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Surgery Next Week

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have really enjoyed this site thus far. Seems to be very positive compared to some others. I will be have L5-S1 fusion next week due to DDD. I am a bit nervous and scared. What should I expect the first 2 days, 3-5 days, 6-14 days? Thanks.


  • Hi, I had a similar op several years ago. Soooo for recovery from L4/L5 that i had, it was a discectomy, fusion, with hardware... For recovery they'll want you to get out of bed and move a bit practically straight after... its tough! But the more walking the better, so just keep at it! It honestly gets a little a bit easier to get up everytime, and you'll be walking the halls in no time (slowly ). I had help around the house for about a mmonth after the op. I remember moving slowly, but i was moving. My pre-op pain was gone btw, but certainly post op pain from the surgical sites was present. Muscle spasms sometimes too. If my memory is correct, i was off regularly scheduled pain meds at about 3 weeks... but i still needed meds about once a day or so until about 8 weeks (maybe twice a day ) My recovery was exactly what i'd been advised, and i was able to go back to work at 3 months post op. i was ok. tired, adjusted my seating/standing as i rebuilt up my work related muscles, but it was ok. That op gave me my life back... i was able to be me, be a mom, work the way i like to work... i minded my back +++ after... i never weeded the garden!! never did the chores that required extensive back breaking work - DELEGATION is the key to life!! But i played sports, went horseback riding, paragliding, climbed rocks!! once i felt ready!! i'd say i got physically out there.. about 2 years after the op. And the last advice.... KEEP WALKING!

    Good luck with your op!

    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • What kind of op - ALIF, PLIF etc?

    I had L5-S1 ALIF about 4 weeks ago, its tough to say what to expect because everyone goes into it with something different (i.e. if you're already on a really high quantity of pain meds, it can be difficult to control pain post-op; some people are in hard shell braces 24/7 post-op, some wear soft corset braces only for comfort). So far I've had a smooth recovery, but there was nothing else wrong with me so my body has been able to focus on this injury. I also did alot of pilates prior to the surgery to strengthen my core muscles, and lost some weight. So consider the factors going into your situation as you are healing, it helps to keep things in perspective.

    For me - the anesthesia had me nauseous for 48 hours so I just slept, very little pain. Nerve pain has been gone since the surgery, I just ache. By the third day, I was up and ready to go! So hospital stay was just 3 days. I saw a physical therapist and occupational therapist before leaving; the former helped me with walking, the latter gave me some tools (well, my insurance pays for them) like a grabber, long handled shoe horn, a "dressing stick" to help me at home with day to day tasks.

    Just to note, if you are having ALIF - because they move the bowels around during surgery, you will have gas issues for a few days after. Highly suggest picking up some Gas-X to have on hand. Another member suggested it to me, thank goodness.

    First week, very little appetite, my sister came to stay with me and thank goodness, she cooked and looked after me, got me out to walk, made sure I took my meds, helped me bathe, everything. Walking once a day about 4 blocks initially to 2 walks a day by end of week, 4-8 blocks each. I was on about 5-6 percocets/day.

    By week two, I was out of the fog, but still so weary by 5pm or so. Walking about 1+ mile/day. Got my appetite back, actually made dinner in the morning and refrigerated it! Just so tired in the evenings. Cut down to 3-4 percocets/day.

    Last week - energy definitely getting better and able to walk over 2 miles a day. I stopped the percocets last Sunday, 3 weeks after coming home, so down to one med which I have to slowly taper off of (long story, I literally have to plan it out with the nurse practitioner!)

    I have not had "pain" per se. I may be unusual. I have had aches. Some have been bad enough for me to call my doc's office, they advised for me to monitor and call if they got worse. They said to be on the lookout for weakness. Have not had that. I still have partial numbness in my left foot. I wear a soft corset brace on occasion for comfort only.

    I hope this helps some. Good luck, you will do just fine.
  • I had a PLIF L2-L5 with lamenectomy/discectomy of L4-L5, w/ all the fun hardware (titanium rods, screws, whatever else they use).

    First day: I recall waking up in the recovery room, confused and in pain, the nurse quickly drugged me. I then wokeup again in the elevator going up to my room, not in as much pain but a lot of discomfort and confusing still lol :D

    Surgery took about 3-4 hours, and it was after 5pm by the time I was in my room, so did not get up that first day. A lot of pain, discomfort. Mainly pain control, I was given morphine every 3 hours 6mg, and lortab 15mg inbetween that, and valium to prevent muscle spasms.

    Next day therapy came, first time up was the worse pain ever, but once your up the pain goes away fast.

    Basically expect discomfort and pain the first 4-5 days. It improves every day so don't worry much about it. More you move better you feel as the days go by, do as your told by the doc/therapist.

    I am 2.5 weeks post op, doing great. Have not taken a pain med in over a week now if that tells you anything. I start therapy tomorrow 3 days a week for the next month or so, use a bone stimulator daily.

    Just be careful, do as your told and you'll do fine ;D
  • good luck to you...i go in the week after, for the same thing on march 4, surgery on 5th. I will be watching out for you on here, and thinking of you next week
  • Thanks for the information. I had pre-op. today. One week and counting. I will keep you posted. Glad to hear the positive results for you. I am looking forward to being able to be active again in my life. I have put on 15 lbs. in 11 months. I officiate football and last year was dreadful (even on pain meds). I can't wait. Thanks for the up lifting message. Talk with you soon. I will probably be putting post on the forum with subject line "Hallmark Update & Care" Thanks again and look forward to hearing more about your recovery....
  • I thought I was through with the preoperative exams. I had the one with my primary dr. where they did blood work, chest xray and ekg. Then Monday I went to the surgeon and he went through all the reports from my primary doctor. He looked at all of my prescriptions that I take. My fusion anterior and posterior and discectomy are on Tues. the 24th. So now my imagination is telling me I will get in for the preop with the anthesia dept. at the hospital Friday and they'll tell me no surgery because of one of my medications. Surely the surgeons always know if you should have stopped taking something - I had all of my medicine with me. I think I have waited so long - 4 months - and thought I was through all of the steps and now I have this last preop at the hospital for the anthesia. Surely these don't usually go wrong - do they?? Surely Surgeons don't miss medication problems - do they? overly tired and stressed~ Susie
  • What medication? Coumadin or something?
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