Driving after lumbar arthrodesis: Is it allowed?

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THElumbar arthrodesis is a surgical procedure that is often used to treat chronic lower back pain. After the operation, some people may wonder if they are able to drive.

The answer to this question may vary depending on your individual situation, but in general, driving after a lumbar arthrodesis should be allowed.

In this article, we will discuss the specifics of driving after a lumbar arthrodesis and give you some tips for staying safe behind the wheel.

Lumbar Spine Anatomy

The vertebrae lumbar are the 5 vertebrae that form the lumbar segment of the spine and which are located between the 12 thoracic vertebrae and the 5 sacral vertebrae.

The lumbar vertebrae are the widest and strongest in the spine, as they have the important task of supporting most of the weight of the body that rests on the back.

Identified by the capital letter L and a number from 1 to 5 depending on the cranio-caudal position, the lumbar vertebrae represent the section of the vertebral column where the spinal cord (between the first and the second vertebrate lumbar) and where the ponytail.

That is, the bundle-like nerve structure, which brings together the last 10 pairs of spinal nerves, before they exit from the spine.

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What is a lumbar arthrodesis?

THElumbar arthrodesis is a type of surgery that fuses the bones of the lower part of the spine. This surgery is usually done to relieve pain and stabilize the spine.

It is usually only considered when other treatment options, such as physical therapy and medication, have failed to provide relief.

There are several types of arthrodesis for the lumbar region. The surgical approach will depend on the patient's physical condition, age, symptoms present, need for nerve decompression, etc. For example, a anterior lumbar arthrodesis or lateral avoids cutting the muscles of the back (since the opening will be done by the belly or the flank). This generally allows for faster recovery.

Generally, during a lumbar arthrodesis, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower back and removes damaged or diseased tissue. The remaining bone will then be fused together using hardware, such as screws or rods.

In some cases, bone grafts may also be used to promote fusion. Recovery after a lumbar arthrodesis usually takes several months, and patients sometimes have to wear a back brace during this time.

There may be some complications and pain after surgery, which is normal. The duration of pain will depend on each individual, and will be discussed with the doctor. Among other things, there are leg pain ou at the hip. However, most patients experience significant pain relief after undergoing this procedure, with a high success rate.

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Driving after surgery

The vast majority of patients who undergo lumbar fusion can drive again after some time after the procedure. However, it is important to discuss this with your surgeon before driving.

Some patients may return to driving sooner than others, depending on the extent of their surgery and their individual recovery process.

Risks of driving too soon after spinal arthrodesis

It is important to be aware of the risks of driving too soon after surgery.lumbar arthrodesis :

  • You risk re-injury if you drive before your arthrodesis is completely healed.
  • If you drive while still taking painkillers, you are more likely to have an accident.
  • You may not be able to react as quickly as you normally would if you are in pain after the operation.

Deadlines to meet before you can drive again

You must stop taking painkillers and regain your full range of motion before you can drive again. Most people can resume driving 4 to 6 weeks afterlumbar arthrodesis.

Before resuming driving:

  • Make sure your lumbar fusion is healed and you have full range of motion.
  • Ask your doctor when it is safe to drive again.
  • Start driving slowly and only take short trips at first.
  • Avoid highways and other high-speed roads until you are confident in your abilities.
  • Be aware of the increased risk of accident if you still feel pain after the operation.

Some patients may need a longer recovery period before you can drive again. This is usually due to a more complicated operation or a longer healing phase.

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In these cases, it is important that you follow your surgeon's instructions and only start driving when it is safe to do so.


  1. http://chirurgie-colonne.com/conduite-automobile-et-sport/
  2. https://www.mcgill.ca/infoneuro/files/infoneuro/link_256.pdf
  3. https://www.chirurgie-orthopedique-medipole.fr/informations-patients-chirurgie-othopedique-avignon/conseils-apres-operation-colonne-vertebrale-avignon.html

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