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Having ALIF on Mon July 13

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Any words of wisdom before the big day? I am really nervous, but ready for some relief.
How bad is the pain the first few days/weeks? Is it mostly incision pain? or back/leg/incidion pain?
Do you wear the brace at night? I am nervous about getting out of bed and twisting or trying to roll over at night? I am sure it's not too comfy though.
Any help is appreciated!


  • Do you have your satin sheets (or bottom sheet), raised toilet seat and grabber? If not, you might want to think about getting them before the big day. Also, arrange your cupboards so that everything you use often and might want is right at waist height. You must not reach or bend after surgery.

    Different doctors have varying opinions about bracing. Generally if you are not up on your feet, you do not have to wear it. My surgeon does not use a brace at all...but my other surgeon does and they each have valid reasons for their opinions.

    Pain ~~ Well, I guess it depends. I barely remember being in the hospital...I was on that many drugs. I didn't feel much of anything and mostly slept, except when they got me up to walk. I continued taking the meds I was sent home with on schedule, even setting an alarm to take the night dosage. I had been warned not to let the pain get ahead of the meds so I followed this rule religiously.

    I took exactly two of the muscle relaxer I was sent home with. I felt like what I'd read about taking LSD so dropped that right away. I was comfortable on the meds I was sent home with.

    My biggest problem at the beginning was weakness and being really tired...but, I think that depends on how long you have been laid up prior to having surgery.

    Figure out what it is you like to do that is relaxing and try to do it often prior to surgery. I thought I'd be really nervous, but by the time the day rolled around, I was ready and was eager to get it over. I surprised myself at how calm I was...and the surgery wasn't nearly as bad as I had been anticipating. (Of course, after reading various boards for three years, I had heard every bad experience imaginable and thought it would all happen to me, so my expectations were rock bottom!!)

    Feel free to post with any and all questions. Many of us have already walked in your shoes and are a couple steps ahead of you.

    Hang in there. You will soon be on the road to recovery!

    xx Gwennie

    Almost forgot -- did you read through the first "sticky" at the top of the Back and Neck surgery page entitled "Post-op must haves." It is an ultra complete list. Many of the items you will not want or need, but reading through it does get your mind on track thinking about what is important for you to have.
  • don't forget multiple bars of soap in the bathroom, or soap-on-a-rope! This is the one thing I didn't have for about a week.... it took me that long to figure out, if I wanted to get clean, instead of watching the soap get washed down the drain, I should probably put another bar in there! I still wish I'd had soap on a rope though :p

    Do everything you want to that you are fairly sure you will be unable to do for a while afterwards!

    Happy thoughts!!

  • Since this is an anterior procedure, the surgeon will have to bypass your intestine as well as the great vessel that extends down the front of your spine. I assume a vascular surgeon will do the retracting of the great vessel so the spine surgeon has access to the spine. There is a slight risk of damage to the vessel, which would be a serious complication if the vessel were severed, but it's a problem for which they are prepared and that they can handle on the spot.
    After your surgery you may not be allowed to eat or drink for a day or two as the intestine recovers from the trauma. You may be nourished intravenously. In my case, I was not prepared for this and was absolutely starved by day 2. I was allowed to eat only small portions of crushed ice.
    The pain was severe for the first day but subsided rather quickly thereafter.
    Do you know if they plan a separate operation for posterior instrumentation?
    Good luck on everything!

  • The pain after my surgery was controlled by meds. They will teach you how to do the log roll at the hospital to learn how to turn and get up after surgery. Good Luck and will be thinking of you.
  • this will be my 4th operation in 3 yrs. have had 2 laminectomy/discectomys, posterior lumber fusion and all the shots ,therapy and stuff that goes with it.. im getting ready to have a anterior/posterior revision surgery L-4 - S1 ....if any one has had this done.. how bad is it? i know how bad the first fusion was
  • Thx for the replies. I have read through the must have list and have gotten everything I think I will need. The soap is a good idea! (Although I am prepared with premoistened wash clothes in the likes that I may or may not feel up to getting in the shower!)
    They are only entering through the front (as far as I was told) and the vascularsurgeon is doing the opeining and closing.
    I am trying to things I really enjoy this week as I know I will be down for quite a while. (without overdoing it!)
  • It seems like almost everyone has to have multiple surgeries. That scares me more then the one surgery I think!
  • I had a TLIF over a year ago so I don't have any experience with ALIF. I just want to wish you the best and that your surgery and outcome is successful. My surgery is tomorrow for a morphine pump implantation and I'm pretty sure I'll have trouble sleeping too. Take care >:D<
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