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1 year post PLIF L3-S1.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,
It has been a while since I have been here but wanted to pop back to share my 1 yr results.

For anyone awaiting surgery, this is my experience only and unfortunately I do have other medical conditions that have made my recovery slower and possibly more painful.I also had a severe scoliosis that the surgoen needed to straighten as well. So plesae read to the end. LOL

Generally I am feeling better then before the surgery, I no longer have bad pain down my legs and near complete numbness in my lower legs and feet.I can get around a lot more and do more stuff wheich is great. I CAN GO SHOPPING!

I do though, still have some pins and needles in my legs and some light numbness in my feet and lower legs but this is not nearly as bad as before the surgery and it is more annoying then limiting.
i do have more back pain then I had before. I take more painkillers then before surgery. A lot of this pain is burning pain which hopefuly will fade in time and some of it is sharp pain as in if I bend or squat.
I also need to rest each afternoon for a while and that makes the rest of the day much easier.

I had a CT before my meeting with the surgeon and he said that L3-4 there is some bridging of the fusion but it is not complete, L4-5 there is bone growth but it is not joining the vertebrae, L5-S1 again there is some bridging and this seems to be the most complete.

I was hoping for full fusion by 1 yr but the surgeon says that this is probably as good as it is going to get. A bit dissapointing but at the same time he said it is stable and the vertebrae wont move. I also have the rods, screws and spacers in to keep it all together as an added bonus.

yes, it has been a long haul. The first few months were not easy at all but now I am able to move so much better, I dont have morning stiffness like I had, i can go out and do things. I am currently looking for work and studying at college as well. Oh and I go to the gym 4 times a week.

All this is much more then I could have even thought of doing before the surgery, so 'would i do it over if i knew this was the result?" YES!



  • Isn't it a liberating feeling when you can finally go shopping? I am so glad to hear you are doing better!

    Bending and squatting are still hard for me, too - they seem to make my back and my left hip achy with the occasional sharp pain. It almost feels like something is pulling in my lower back. My PT said there may be some scar tissue/adhesions causing that sensation.

    It is disappointing to hear that your fusion is not complete but the fact that everything is stable is good news. That's what all that metal is for!

    I hope you continue to feel good!
  • Thanks Meg,
    Yes I suspect that some of the problems I am having are from scar tissue as well rather than the actual nerves.

    I forgot to add that one really big thing is I no longer use a cane. I had needed one for several years and it is such a sense of freedom to go walking without one!

    Glad to hear you are coming along nicely.

  • Hi Sara,

    I'm glad that you are overall doing better now.

    I'm sorry that you still have some pain. I guess sometimes we end up having to make some tradeoffs instead of getting complete relief. At least you are able to get around without the cane now!

    -- Mark
  • Hi Mark,

    Yes you are right about the trade offs and I would rather have pain that I can take something for, then the numbness I had pre surgery.

    I do feel as if I have gained at least some of my life back.

  • Hi Sara,
    It was great to read your story. I had exactly the same thing done one week ago. I too am already in less pain and am walking two to three miles a day. Obviously I have a long way to go (getting out of a chair is still tough) but I feel better every day.
    I am glad you got rid of your cane too! I have used one for several years and today I walked without it and felt great. Maybe in time the tingling will go away as the nerves heal more and the back continues to fuse.
    Good luck and again, Thanks.
  • Hey Gary,
    You are doing great. I was in hospital and rehab for nearly 4 weeks! So was not doing anything near what you already are.

    When you get out of a chair first slide your bottom towards the edge and it is easier. LOL makes a great picture. I also preferred a solid seat to a soft one as it gave more support, but you will work out what is best for you in time.
    All the best
  • So glad to hear you are making progress - just being able to walk without a cane is a huge step! I'm sorry to hear you are taking more meds now than before, but at least you are getting some relief. I still have a bit of numbness from my original herniation 2+ years ago, it IS annoying but you learn to live with it, right? :)))

    Hope it continues to improve for you.
  • It is so good to hear you are doing better. I know it has been a very long haul for you! Keep it up, girl!
  • Sara - Keep doing everything right and hopefully there will be more improvement to come. Thanks for sharing your progress. Terri
  • Melissa, you are right, it is annoying but not life changing and I can live with it far better then the complete numbness I had.

    Joy! thanks it has been a long haul but worth it, and how are you doing?

    Terri, thanks also and I agree, even though the Dr seem to think this was as good as it gets I have 'asked' the bones to keep growing till fully fused LOL I pray they listen.
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