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How many hours does spine surgery take?

Spine surgery is a medical procedure that aims to correct spinal disorders and improve the patient’s life quality. However, undergoing surgery can be a stressful experience, and one of the many concerns that come to patients’ minds is how long the procedure will take. In this blog post, we will discuss the duration of spine surgery and what factors can affect the operating time.

The Average Duration of Spine Surgery

The duration of spine surgery varies depending on the complexity and type of surgery. Generally, spine surgery can take anywhere from one hour to eight hours, with four hours being the average duration for a traditional spinal fusion surgery with general anesthesia. When patients undergo spinal fusion surgery, the orthopedic surgeon will use screws, plates, or cages to attach bone grafts to the spinal vertebrae to achieve fusion. The surgeon then places metal rods to stabilize the spine until the bone fuses over time.

Factors That Affect the Duration of Spine Surgery

1. Type of Procedure:

The type of spine surgery can influence its duration. For instance, minimally invasive spine surgery usually takes less time than open spine surgery. Minimally invasive surgery involves using smaller incisions to access the spine, while open surgery requires large incisions and more extensive tissue displacement.

2. Number of Vertebrae Involved:

The more vertebrae involved, the longer the surgery will take. If a patient requires spinal fusion surgery for three or more vertebrae, the operating time will be longer than if it were only one vertebra.

3. Experience of the Surgeon:

The experience and skill of the surgeon can also affect how long the surgery takes. An experienced surgeon who has performed the same surgery many times will be more efficient at the procedure, making the operating time shorter.

4. Patient’s Age and Health:

The patient’s age and overall health can also affect surgery duration. Elderly patients may require more time for surgery due to their weaker bodies and increased risks of complications, while healthier individuals may require a shorter operating time.

5. Complexity of the Procedure:

A complex spine surgery that involves extensive spinal deformities, previous trauma, and scar tissue formation, among other issues, will require a more extended operating time. The more complex the surgery is, the longer it will take to perform.

Types of Spine Surgery

Here are some of the most common types of spine surgery and their estimated duration:

1. Discectomy: This is a surgical procedure that involves removing the herniated portion of a vertebral disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. A discectomy can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

2. Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF): This procedure removes a cervical herniated disc and relieves pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. It involves fusion of two or more vertebrae using bone grafts. ACDF surgery lasts between one to three hours.

3. Laminectomy: Laminectomy is a procedure that involves removing the lamina, the back part of the affected vertebra to relieve pressure from the spinal cord and nerves. It takes around an hour to two hours.

4. Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is the procedure that involves fusing two or more vertebrae into one bone to relieve pain caused by conditions such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and fractures. It takes around four to six hours.


Spine surgery is a delicate procedure that requires experience and precision to ensure the best results. The duration of surgery depends on several factors such as the type and complexity of the procedure, number of vertebrae involved, and the patient’s overall health. It’s important that patients discuss these concerns with their surgeons before the operation to obtain a better understanding of what to expect during surgery and the post-operative period.


Is spinal surgery major or minor?

When it comes to spinal surgery, the notion that all types of surgeries are major is a common myth. Not all spinal surgeries are considered major surgeries, and the decision to classify a spinal surgery as major or minor depends on several factors such as the type of procedure, the location of the surgery, and the complexity of the condition being treated.

For instance, some spinal surgery procedures are performed to relieve minor conditions such as herniated or bulging discs, which can be treated using minimally invasive techniques. These minimal invasive surgeries are less complicated and typically require only small incisions. They also don’t cause as much scarring and have a lower risk of infection or post-surgical pain. Some of the conditions that can be treated using minimally invasive spine surgery include lumbar spinal stenosis and spinal deformities such as scoliosis.

On the other hand, there are spinal surgeries that are classified as major surgeries. These types of surgeries are typically more invasive and complex and require open incisions and longer recovery periods. They are often performed to treat severe conditions such as spinal fractures, tumors, or spinal cord injuries. These procedures involve more risks than minor surgeries and may require more extensive pre-operative evaluations and post-operative care.

The decision of whether a spinal surgery is major or minor depends on the type of procedure, the location of the surgery, and the complexity of the condition being treated. While some spinal surgeries are considered minor and can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, others require open incisions and a long recovery period, making them major surgeries. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine the appropriate procedure and the potential risks involved.

What back surgery takes 8 hours?

There are various types of back surgeries that can be complex and time-consuming, but one surgery that can take up to 8 hours or longer is spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that aims to join two or more vertebrae in the spine to treat spinal problems such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and scoliosis.

During a spinal fusion surgery, the surgeon will first make an incision in the back to gain access to the spine. They will then remove the damaged or diseased disc or bone tissue that is causing the problem. The surgeon will then “graft” the segments by placing bone grafts or bone substitutes in the space between the vertebrae. The bone grafts or substitutes will act as a bridge and stimulate new bone growth, which will eventually fuse the segments together. Metal rods, plates, screws, or cages may also be used to stabilize the spine and keep the bone in place while the fusion occurs.

Spinal fusion is a delicate and complex surgery that requires highly skilled and experienced surgeons. They need to work with precision, as the spine is a critical part of the body that houses the spinal cord and protects the nervous system. The surgery also requires advanced medical technology, such as computer navigation systems and imaging tools, to help the surgeon visualize and navigate the spine accurately.

Despite the advancements in medical technology, spinal fusion surgery can take up to 8 hours or longer to complete due to its complexity and intricacy. After the surgery, patients may experience pain, swelling, and discomfort, and are advised to take several months of rest and recovery time. Full recovery may take up to 6 to 12 months, depending on the patient’s age, health, and type of surgery performed.

Are you put to sleep for spine surgery?

Spine surgery is a major procedure that can be performed under different types of anesthesia depending on the complexity of the surgery, patient’s health, and surgeon’s preference. One of the most common questions that patients have is whether they will be put to sleep during spine surgery.

During spine surgery, anesthesiology plays a crucial role, and a team of skilled anesthesiologists monitors the patient’s vital signs throughout the surgery. The type of anesthesia chosen for spine surgery depends on the patient’s overall health status and the complexity of the surgery.

Most spine surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, which means that the patient is completely asleep during the procedure. The anesthesiologist administers medications which will make the patient unconscious and unaware of the surgery. The medications are delivered through an intravenous line, which is inserted in your arm or hand. The anesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs throughout the operation and adjust your medications accordingly to ensure that you remain in a safe and stable condition.

Alternatively, for some patients awake spine surgery may be considered, particularly for procedures like spinal cord stimulators. In awake spine surgery, the patient receives spinal anesthesia, which means that only the lower half of the body is numbed, and the patient remains conscious throughout the procedure. In such cases, the patient may be given medication to help them relax or sleep through the procedure.

The decision about whether to use general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia or to wake up during the spine surgery varies based on the type of surgery, patient’s health, and surgeon’s preference. Patients can discuss their preference with their doctors and anesthesiologists to choose the best anesthesia option. The anesthesiologist will be present during the surgery to monitor the patient’s condition and ensure a safe and comfortable procedure.

Is back surgery extremely painful?

Back surgery, like any other surgical procedure, has the potential to cause a significant amount of pain. The level of pain patients experience is dependent on the type of surgery they undergo, as well as the patient’s pain tolerance and overall health.

Some patients may experience only mild discomfort while others may have severe pain that requires medication management. The pain may be felt at the site of the incision, as well as in the surrounding muscles and tissues. Pain is also common due to the repositioning of bones and tissues during surgery.

After back surgery, patients are typically provided with a pain management plan to help manage the discomfort. This may include medications such as opioids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other non-medication therapies, such as physical therapy or ice and heat treatments, may also be prescribed.

It is important to note that although back surgery can be painful, the benefits may outweigh the temporary discomfort. Surgery may be necessary to correct conditions such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or scoliosis that may be significantly impacting a patient’s quality of life. Successful surgery can reduce pain, improve mobility and function, and provide long-term relief.

Back surgery can cause a high degree of post-operative pain. However, with proper pain management techniques and a clear understanding of what to expect after surgery, patients can reduce their discomfort and focus on achieving a successful outcome.

How long does l4 l5 surgery take?

Spinal surgery involving the L4-L5 region is a common procedure for addressing various spinal conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. The length of the surgery can vary broadly based on the complexity of the procedure.

In general, an L4-L5 surgery takes approximately 4 to 8 hours to complete. The procedure involves making an incision in the patient’s back and removing any damaged or degraded discs from the L4-L5 region of the spine. Once the damaged disc tissue has been removed, a bone graft or artificial disc is inserted into the empty space between the vertebrae.

In many cases, the bone graft material is harvested from the patient’s own hip bone through the same incision that was made for the spinal procedure, which eliminates the need for additional incisions. This bone graft helps to hold the vertebrae in their proper position and promotes fusion between the bone graft and the adjacent vertebrae.

After the bone graft is in place, rods, and screws are inserted to stabilize the spine and hold everything in place. This instrumentation provides extra support while the bone graft fuses with the surrounding vertebrae.

Postoperatively, the length of hospital stay may range from one to several days depending on the case and the patient’s condition. However, it is important that patients understand that healing and recovery can be a longer process, and may require postoperative physical therapy and rehabilitation to maximize the chances of success.

What is major back surgery?

Major back surgery refers to surgical procedures that are performed on the spine or the spinal cord to correct various conditions and provide pain relief. The most common types of major back surgeries include spinal fusion, laminectomy, and discectomy.

Spinal fusion surgery involves joining two or more vertebrae together to stabilize the spine and reduce pain caused by spinal fractures, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis. The procedure involves placing bone grafts or metal implants between the vertebrae to encourage them to fuse together and form a single, solid bone.

Laminectomy, also known as decompression surgery, is a procedure that involves removing a small portion of the vertebral bone or disc material that is compressing spinal nerves or causing spinal stenosis. This surgery can relieve back pain and improve mobility by reducing pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Discectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing part of a damaged spinal disc that is pressing on a nearby nerve and causing pain or numbness. This procedure can be performed as an open surgery or a minimally invasive procedure depending on the severity of the condition. It can also be combined with spinal fusion surgery to provide greater stability to the spine.

While these surgeries can be very effective in correcting the problems causing your back pain, they are also major surgical procedures that require a long recovery period. Patients will typically need to take pain medications and wear a back brace for several weeks after surgery, and may require physical therapy to regain strength and mobility. Your doctor will help you determine if a major back surgery is the best treatment option for your individual condition and needs.