stairs if your home requires that, toileting yourself, etc.
There are no set answers regarding surgery or recovery. Every person is unique. The one thing I will say is that recovery generally takes longer than the patient thought it would.
I am 2 years out from an ALIF fusion (they went in through my stomach).
My surgery was a Tuesday morning, and I went home Friday afternoon. They had me up and walking with a brace the day after surgery. Go slow, let the nurses help and you will be fine. It wasn't easy to walk, but it is best in the long run.
Before you can leave the hospital they will want you to learn basic movements (NO Bending, Lifting, Twisting), stairs, getting in a car etc. You also have to have digestion happening, which requires at least passing gas.
Things you will want at home are a toilet riser, cane (I had a walker, but only used it for the first day or two), reading materials/tv and someone to help at least the first few days back.
I had multilevel fusions so I am not sure what is the rules about one level.
But this doesn't mean, surgery will be like a walk in a park.
I am telling everyone who had serious spinal surgeries (yours is one of them) not to rush, not to be stubborn and not to think you will be OK just by rushing things and overwork yourself.
Take from someone very athletic and fit. Recovery is painful and long. It can take up to a year (in some cases more) to fully recover. If you rush something may not go the way you want, so take it easy.
If they use hardware, you have to be even more careful.
But you should know that we all very different and recover differently; depends a lot on so many factors, like age, smocking, weight, job we do and damages done to our spines. So take it easy, pay attention to how you feel, listen to your body and please, please follow every direction your surgeon suggest, this is very important.
Hi...I am post-op 3 years this month. I had a 360 fusion L3-4. Was cut in the front for a mesh disc and they flipped me over and fixed the back side. I was in the hospital for 4 days and slept and slept. It was very slow going for about 1 to 2 months but kept on getting easier. My husband was home with me for about 10 days and then I was on my own. Making it easier is to buy or rent a chair for the toilet and one for the shower. Maybe something to help you when you begin to walk (cane, walker). When you begin to feel better, don't overdo it. Let your body heal. Take your pain pills and you will know you don't need them any more. Good luck and I'm sure things will work out fine for you. Don't listen to those horror stories.