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Surprised after surgery

Jan MartinJJan Martin Posts: 164
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,
I am home from the hospital and trying to figure things out.
I thought I would have a 4" incision from TLIF at L4-5. When I saw the surgeon just before the procedure he reassurred me that he would take care of the problems he could see on the "horrendous" MRI. To my suprise, I have an 8" incision going up into mid-back. I have since found out that the surgeon told my husband after surgery that he did a PLIF with rods/screws on L4-5 and discectomies/lammies on L3-4 and L2-3 hence the longer higher incision. I will have to cut my husband some slack about not filling me in as he is not as informed about this subject as I am, mainly because I have utilised this site to make sure I understand as much as I can. I was informed in recovery that I had to lie flat for 48 hours due to a leak in the dural lining. My stay at the hospital was as good as can be expected. The radicular pain down the right leg is gone but I now have pain runnng down the back of my left leg and numbness from the left groin and the whole front of left thigh, almost to the knee. Doc says hopefully it's just residual issues from all the manipulation during surgery and will subside. Got some stomach cramping, trying to keep moving and drinking water to keep my bowels active.
This forum has been invaluable to me. I feel like I was as prepared mentally and physically as one can be. Thank you.


  • sounds like you are doing great. I had TLIF on 7-27 and am still waiting on my first natural BM. The damn has to break loose soon.

    I agree this forum has been a life-saver for me. Lots of good info.
  • I've been on the recieving end of some post-op surprises - it's rather jolting and hard to get in your head what actually ended up happening vs. what you went in expecting.

    I presonally prefer docs that take care of everything the first time. Hopefully he was able to get it all done for you. I've got an 8"'r too, Woot Woot, not. But what do you do?

    Best of luck on the dural leak, the numbness and the pain. A lot can be attributed to having been cut open and your body reacting to it. I would watch for an INCREASE in numbness - spreading numbness, that's what happened with me the first day out.
  • "am still waiting on my first natural BM."
    Indeed, the first major post-operartive milestone. I recall thinking I should Twitter "day4-I crapped!"

  • Expected a small 4" scar. Instead, I got two (one on each side of the spine) that are about 6" long. Four days later, I got one on my abdomen - from the top of my pubic bone to the bottom of my left ribcage. The back ones are healing well. The one on my abdomen is a keloided, puckered mess and is very painful. My back IS better than it was, but my body looks like hell.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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