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Planned surgery looking for REAL answers.....

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,622
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am scheduled for a lam with fusion on my L4-L5. I have daily pain and know I need the surgery to function. However, I have been told many different things about the surgery and have questions. Please excuse the formality, just really looking for answers. txs

1. How long is the recovery process?
2. When were u able to drive?
3. When were u able to perform normal household fuctions such as laundry, cleaning etc?
4. Are you able to lift any weight after surgery or are you restricted? if so, for how long?
5. What are the lifetime changes the surgery will happen?
6. After the surgery, how long until you return to normal activity such as attending college, work etc?
7. Can the fusion "be broken" if not healed correctly or have not followed the instructions such as if you lifted too much without realizing?

THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE. I was just notified yesterday that I need this surgery and my back has gotten worse. I keep searching for answers but one site contradicts the other. THANK YOU!!!
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Comments

  • I had above mentioned fusion 8 yrs ago it was a 360 fusion with donor bone and instrumentation. It is hard to say what your recovery time is... My surgery was a complete success and yet I still feel like I recover a little more each year. I went back to work as a copier tech in 4 weeks, but that was probably too soon, but I was without income. I was released to drive at the 2 week mark. Household duties will depend on what it is... laundry was ok for me fairly quickly, but pushing a vacumn cleaner was excrutiating. I was restricted from picking up more than 10 lbs for about 6 months. The lifetime changes are that you will always have to realize that you have a "bad back". When friends ask you to help them move and such, you will have to learn to say no. Like I said above I returned to work in 4 weeks but coulda used a few more. Any bone structure can be broken, but the fusion is supported by the instrumentation. Hope this helps....just my experience.
  • with discetomey 7 months ago. I am still recovering. I was unable to drive for 3 months. I am still unable to lift anything over a gal of milk. I can do light housework at 6 months but no bend twist or lift. No vacuum or mopping at all still. I see my ortho on weds and might be able to do aqua therapy then. But I have had alot of set backs, not just back. So everyone is different. But expect a minimum of 6 months to a year. As far as working, and all the other restrictions, you must ask your Dr. Every Dr has different restrictions and therapy. It also depends on what you had done for surgery. My girlfriend only had one level done and she was off all her pain meds in four months and she had been on morphine for 5 years. She has no restrictions as 6 months, so like I say, depends on the person and Dr. Good Luck. What type of fusion are you having?
  • You will see from the representative answers to your questions that it is a different story for each person. There are so many variables.

    I was on all the meds that were prescribed to me for the first 8 weeks. Then I stopped the strongest one and took a less potent one for two more weeks. I did not drive for the first two months...and I barely left the house during that time except for doctors' appointments, and to walk. Of course it was Jan. in the north with ice and snow on the ground, so that tempered my enthusiasm somewhat!

    After the first week, I could fix my own meals and take care of myself, but my husband cooked our meal at night for quite awhile and did the dishes and loaded the dishwasher.

    Simple things like getting things out of the dryer and loading the dishwasher are difficult because they are hard to do without bending. Actually, most housework is difficult. Pushing a vacuum is just about the worst thing you can do -- any activity that involves bending, twisting or reaching should be avoided for at least the first 3-6 months or until you have at least started to fuse. Most people are restricted to lifting nothing heavier than a gallon of milk.

    Basically most restrictions are in place until you are fused...or at least well on the way. The danger in ignoring these rules is that you do something that causes inflammation, which holds up the fusing process. You will have instrumentation to hold you together while you fuse, but it is only designed to take the full brunt of movement for four to six months. If you have DDD or some other conditions, you run the risk of rupturing a disk. There are a number of things you can do to disturb the fusion.

    On the other hand, if done properly, the fusion is strong and will usually withstand a bad fall, or some car crashes, even before the bones have knitted together....You always need to be mindful of your situation, but you don't need to walk on eggshells.

    Even if someone held a gun to my head, there is NO way I could have gone back to work at 4 weeks. No way...regardless of what the job was. For me, it would have been more like about 16-18 weeks....but, it depends what you do.

    If you read through many of the older threads, you will see a variety of experiences people have had with fusion. Or maybe it is better to just learn about what you need to do to prepare yourself for surgery and ignore anyone else's story. Your experience will be unique.

    Did you see the "sticky" at the top of the Back and Neck Surgery page entitled "Post-op must haves?" It will give you some ideas as to what you may want to have organized for your return home and for your recovery period.

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