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Need info, ALIF surgery in 10 days

mamainpainmmamainpain Posts: 127
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
:SS I am 39years old, but my back tells me I must be 90 at least!! 8} I have DDD, a herniated disk, spurs and spodylisis (not sure of spelling) also very small stress fracture at my L5-S1 level. I had a micro discectomy at ucdavis 6 months ago which relieved my sciatic pn, but did nothing for my back. I am now scheduled for the ALIF surgery and I have a few questions.
8} 1. I came away from my first surgery with extream coccyx pn, supposed to be from nerve stress from the surgery as my coccyx ct scan was normal. Does anyone know if the Alif surgery might help relieve this? My doctor said it might.
2. Can someone please tell me what to expect during the 5 hospital days and maybe the 1st week home?
3. We have a tentative plan to go to hawaii 9wks post op, my doctor said i should be ok, what do you experienced patients think?

Thanks so much in advance!!
mama in soooooooo much pain!!!


  • I am 7 weeks out from ALIF at L5/S1. When I got home I was a little tender at the incision, but I had no more pain in my back and legs. If I had a trip planned, at this point I could go. But, I'd be certain to get up and stretch my legs every 30 minutes. I'm sure that other people will chime in, too. Please keep us posted, and welcome to SH.

  • I had a 2 level 360 ALIF (L4-S1). Traveling on a plane to Hawaii after surgery may be tough. When I was at 5 weeks out, I could make it maybe an hour sitting in a seat and that was it. Call your airline before hand and explain your situation. They may be willing to upgrade you to a better, more comfortable seat due to your medical status. At a minimum, you will want an ilse seat so you can get up and move around during the flight.

    Are you strictly getting an ALIF or is it a 360 ALIF (anterior/posterior)? I don't want to possibly influence your opinion if your not having the same work done that I had.

    The hospital stay can go both ways. Keep in mind that YOU are your best advocate and you need to let the staff know when you need something including pain medicine. The first few times getting out of bed is pretty uncomfortable, but you will get used to it. Plan on constipation. Just about everyone having an ALIF has it. Do yourself a favor and eat a vegetarian type diet with plenty of fiber a few days before surgery and after. You will understand afterwards!

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Your in hospital experience depends very much on the nursing staff - I had one poor nurse out of about 6 - but that one made be stand up on my own to get to the bathroom the first night of my surgery - as you can tell that was pretty memorable. With an ALIF you will have a lot of incisional pain in the abdomen - mine lasted about ten days. The back pain varies person to person. Definitely plan on spending most of your time horizontal the first week - I would talk short walks and lie down - could hardly stand to sit.
    I am over a year out, and still have problems sitting for more than 30 minutes - so I have to say I am pessimistic about a trip to Hawaii. Although the scenery/fresh air would definitely be a good thing for healing - that flight certainly will not be. Good luck.
  • If you plan on going to Hawaii spend a littl eextra and get as much room as possible. I can guarantee you that you will be up every 30 minutes or so to relieve pressure and keep from hurting too much. Just remember, no bending past 40 degrees, no twisting, no lifting over 5 or 10 pounds still at 9 weeks. I personally would wait an extra month and have less limitations so you can have more fun!

    Good luck...
  • So sorry you have to go through this pain! My surgery is nothing like you're going to go through, so I have no idea what to expect painwise, though one thing I would recommend is to read the post in this forum "Post Op Must Haves". There is a lot of great advice in there on preparing yourself for your hospital stay and your return home.

    I had read a list similar to this last year when preparing for my hysterectomy, and there was SO much in there I wouldn't have thought of!

    Good luck with your surgery, and I hope that you'll be feeling well enough to go to Hawaii!
  • Thank you everyone for your help!! Knowing what to expect is helping me alot. Does anyone have any experience with coccyx pain before this kind of surgery, do you know if this surgery might help this? :/
  • Yes. And, although I am having a great recovery from ALIF at L5/S1, it did not relieve the coccyx pain. Maybe you will have better luck.

  • I am sorry you still have coccyx pain, isn't it just awfull!!! It hurts when I sit and as I move to get up the pain becomes unbearable! Added to my back pn it just sucks, I hope this alif surgery helps. Good luck to you. :)))
  • There are some physical therapist that diagnose and treat coccyx pain - I saw a PT and he checked me for it (rather personal - he waited until 3rd visit).
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