Home / Blog / How Long Does It Take to Recover from Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Car accidents are stressful when no one is injured, but a spinal injury can make the aftermath overwhelming. Some spinal injuries caused by car accidents require surgical fusion to preserve normal function. If you’ve needed spinal fusion after a crash that wasn’t your fault, contact Wagner Reese to find out if you’re entitled to compensation for your pain and medical costs.

Spinal surgery can drastically impact your life, depending on the severity of the injury. Recovery times vary widely, but it typically takes three to six months to get back to pre-accident activity levels. You will experience pain and movement limitations and may even experience complications. An accident victim who gets spinal fusion also requires ongoing medical care like physical therapy.

One study suggests ongoing problems after surgery for car crash victims that require spinal fusion: only 37% return to work and 23% to pre-injury duties. 68% of claimants reported ongoing back pain two years following surgery.

How Car Accidents Lead to Spinal Fusion Surgery

When a car collides with another vehicle or an object (such as a road barrier, sign, tree, or fence), the force of impact can cause significant injuries to the driver and passengers. Spinal injuries that require spinal fusion surgery include disc herniation and fractured vertebrae.

Disc herniation occurs when the disc’s outer layer, a pad of soft tissue that cushions the vertebrae, tears, letting the inner layer bulge out. The bulging disc invades areas where nerves leave the spine or the spinal canal, causing increased pressure on nerves. This pressure causes pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

Vertebral fractures can cause the same symptoms as herniated discs but pose a greater risk of permanent damage to the spinal cord. Fractures may just be cracks, or parts of the vertebra may be broken off entirely. Sometimes the vertebra has multiple fractures.

Medical treatment for both issues includes spinal fusion surgery. The surgeon makes small incisions near the affected area and uses specialized tools to place a bone graft with screws to connect two or more vertebrae. Once healed, this becomes a solid column of bone.

Recovery Time

The recovery process starts as soon as you come out of surgery and lasts months. Overall health, your age, the severity of your injuries, and underlying conditions all impact recovery time. Recovery involves pain management, wound care, modifying activity, watching for complications, and eating a diet that supports healing.

Younger, healthier people recover faster, and they will typically be out of work for four to six weeks, if they work a desk job. A physically demanding position requires more time to recover. Depending on your job, you may need to be on light duty to avoid stressing your injury during the healing process.

You will have a permanently reduced range of motion in your spine where the fusion is located. Fusions involving more vertebrae will result in more range of motion loss. This can be particularly harmful if the bone graft is on the cervical vertebrae, the most mobile region of the spine.

Regardless of how long your recovery takes, the at-fault driver should be responsible for providing financial compensation. Consult the Indianapolis catastrophic injury lawyers at Wagner Reese to file a personal injury claim.

How Hiring a Lawyer Can Help

Your personal injury legal team will investigate the cause of your accident, interview witnesses, calculate a fair settlement, and negotiate with the insurance company. If the company refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney will take the case to court.

Lawyers also have access to expert witnesses. These include medical experts and economic experts who help judges and juries see the financial and non-financial losses you have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of your injury, such as on-going medical expenses, future lost income, chronic pain, and changes to your quality of life. Through the use of expert witnesses, your lawyer can help convince insurance companies and juries of the seriousness of your need.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

The Indiana car crash lawyers at Wagner Reese have over two decades of experience fighting for victims of reckless, negligent, or careless drivers. You may be entitled to financial compensation after a serious crash, and our personal injury attorneys will fight hard to see you get it.

We are proud to make a difference in our clients’ lives. Contact Wagner Reese today for your free case consultation. We are ready to advocate for you.