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disc replacement & lumbar fusion

alyn93aalyn93 Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello! I am new to the site and hoping to find some knowledge and advice! I just found out that I am going to be having a disc replacement on L4-L5 and fusion on L5-S1. I am wondering if anyone here has had this double procedure done and if you can give me some insight as to what I might expect. Of course I am nervous about the "unknown" and just want to be prepared. I am hoping to hear from folks who have experienced this and can give me their personal accounts of their surgery & post op experiences and recovery. Thanks so much for your time and help!


  • in Dec of last year. I am still recovering. I dont know what you want to know. My surgery was supposed to be 4-5 hours and it was almost 8. I was in hospital fro Thurs to Tues. I didnt have a brace. I had three torn disc for 2 1/2 years. 2 had annular tears and the third one isnt completely torn. That is why I only had two levels. My Dr said he would rather go in again than risk failure. The more you do at one time, the more risk. I had alot of pain pre op and so I had alot post op but they were able to pump enough into me to make it bearable. What is your status?
  • am scheduled for a hybrid but I am supposed to have L4/5 fused and L3/4 adr. I have found a few people that have had this with mixed results so I keep looking. My ns is upposed to provide contact information for patients he has performed this on so I can talk to them.

    Iowarobin, you say that you had 2 level fusion and 2 level adr but I only see the 2 level PLIF on your bio. Was the adr one before?
  • at same time as fusion, they put in cadavar bone.
  • Thank you for your reply. I guess I am mentally trying to prepare myself for what the recovery might be like. I see the surgeon to discuss everything in a couple of weeks and I am sure he will answer all of my questions, just trying to get an idea of what I am in for from some who have been there. As far as pain and mobility and how soon you were able to be up and moving and how soon were you pain free and were you able to return to work and how soon after the surgery? I have 2 herniated discs at L4-L5 & L5-S1 with a tear in one of the discs. I was injured about 2 years ago in an auto accident. I have done all conservative treatment available. I have pain daily and pray that this surgery will help me move on with my life!
  • Thanks for your reply. Best of luck to you with your surgery.
  • :H Welcome to the forum my dear. I had one disk removed and a one level fusion with BMP, and a Lammie!! #:S I am almost two years post op and I feel great. I too had many questions for the doctor which I had written down. He didn't really want to answer so many but I insisted. There is a page in this website which will tell you what questions to ask and what you should have at home, etc for after the surgery. That's where I found mine. I think everyone in the forum is/was afraid of surgery and recovery because it is a very scary thing but the members here are so sweet and understanding that it made me feel better about the unknown! If you want to PM me you may and I will be glad to answer all your questions. I am a 63 year old lady who is retired. Have a really great day my dear.

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • I really dont know if I can help you much as I am only 4 months out. As far as surgery, they get you up and moving like the same or next day. Not much, at first, a few steps. The first time up is the worst and it gets better. Your pain level will depend on what you are taking now for meds and what your doctor does. Mine was great, although it took the maximum to make me comfortable. I have been on fentayl patches and oxycodone for pain. They really will try to keep you comfortable. Make sure to keep on the nurses if you arent. They need to know. Everybodys recoop is different. I went home after6 days. But I had a 4 hour ride, so I think they wanted me to be good as can be.
    I am not back at work, and have not had physical therapy yet. My Dr start with aqua therapy first. Maybe when I see him April 22. I have not been the fastest healer, in fact I have had some setbacks latesly. Had MRI and have bulge above my fusion. So I am not the one to ask about healing. I hope your Dr can give better answers as I dont want to tell you wrong. Only what I have been through. I would do it again in a heart beat, even with my problems cause my life was not very good the way I was. I dont want to live the rest of my life on pain meds. So I hope i havnt scared you. I know alot of people get along well. And I am still thinking I will. I have had 7 surgeries in the last 2 years, not just on back, so I know my body has stress just from that. Good Luck and PM me any time you want .
  • Thank you so much Iowarobin & Evelyn for your responses! I think for me it just helps knowing that there are folks out there who have been through it and have come through it okay. I have only had one other surgery and it was supposed to be 23 hr in & out and I ended up in intensive care and that time I was so young and nieve that I didn't think to find people who had been there and hear their stories. So this time I would like to be more prepared! Thank you Evelyn for your advice on what I can find on this site. It sounds very useful. I am new to all of this so I appreciate any help! Iowarobin-I hope that things get better for you it certainly sounds like you have really been through a lot. Evelyn-thank you for understanding my fears! :) May God bless you both! I hope that you don't mind that I added you both to my buddy list for future reference!
    God Bless!

    BTW- I am 33 yo and have done PT (twice), pain management with Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Darvocet, Naproxen, steriods (oral & inj), Aquatheraoy, Facet inj, Chiro, Discogram(ouch!!!!!), massage theraoy,tens unit
  • When is surgery? Keep me posted when you go to Dr and what they tell you. Added you to buddy and pm me any time you want. I am there for ya girl!
  • Don't have a surgery date yet but I will keep you posted! Seeing the surgeon on Monday and cannot wait with this leg pain...ughhhhh! Thanks for the support! :)
  • Well my surgery is next week! I am anxious but excited to hopefully move on with my life, It has been almost 3 years of pain and I just want to get back to some sort of normalcy again. I am having a fusion on the L5-S1 and a disc replacement on the L4-L5. I am going to the best in my area so I feel in good hands. Thank you so mush Iowa Robin and all of you for your help and thoughts. I will keep you all posted!!!
  • Hello,

    I to have had disc replacement and disc fusion at L4-L5 and L5-S1 on May 11. Great mother's day present! The surgery went well, 5 hours and spent 3 days in the hospital. Make sure you control your pain and ask for your meds because they wont give them to you unless you ask. You will be getting up the day after your surgery. I was scared but once up I was walking all around.

    I too had a great surgeon and a great support group from family and friends. I don't know what disc replacement you had but mine is the Pro-disc. I did not have to have a cadavar bone or bone removed from my hip. My fusion was all instramentation, titanium cage I think. Just wanted to let you know that Im doing great. Don't be afraid and look at the big picture, how great your going to feel after the surgery. You will have pain but it will be different from what your experiencing now. I know that a lot of people have mixed experiences on this website, but try to stay possitive throughout your recovery. You will have good days and bad days but just plow through will a smile on your face. Believe me it helps.Your mind is a powerful thing and your attitude plays a big part in your recovery. Before you know it, you be at home like me and walking all around the house. Good Luck and keep us posted.
  • hi there im english and having the same as you done in about 10 weeks time. so your not alone. my doctor likes to tell me every time i go and see him for tablets. how its a big op and to be prepered for a long hall back to full heath. im just going at it with a postive attitude.so good look and think pos.

  • I am new to this. I see alot of you are having the same problem I am. I either have to have disc replacement at L4/5, L5/S1, or replacement at L4/5 and fusion at L5/S1. I have degenrative disc, I've been in alot of pain for almost a year. I am a cosmetologist, and I have had to cut my hours down to 3 hours a day 3 days a week. I'm just hoping that I can get some input from whoever has had this done. I'm to the point where I feel useless, I'm not making the money that I was, I feel like I can't hardley do anything around the house. I watch my husband do thing around the house, than I feel bad so I try to do things then I pay for it with pain.

    Thanks for anyones input,
  • I know exactly how you feel. I was in pain for 2 1/2 years before they found what was wrong and did surgery. Do you know when your surgery is? What is wrong? I will be happy to help you in any way I can.
  • I think you will find a lot of comfort and support here,as I have in just a few days. It is so funny how we can feel so alone and then find so many people facing the same issues. I have had pain for 3 years and have finally decided to have surgery on my L5 S1 within the next 6 or 8 months, I hope. I am looking at either ADR or fusion, and have DDD also.
    As far as feeling useless and guilty, I can totally relate. My husband is really good about telling me to take care of myself and not over do it, but I feel guilty and always do more than I should and then end up paying for whatever I do for days afterward. I get so angry because I just want to be normal and be able to do yardwork, housework, grocery shopping ...it drives me crazy to have to ask for their help in getting things done. It is so hard to lay on my heating pad and watch my family make dinner & do dishes and fold laundry for me. Very frustrating! Just wanted to let you know that I hear you so loud & clear on that one.
    I think you will find lots of support and answers on here. Good luck with your upcoming surgery. >:D<
  • Hi,

    I noticed your post is from February, did you ever have that surgery. I am scheduled to have that surgery in Aug 09. L4-L5 will have a disc replacement and L5-S1 will be fused. I am also nervous because this is a fairly new surgery in the USA, but has been being done in Europe. Could you please share your knowledge and results with me since you have been looking into it for much longer. Thank you so very much.

    Take care, Lynn
  • Hi, I forgot to add that I have had pain every single day for 5 years now. I have never stopped trying to find a conventional or holistic treatment for my back pain. Nothing has worked and I am $30K in the hole for it. I am so frusterated that I beg that this hybrid surgery will work for me. I really want a somewhat normal life back. It appears there are a few people here that have hybrid surgery. My surgeon said that the surgery has to be done at two different times. The fusion first at L5-S1 through the back, then the disc replacement about two months later L4-L5 - this will be through the front with "Pro-Disc". I am so happy I found this site. Please feel free to comment on my post. Are there any updates from the folks who just had surgery? I wish you all well and good healing!!
  • Hello all! Sorry it took me so long to get back with an update!!! I am just over a month out from my hybrid surgery and I am so glad that I chose this option and this surgeon! The pain was gone immediately when I awoke in recovery. I spent days maybe even a couple of weeks just waiting for it to return. It was like my body had so gotten used to it that I just knew I would wake up with it one morning. Thank goodness, it has not returned! My husband says he has not seen me smile this much and look so relieved in a very long time!
    The surgery took 2-3 hours and was done in one procedure through my belly. I have an incision about 1 foot long. I was awake and aware and pain free as soon as they woke me up in the recovery room. I ate a liquid dinner and still felt hungry so they gave me whatever I wanted for dinner! I chose an egg salad sandwich and chocolate ice cream! :D I slept very well that night. The phyiscal therapist was there to get me up the next morning. I walked down one hall and back holding her arm. The only pain I had was slight pain in my incision. I was in the hospital Thurs, Friday and went home Saturday afternoon. The first week of recovery was pretty much spent in bed although I did walk each day with a walker. The first day I over did it and my body was very sore. I had to slow down and realize that this wasn't going to happen overnight! No lifting, no bending, no driving etc so my Mom came and stayed with us the first week to help us out. The second week was also mostly spent lying in bed but I did find myself venturing out to the living room to my recliner more. I made a huge mistake that weekend by renting a wheelchair and going to my nephew's graduation as he was Salutatorian. A day later I was in extreme pain in my legs and that continued a little more than a week. The dr put me on muscle relaxers on top of the Percocet I came home with and an antibiotic for my incision as it was quite red. I had a severe allergic reaction to one of the meds-unknown yet which but the doc is thinking it was the Percocet and has switched that to Vicoden. My incision is still red and blotchy and quite tender and sore. My leg pain improves each week. If I over do it I certainly can tell. I am only on Vicoden now for the pain taking it every 6 hours which the dr thinks is amazing compared to all the pain meds I have had to use over the last 3 years! For the first time in 3 years I feel hope that I will be able to get my life back and do all of the things I love again someday really soon. I start PT next week for 4 weeks. I continue to wear my brace most of the time I am out of the house. Up until last week I wore it every time I was out of bed. I see the dr in 6 weeks and hope to be able to discuss my return to work! Thanks all for your thoughts & well wishes. I know this entry is long and may have some info in it that is not necessary but my hope is that there is someone out there who like me is scared and about to have this procedure and is not sure what to expect. I hope that I can shed some comfort to you! My surgeon was fantastic and is one of the best in his field and I think that is very important with this procedure. I also was told to go in with a positive attitude and I did and everything turned out great.
    **Lynn- Best wishes to you! I know its hard to wait & wonder. If there is anything I can answer for you please let me know!***

    Hybrid surgery 1 month ago
    meds: Vicoden 1 every 6 hours
  • It sounds ike you are doing great. I have the same urgery but one level higher in 19 days bt I was told the surgery will be 6 to 8 hours. Was your incision really 1 foot long? I was anticipating no more than 8 inches!

    It is great to hear people with similar procedures doing well since there are so many posts with prople who did not fair so well.

    Thank you...
  • My doctor wants to do an L-4 L-5 prodisk disk replacement, has anyone had it? What have been the results and would you recommend it to anyone? What are some of the complications you've had and how long is the recovery? Did it take a long time to get it approved by insurance such as work comp?
  • >:D< Here's a big recovery hug for you. I'm so glad to hear how much better you feel. I keep each and every one of the members in my prayers. I pray you never have pain or anymore surgeries!! Your post can be as long as you want them to be. It's best not to keep things in.

    God bless you all!

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • ALYN93, I just had surgery on the 23rd of July and I just went to my 2 week post op appt to get my stapels out and for x-rays. My Dr. told me that im doing great. Im not wearing my brace anymore and im not taking any pain meds except for over the counter stuff. The recovery for me was great. I was walking the halls 6hrs after my surgery.
    The one thing I can say from reading the posts on this site is that alot of people have alot of problems with pain when they wake up from surgery. My Dr. took me off of all my pain meds and told me to take over the counter drugs. When I woke up from surgery I was given something in my I.V. and then nothing but Vicodin. I really think that people who are on strong pain meds have a hard time getting there pain under control when they wake up. The only thing I can say to you is get off the meds 2 or 3 weeks before your surgery. I know you might be hurting but it will be nothing compared to the pain you will have after you wake up.
    I stayed only one night after surgery and I had a 2 1/2 hr drive home. Im home now and I walk alot and I take alot of very hot baths for the surgery pain that I have. I have NO back pain now. I had a couple of days of pain down my left leg and left butt cheek but the Dr. said it was because all work he did was from my left side. I do use the heating pad alot when im just sitting around.
    Well after reading alot of the posts here I guess im just one of the lucky ones or alot of people who do good dont use sites like this. I feel GREAT and Im on the down hill slope of recovery. I hope your surgery goes well and you have a quick recovery.


    L4-L5 TDR
    L5-S1 ALIF
    June 23rd 09

    no pain meds at this point
  • Hello
    I had a multi level hybrid Charite ADR L3/L4, L4/L5 and ALIF L5/S1 in April 2007 followed by revision fusion L5/S1 with instrumentation and unilateral fusion of Sacroilliac joints April this year. Both big surgeries and still recovering, still lots of meds and still getting a lot of pain.
    I would be very happy to try and answer any questions you might have. Post here or feel free to PM.
    Hope everyone else is on the mend.
    Brian McCarthy London UK
  • Thanks so much for your support before, during, and after my surgery! I am happy to report that I am still doing quite well. I am only taking Darvocet for pain at this time and have NO back pain-hallelujah!!! I have had some other problems such as about 2 weeks of nerve pain in my legs and reaction to medications and now a severe pain in my right thigh. The good news is that my fusion is intact and is doing great, massage therapy will likely do the trick to get rid of the muscular pain that I am having now. Originally hoped to return to work in 6-8 weeks however dr now says at least 10-12 given the small complications that I have had- still not bad as far as I am concerned! Very happy with the outcome after so many years in pain. Its great to wake up everyday and NOT have back pain! I hope that all of you are doing well and having great success. You will continue to be in my prayers!
    Evelyn- Thanks SO much for the support, prayers and hugs! You are a special lady indeed! >:D<
  • Thanks so much for your support before, during, and after my surgery! I am happy to report that I am still doing quite well. I am only taking Darvocet for pain at this time and have NO back pain-hallelujah!!! I have had some other problems such as about 2 weeks of nerve pain in my legs and reaction to medications and now a severe pain in my right thigh. The good news is that my fusion is intact and is doing great, massage therapy will likely do the trick to get rid of the muscular pain that I am having now. Originally hoped to return to work in 6-8 weeks however dr now says at least 10-12 given the small complications that I have had- still not bad as far as I am concerned! Very happy with the outcome after so many years in pain. Its great to wake up everyday and NOT have back pain! I hope that all of you are doing well and having great success. You will continue to be in my prayers!
    Evelyn- Thanks SO much for the support, prayers and hugs! You are a special lady indeed! >:D<
  • :H

    Thank you so much my dear >:D< , here's a big recovery hug for you! God bless!

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • cldc2000ccldc2000 Posts: 2
    edited 12/06/2012 - 8:28 AM
    I'm so thankful for all the positive posts regarding lumbar hybrid surgery. I'm waiting on workers comp to approve a fusion and a prodisc ADR. I've been off work for over a year in pretty constant pain. I try not to take anything except anti-inflammatories because I'm a lite weight and can't handle them. I couldn't imagine waking up without pain. I'm very nervous but trying to stay positive. My surgeon is Dr. xyz in Santa Barbara. Has anyone heard of him or had surgery with him. He is highly recommended by my attorney and my friend that had a very successful ADR surgery. I've tried all the conservative treatment, epidural, facet injection, accupucture, massage, chiropractic, ice, heat, etc. Any information on the surgery and recovery is really appreciated.

    Post edited to remove name of medical professional and or facility. by The Spine-Health Moderator Team
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