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Work Comp for Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery – Workmen Comp Law Firm

Back injuries are among the most common musculoskeletal disorders and the most expensive.

workmens comp lumbar fusion surgeryAny job that requires forceful movements, heavy lifting, awkward postures, and walking on slippery surfaces can cause serious injuries to the back. Back injuries can cause the ligaments holding the bones in the back together to change and eventually impair movement. The vertebrae of the spine may rub against each other, causing significant pain. In worst cases, an injured worker may need spinal lumbar fusion surgery.

Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

Lumbar spinal fusion surgery brings together two or more vertebrae in the lower spine. This can be done in two ways. Doctors can use bone from another part of the body to fuse the two vertebrae or use bone from a bone bank. Regardless of the graft source, the surgery involves removing the outer layer of the vertebrae to create a layer of blood-rich inner bone on which the graft is placed. The vertebrae and the new bones are held together with the help of surgical hardware such as metal plates, hooks, cages, rods, and screws. The bones grow together into one unit in 3-6 months. The surgery is very complicated, and the worker must undergo a complete health exam before the surgery. After the surgery, the worker will have frequent follow-ups with the doctor.

Recovery from Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

Recovery from lumbar spinal fusion surgery is structured around several key milestones to help patients regain mobility and strength:

Initial Hospital Stay:

  • Duration: 2-4 days in the hospital for monitoring and initial recovery.

Early Recovery Restrictions:

  • Driving: Prohibited for at least 2-4 weeks to ensure safety, as reaction times may be affected.
  • Lifting: Limited to objects no heavier than 10 pounds to avoid strain on the healing spine.


  • Physical Therapy: Begins approximately 6 weeks post-surgery to aid in strength and flexibility.

Return to Work:

  • Timeline: Typically 6-12 weeks post-surgery, depending on the patient’s job and recovery progress.

Supportive Care:

  • Back Brace: Some patients require up to 3 months to support the spine as it heals.

Prognosis After Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

It can take up to 8 months to fully recover from lumbar spinal fusion surgery. However, the bones will continue to grow for 12-18 months. According to some reports, 40 percent of people who undergo lumbar fusion surgery have ongoing problems with their back. They may even experience ongoing back pain and may develop problems in other of the spine above the point where the fusion was performed. The worker may have work restrictions long after returning to work.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you have sustained a serious back injury at your workplace and need lumbar spinal fusion surgery, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, considering the high costs associated with the surgery, it may be difficult to get the insurance company to approve payment for your surgery. Talk to our St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.

Updated: April 26, 2024