I came to sites like this before my surgery and I found the info helpful if not scary, so four years on I thought I would post my positive outcome if you’re facing this now- and wish you well.
Mine was not a recent single traumatic injury but years of flare-ups and the generic diagnosis of Degenitive Disc Disease. I’m now in my 50’s
Initial Dr. visit to surgery was about 10 months, with many imaging diagnostics, morphine based pain killers and physio ineffective. Once surgery was determined wait was about 4 months through our provincial health plan. If you’re dealing with it I feel for you as you struggle to contort yourself into a position to lessen the pain and try all manner of props and positions laying or sitting to try and get a few hour sleep. Ultimately prescription grade NSAID’s worked best but wore off before I was safely allowed to take next one, and you don’t want to be on those too long
Surgery I’m told was about 6 hours and involved bone from my hip. It would have been day surgery but I was held up getting a post op x-ray until next morning but still less than 24 hours.
Be prepared- initial incisions are ugly especially the hip which had lots of bruising. I can tell you though that now if you look at my neck you wouldn’t know unless you knew where to look and had knowledge of the surgery. Seriously I have to look for it myself depending on the light. Hip is a bit worse, but they do take advantage of natural skin folds- and I’m slim
Actually the hip caused the most post op pain. Neck, arm, hand and shoulder blade pane was gone immediately after surgery. I was working from home a few weeks later and returned to work a couple of weeks after that (IT work with restricted physical effort)
I felt ready to return to sports after 3-4 months but respected the need to not play for 6 months. On return my teammates commented that I played like I never left, and I continue to play hockey. I only notice a small lack of movement looking down and nothing side to side- I can still see “behind me” looking to the sides.
I still have occasional mild pain where mentioned and a little numbness in left hand, but that rarely requires PK’s and if so 1 over the counter is good enough. I swear this is related- but doc says no- but I have an increased “tangy” or sourness response. You know that response you get in your mouth when you eat or look at some foods. I experience it even drinking cold diet coke which is new.
Bottom line- I’ve very happy with outcome! Compared to a future of inactivity, severe pain, inability to work and lack of sleep I have no regrets.
Best of luck