Nurse graphic with the question How Long Does Spine Surgery Take?

Spine Surgery: How Long Does It Take? Everything You Need To Know.

This is one of the most common questions we get from patients considering spine surgery: “How long will my surgery take?”


And it’s a good question. After all, if you’re thinking about going through with a major procedure, you probably want to know what’s in store for you.


The good news is spine surgery doesn’t last as long as you might think—and even better news is that there are ways to make sure your time in the operating room goes by quickly and smoothly!


In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how long your spine surgery will take so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you.

What is a spine surgery?

The spine is a complex structure that protects the spinal cord, which is responsible for sending and receiving messages back and forth from your brain to the rest of your body.


Spine surgeries are performed to correct injuries or conditions affecting the structure of your spine, like herniated discs or degenerative disc disease. Spine surgeries also help to treat symptoms caused by pain in your back or legs and numbness in your arms or legs.


Spine surgeries are divided into three categories: laminectomy (removing part of a vertebra), discectomy (removing damaged tissue), and spinal fusion (joining two vertebrae together). Most surgeries involve some combination of these three types of procedures depending on what needs to be done for each individual case.

Doctor explaining how a spine surgery can help

What back problems can be resolved through spine surgery?

Back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world.

Back pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including spinal stenosis, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, cervical disc disease and spondylolisthesis. When these conditions are left untreated or are not treated properly they may lead to permanent damage to the spine.

Spinal surgery is also used in the treatment of tumors and infections that have spread throughout the body. The primary goal of this procedure is to remove all traces of cancerous cells as well as surrounding tissue before they have time to spread further.

In some cases surgery may also be performed in order to remove pressure on nerves if there has been any nerve damage due to tumor growth.

Spine surgery takes less time than you might expect.

Spinal surgery is a big deal—we know. But the actual surgery is often over in just a few hours. The length of your surgery depends on the type of procedure you receive and may vary based on your surgeon’s skill level and experience.


Surgeons at Long Island Neuroscience Specialits are skilled in performing minimally invasive spine procedures that require smaller incisions and less recovery time than traditional open surgeries. If you are considering minimally invasive spine surgery, chick out this article for more info.

Doctors consult before a spine surgery

Before surgery.

Your doctor will go over the surgical plan and procedure with you. Make sure to ask about the estimated length of time for your procedure.


The length of time for the procedure depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of surgery you are having. Some surgeries take longer than others to complete, and some procedures require more time than others to set up and prepare.
  • Your surgeon’s experience level. A surgeon who is experienced in performing your particular surgery will likely be able to complete it faster than someone who has less experience with that type of surgery.
  • The complexity of the procedure being performed on you—some procedures can be more complicated than others because they require more intricate movements or because there are additional risks involved in performing them (for example, hip replacement surgeries tend to take longer due to the nature of their location).

The specific spinal condition treated determines how long surgery will take.

It is important to note that the specific spinal condition treated determines how long surgery will take. The type of surgery you have, the number of vertebrae being fused and the number and severity of your spinal conditions being treated all play a role in determining how long it will be before you can return home after your procedure.


Additionally, your surgeon’s experience level will play a role in determining how long it takes for you to recover from surgery. It also matters whether they perform an open or minimally invasive approach (arthrodesis).


Open spine surgeries take longer because they require larger incisions than minimally invasive ones do; however, despite this difference in length, both types are equally effective at treating their respective conditions.

Lumbar spinal surgery, generally takes 2 to 4 hours.

During lumbar spinal surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower back and moves aside muscle tissue to access the spine (this is done to remove a disc or to fuse vertebrae together).


Sometimes it may be necessary for your doctor to cut out part of a vertebra and replace it with an artificial disc. In these cases, you will need more time for healing and rehab than someone who has had only a fusion procedure.


This can take anywhere from 2-4 hours and sometimes even longer depending on the severity of your condition. During this time, your surgeon will be using either metal screws or rods to fuse together two vertebrae in order to stabilize your spine and prevent further damage to your spinal discs.

A microdiscectomy, a type of lumbar surgery, generally takes 30 to 90 minutes.

During the surgery, you will be under general anesthesia and positioned on your stomach with your legs slightly bent at the knee.


The surgery is done under a microscope to make sure the surgeon doesn’t damage any nerves or blood vessels along the way. A microdiscectomy can also be done by arthroscopic minimally invasive surgical methods, which reduces recovery time and improves patient outcomes compared with traditional open discectomies (where an incision is made).

Spinal fusion, generally takes between 4 to 6 hours.

Spine fusion is a surgical procedure that involves joining two or more vertebrae together using bone grafts, rods, screws, or plates. This helps to stabilize the spine and prevent movement between vertebrae.


First, you’ll need to get a CT scan of your spine. This will allow the doctor to see any abnormalities and determine what kind of surgery is necessary. Then, you’ll go in for surgery—which could last anywhere from four to six hours, depending on the extent of your injury and what needs to be done.


You might have some pain afterward, but that’s normal. The pain should subside in two weeks or so; if it doesn’t, talk to your doctor about how best to manage it.

Cervical spine or neck spine surgery, generally a few hours.

The cervical spine or neck spine surgery process takes a few hours. The patient is under general anesthesia, and the surgeon makes an incision in the back of the neck. The doctor separates the muscles, ligaments, and nerves of the neck from their bony attachments in order to access the vertebra that needs to be repaired.


Once this is done, the surgeon will begin to reposition the vertebra by removing bone spurs and inserting screws or other fasteners into the vertebrae.


After this has been done, there may be more work to do depending on what caused your condition: if there was a fracture, you might need plates and screws; if there was arthritis causing compression against nerve roots in your spinal cord, you might need a fusion procedure where bone grafts are used to fuse together two or more vertebrae.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), generally 3 hours.

The anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) process is a long one. First, you’ll meet with your doctor to discuss the surgery and what it will involve, as well as what your recovery process might look like. They may also ask you to sign a consent form before they move forward with the procedure.


during the surgery, your doctor will make two incisions in your neck: one at the base of your neck, right below where your skull meets your spine (cervical spine), and another one between two vertebrae in order to remove or fuse them together.


The surgeon will then remove the disc between those two vertebrae, clean out any damaged parts of the spinal cord or surrounding nerves, and then put in a metal plate or screws to hold everything together while it heals.


The whole thing takes about three hours; after that point you’re on your way home!

A variety of doctors with different spine surgery experience

Surgery times may vary depending on how experienced or skilled your surgeon is at performing a particular procedure.

When you’re thinking about having an operation, one thing that can be hard to think about is the time commitment. It can be nerve-wracking to think about how long it will take for you to have surgery, and then how long it will take for you to recover from that surgery.


Spine surgery time can vary depending on factors like surgical approach and experience level of your physician. If you have a complicated case, it might take longer to complete the operation. In general, spine surgery takes anywhere from one to four hours, but this may vary based on the type of procedure being performed as well as your overall health.


If you’re wondering how long spine surgery takes, this information should help put your mind at ease: While some surgeries may take less than two hours (and others may take longer), most of them can be completed within a few hours—and that includes pre-surgery preparation time!

Will I be able to move my back easily after spinal surgery?

Your surgeon will tell you what level of flexibility and movement is possible, but it may take a while before you can do daily activities like walking or bending over.


You may need physical therapy after spinal fusion surgery to regain flexibility in your spine and muscles.

Your doctor may recommend that you avoid certain activities until your surgery is fully healed. This includes working out at the gym, strenuous exercise like running or playing sports, heavy lifting (such as moving furniture), gardening with heavy tools and yard work that involves a lot of bending over (for example raking).

Doctor with a clock timing your spine surgery

To sum it up.

In conclusion, spinal surgery can be a scary prospect. But consider this: The more you know about your condition and treatment options, the better prepared you’ll be to make decisions that are right for you.


If you’re having a long spine surgery, be sure to ask your doctor about how long it’s likely to take. 


They should be able to give you a good idea of what kind of recovery period is expected after the operation. This is important so that you can plan for any downtime and make sure that everyone who needs to know about your surgery knows when it’s happening.


Remember: a long spine surgery doesn’t mean the procedure itself will take longer than normal—it just means that the recovery period may take longer than usual. It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before any operation so that they can give you an accurate timeline for recovery and advise on what kinds of things will make it go more smoothly.