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multi level fusion surgery

fusscaboobffusscaboob Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hello all. i'm new to this forum but i think its a good place to talk to people who have gone through the same stuff i did.

on july 18, 2009 i got into a motorcycle accident and on top of all the other injuries i sustained, i fractured t 11 and 12. i'm guessing they were pretty bad fractures cause the dr. told me my back was unstable and i was unable to stand after the accident.

the neursurgeon ended up doing a posterolateral fusion from T8 to L3. i had the surgery done late on july 19, 2009. started around 9 pm and it was around 3 am when i was brought back into my room.

its been just over a month since the surgery and he got me wearing a TLSO brace for 3 months. the day i got the brace was the best day of my life. i was able to be mobile without help from anyone. baby steps if you can call them steps but i was able to get around on my own.

today i feel good. my walking is pretty much normal pace. i try to minimize bending as much as possible. but i do bend slightly. but i'm able to do everything on my own to live on my own. i can shower, goto the bathroom, get in and out of bed, etc.
the hardest thing is that i broke my left finger, hand and wrist, shoulder, and collar bone in the accident so i'm in a cast and cannot use my left arm. made life very very hard first few days after surgery.

basically what i want to know is if i'm on par with the avg. healing process or am i lagging or ahead?

this was a crazy experience for me and feel bad for anyone who has to go through it.



  • That scares me to death - to think of what that accident must have been like for you.

    From what I can tell - you seem to be doing fantastic!

    Just make sure you do EVERYTHING the doc tells you. Don't bend, twist, lift. Take it easy easy easy. Back surgery recovery is a LONG long LONGLONG process. In case I didn't quite make it clear, it's a very long process - plan on years.

    Spend the time now taking care of yourself and you will thank yourself in the years to come. I'm no expert on Thoracic, but you've had a lot of your spine fused.

    You probably won't ever be the same as you once were, but with care look where you are at - your walking and doing and healing!
  • Most of us on the board haven't been through all you have. I think you are doing amazingly well!!

    Even a one level fusion under the best of cases is a long, slow recovery. My advice to you would be to follow your surgeon's instructions for recovery exactly! And, do not try to rush things, even if you think you are feeling pretty good. People do more damage by pushing too far too soon than probably anything else.

    Also it is important to walk several times each day. Distance is not as important as doing it several times. This gets the fresh blood flowing into the surgical area and helps to stretch out the spinal nerves.

    You will need to be mentally prepared to count on about a year for your fusion to be fairly solid. During that time you are still recovering, so you will need to always be mindful of your spine, use good body mechanics and good posture and avoid all those activities that are harmful to your healing -- bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, reaching up and to the side and lifting more than what your surgeon recommends.

    It sounds like a lot of work, but it sounds like you are lucky to still be alive.

    Please post often with any questions or concerns you may have as you go through the healing process.


  • my first appointment to see the neurosurgeon is on Sept. 9/09. i've been doing a lot of research about the spine and parts of the vertebrae etc. i'm curious to know exactly how i damaged the vertebrae.
    i think i need to not get over excited about how well i feel and try something stupid cause i fee like i can do it.
    i just wanted to add. i stopped taking the pain meds about 1 week ago. i no longer have pain. what i do have is more tightness feeling in my back. i notice this the most when i wake up in the morning, this is when i can feel it the most.
    i do alot of walking now. the reason i didn't walk as much before is cause my right leg had a hemotoma on my quad and i had some nice deep cuts and bruising from my hip to my ankle.
    i'm curious to know is there any type of exercise very easy exercises that you can do just to restore some strength in your back muscles?
    thanks for all your responses
  • You are doing fabulous for being a month out!! I wouldn't do anything but walk, let the Neurosurgeon guide you to a physical therapist to direct you on the appropriate exercises.
  • thanks optimist. ya i figure i shouldn't get ahead of myself cause if i do hurt myself it would really set me back quite far.
    so basically i need to just relax and let my body heal itself.
    does anyone know if prolonged walking can be bad for you? like say walking 5 miles at once? or would that be even more beneficial than short distances?
    at home i'm always walking from the kitchen up and down stairs all the time. but its very short walks like 20 seconds at a time.
  • You are doing really well. I had a three-level fusion in November 2008 and I'm probably not doing as well as you are. Thoracic fractures and fusions are a lot harder on the body, from what I've heard, so if you're up and moving without pain only about a month after the accident and surgery, you're doing fantastically.

    Do take things slowly. I find that if I get over-excited about feeling good and push myself to do some things, I can really end up in a world of hurt for several days. Of course, I think I'm probably a lot older than you are, so I don't heal as fast.

    Take care of yourself and congratulations on getting as far as you have this quickly.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • thanks alot for the positive response. its always nice to hear good things. keeps you positive and worry free. i feel your mind has alot to do with the healing process. personally i think feeling a LITTLE BIT of pain is good. notice little bit in caps! it makes me feel as if things are healing...you know the old saying "no pain, no gain". i'm not talking about the excruciating pain for 2-3 weeks post operation i'm talking about what i felt about 3 weeks after.
    it was mild pain but i could tolerate it without pain meds. i'm not a huge fan of taking drugs unless necessary.
    i'm thinking maybe the reason i'm healing fairly well and quickly is because i never really had back problems in the past until the accident. i'm hoping i didn't do any sort of permanent damage to my spine, and that everything heals properly and i feel as close to 100% as possible.
    once i get this damn cast off my arm i think things will become even easier.
    Thanks Again.
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