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annmarie824aannmarie824 Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone,
Still stressing about my upcoming surgery. I see on here all the
"less than successful surgeries". Can anyone say "I had a PLIF and I feel great!"???
Take care and thank you all for your information,


  • Please remember that the majority of folks with positive outcomes move on from the forums once they no longer feel the need for support.

    Ask yourself:

    - did I do everything I could to avoid surgery?
    - is surgery the best answer at the moment?
    - do I risk permanent nerve damage if I avoid surgery now?
    - do I trust my surgeon and the surgeon's evaluation?
    - is my life my life with all this pain?

    Questions like those can put a lot of perspective on your situation and hopefully help bring the uneasiness down a bit.

  • First of all, it is normal to be stressed. If you weren't a little stressed, I'd think you were crazy because that would mean you didn't consider the surgery carefully enough!

    Second, yes, there are success stories. Like C said, lots of folks move on once they no longer need the support system here. Some still stick around. A big example of a success story would be Bruce, one of the moderators. He has a link on his page to his story. He had a bump or two in recovery, but is now literally climbing mountains.

    Good luck to you! Keep us posted!
  • I like HaglandC's questions as they raise the issues we all need to examine prior to surgery.

    Many people enter into back surgery with unrealistic expectations. They go to one doctor in pain, and are eager to have the pain resolved. They often jump at the chance for surgery, thinking it will cure their problems. They enter into it without doing much research, or considering the consequences.

    It is important to remember that most back surgeries are done for pain relief...the patient would not die if he/she didn't have the surgery. In most cases, the patient will not be restored to the way he/she was prior to the injury or onset of pain. Some may approach that level, but others will not.

    Another thing to consider is the definition of success. Many people only think of "successful" as feeling the way they did prior to the injury or onset of pain. For example, I had a PLIF at L4-5 last January, and by all standards, my surgery is considered a success.

    I had spondylolisthesis, and very bad stenosis at the L4-5 level prior to surgery. This was all taken care of by the fusion. However, while still in hospital, I developed a new leg pain that I had not had previously. No one can figure out what is causing it and everyone keeps saying "things take a long time to heal, and be patient, it may go away."

    Did my surgery accomplish what it was supposed to? Yes. Everything went well. Everything healed up nicely. Can I walk further than prior to my surgery? Yes. Is my pain level reduced? Yes. But I still have leg pain that keeps me from taking hiking vacations like we used to do 10 years ago. So I am disappointed in the results of my surgery.

    Taking all this into account, I am pleased I had the surgery and would do it over again, even though I am not as pain-free as I had hoped I would be.

    So, there is lots to think about when you consider surgery. I do know a couple people who are back to doing everything they loved doing prior to surgery, so it is possible!!

    Best of luck to you.

    ~ Gwennie
  • Hi Annmarie,

    Please don't stress out, many of us had successful surgeries, but like "C" said, most people move on. Well, I decided to stay for that reason because I remember how scared I was before my three-level fusion, and my surgery couldn't have gone better. I have been pain free since I woke up from the anesthetics. The recovery took time, but I expected that. The most important thing is that I no longer experience pain and numbness when I am standing. And next week, I will celebrate my 9 months of improved quality of life by flying to the island of Kaua'i in Hawaii alone, for a week of R&R.

    Aloha! And good luck with your surgery. A positive attitude will help.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    to come out louder and bolder than the positive!

    No question there are spinal surgeries (regardless of what Disc, what kind, etc) that fail and there are all that are so successful.

    "C"'s statement is so very true. I've been on Spine-Health after two years now and I can list so many member names that were here when I first started, but have left since. There is a tendency that once you are mended, you start to move onwards with your life. I am so happy for all that have gone this route.

    So, what you may hear more frequently are the 'bad' stories.
    Hopefully for all of them, some change took place to turn bad into good..

    It is natural to be afraid going into surgery. The best way to approach this is to do as much research as possible, so that you can almost be the 'expert' on your condition and the type of surgical procedure that will be done.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Annie, I think you heard several times now, have I tried everything else!!! I thought that I had and had surgery becasue I was not living the quality of life I had wanted. Boy that was a mistake for me, my life is now a living H?$?. But again that is just me, thousands of people have no problem at all. I have been looking for 3 1/2 years for an answer to my issue and have been educated along the way as to other alternatives that I overlooked prior to surgery. If you really need to have the surgery and have done all the leg work to insure so then have it but be well informed. Good Luck with which ever way you go.
  • Hi Annie,
    I agree with many of the members who have posted, especially Ron and C as they mention the healed tend to move on and don't need the support here and the negative seems louder than the positive.
    I had a PLIF two level L4 to S1 fusion done on Dec 2, of this year. I had DDD, stenosis, and drop foot with a 1.3 cm buldge that pinched off the nerve to my left leg. I went up and down prior to surgery bouncing between "this is the right thing for me" and "what if this is the wrong thing for me" in regaurds to surgery. Its a natural emotion to have.
    I woke up from surgery, went home THAT NIGHT, and I had full used of my leg again. I am now about nine weeks out, I stopped pain meds at week two and started PT around week three. I no longer have spasms, I have regained the strength in my leg not to mention the feeling in my leg and foot. I have regained some mobility back that I didnt have before the surgery through PT. I am starting to fuse at both levels and the outcome thus far has been a sucsess. Does it somedays feel like the recovery will never end, of course, but when I look at how I was pre surgery, the week after surgery to now...wow the tunnel already has light. I lived a very sedentary life prior to surgery and now I am more active than I was before the PLIF. It has given me alot of my life back although I am still recovering. Keep your chin up.

    I wish you the best, and we are all here to help support in anyway we can.

  • Can I ask if they did the bmp with hardware in your back.
  • Thank you, thank you thank you all!!! I feel so pathetic sometimes. I have never been so doom and gloom. Here is a little history....am 56 yrs old...golfing since I was 9..4 grown children...3 granchildren with 2 on the way..was a recreation director for seniors and alzheimers...on Good Friday last year I was on my way to the grocery store for my Easter Ham. At the light I was rear-ended by a drunk driver...hospital said I had a strain neck and back...went to chiropractor then mri's...have grade 2 spondy L5/S1 with severe bilateral stenosis....disc herniations of L-5 and a disc herniation indenting the interior aspect of thecal sac..bulging disc and annular tears involving L3-4...also have C5-6 disc herniation..not to mention the surgery I had in October for rotator cuff and labral tear...believe me, I have NEVER in my life had a backache. I think thats why this is so unbelievable to me. I did go to the chiropractor for months then had an epidural. My foot feels like its broke and have sciatica on both sides. I do trust my doctor, thanks for reminding me of that. I am going to back class at the hospital this thurs and a question/answer with the doc on friday. I know this is lengthy but this site helps me sleep at night.
    God be good to all of you,
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