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Scared... Surgery 04-16-09

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
First and foremost, I have to say, you guys are a bunch of the nicest people I've ever "read" in forums.

I'm having my 2nd back surgery on April 16th/09. My first one, a discectomy was done March 23/08. Still having a lot of pain (esp. nerve pain in R leg) so my surgeon is performing a PLIF next month.

So of course, I'm running around (ok.. not running...) trying to get everything done. I was told by my Dr's secretary that I will be in the hospital 5 days and then on bedrest for 6 weeks and only allowed to get up an hour and a half to 2 hours a day. Then it's 3 to 6 months of PT.

I'm scared. I won't lie. Mainly from the pain I'm assuming I'll be in afterwards.

OK... My questions.
1) Are you in a brace after the fusion? If so, can you sit up? (say to use a laptop..I have commitments)
2) When I met with my surgeon, I asked him to write down the type of procedure he'll be doing. He wrote: "Posterior Spinal Fusion" Then under it, he wrote TLIF & PLIF. Is it possible to do both? From what I'm reading, it seems like it's one or the other!
3) I read somewhere (too much reading!!) - that they do an MRI or CT scan prior to see what kind of implant you need. Why do I need an implant? Do they mean the metal? When do they do the MRI/scan?

Sigh... I'm sorry for taking up so much space. Like I said, I'm pretty damn scared!! BUT..I guess it's normal.

BTW - I've printed a list of what I'll need post-care. AWESOME document!!! :)

Thanks guys.



  • Hey Jen,
    I am still learning alot of stuff myself but I wanted to offer you what help I could.. You can have two things at once.. My surgeon with be going through my back and my stomach.. As far as the implant it refers to what they will place between your two vertebra.. I will be having a bone graph taken from my hip.. As for as the MRI or Cat scan, how did your Dr. now what was going on without giving you one.. But just give your nurse a call and they can usually answer that for you... Good luck...
  • Call back the nurse and ask those important questions because we can only give advice from our experience and every Dr. has his own procedures, rules, restrictions. I have read they can do both PLIF and TLIF at once but I only had PLIF. Do you know what part of the spine he is going to fuse? Ask the Dr./nurse more questions, they should understand your concerns. I never ask enough specifics but my Dr. explains enough to help me feel comfortable. My Dr. doesn't have his patients wear a brace but other Drs. do use them. So that is something only your Dr. knows.

    If you find out you can't sit too long like me....I am allowed to walk and lay down with limited sitting. My husband bought one of those laptop desks that fit over the bed and adjusts with a small lip/ridge to hold the laptop on. He quickly bought the cheap one in stock at Walmart because he wanted me to be happy and entertained right away! LOL! But there are better, sturdier ones you can order if you have time to shop for it beforehand. This one serves the purpose fine. Maybe you can get one and try it pre-surgery, it might be a good idea to have when you can sit up later too because it comes in handy all over the house! I'm in bed using mine right now!

    My surgery was scheduled pretty quickly so I didn't have time to be scared plus the pain was so bad I didn't care what they did to me at the time! Now I know and it is ok to be scared because surgery on your back is scary. But think of the bright side...you are getting help and in time you are going to feel better, I just know it! The hardest part of this surgery, everyone will tell you this....is that it takes time and lots of patience to recover....be prepared for that! And no matter how hard you prepare for the time and patience part if you are like most of us you will get frustrated that it takes so much time and patience. I can't say it enough. But it is well worth it!!!!Honestly, I wish I had my surgery long before I had it!

    The rolling out of bed is hard the first few weeks but it gets better. And all the good people here will be here to help answer questions and to support you. You are already ahead of me with that list...I wish I had known about that and this site pre-surgery! Use it and Re-read like a good book as needed! LOL!

    I am 5 months post fusion and doing well. I'm 54 and had some other issues so some others you read about here are doing even better than I am! I am happy with my progress! I am walking about 1.5- 2 miles a day above everything I do around the house. As you feel better the hard part is to remember no bending, lifting, twisting so then you find yourself feeling better and trying to restrain yourself from doing too much!

    I'll try to answer any other questions and I'm sure some of the others will have great advice to give you as they have helped me so much.
  • Hey Angela - Thank you for writing...
    I'm such a dork. Of course they've taken an MRI already. WOW. :)

    OK - so you can have both. I didn't know that. Thank you.

    I see your surgery is coming up.. good luck & good recovery.

    Thanks again.
  • Kathy, THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to write me and inform me of your recovery. You have no idea how it calms my nerves just to hear that people DO come out of it!

    I agree..I think my problem will be being patient and not pushing myself. I have to take my time to recover properly and if that means lying in bed for 20 hours a day. So be it. I think as women, especially those of us with spouses, especially male spouses, well... we tend to want to get back on our feet to help avert disaster. LOL. I'm lucky, I have good people around me who are willing to help me and I'm so thankful for that.

    I'm getting my L5/S1 disc fused. My doctor is amazing. He's head of ortho and I'm lucky. BUT.. I'm in Quebec and healthcare sucks. Last time I had an appointment with him, I waited 5 hours. My appointment was at 10am and I saw him at 3:00pm. I was so pissed off, in pain and hungry that I could barely talk, all I did was cry. I'm surprised he didn't commit me right then and there!! Needless to say, I forgot all my questions! The next time I see him is the day of my surgery. This is why this forum is a Godsend to me. I agree, we are all different and recovery differently, but just to get an idea of what I'm facing, helps tremendously. YOUR message, helped me in more ways then you know! You all seem so nice, friendly and willing to share your stories. I'm glad I stumbled across this website!

    Thanks again Kathy. Have a good night. Jen.
  • You will probably lay in bed the first week. But after that you will find that it feels good to get up and walk around the house. Wallking as much as you are up to it is important. I had a PLIF on Dec 11. I am still slowly healing and it takes a long time. I had two levels done and 2 disc replaced. My surgery was almost 8 hours. Not sure why so long. But I am finding it getting better week by week. Take it easy and remember no B L T. And Like Kathy said Laptop desks are wonderful It is 11:oo at night and here I am on my laptop talking to my friends here. Good Luck and if I can help answer any questions, ask away and Good Luck.
  • If it makes you feel any better, I had wait over an hour to see my surgeon and I had pay 20% of the cost incurred by the MRI, surgery, anesthesia, nurses, and facility.

    Keep us posted on your progress. Wishing you a speedy and uneventful recovery!!!!
  • Do you have a recliner? My recliner has been awesome for working on my laptop, since I wasn't very comfortable sitting up for a while. Drs in Canada sound a lot like Drs in the US. Waiting is the worst. Good luck. It's a long road to recovery, but if we all made it so can you.
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