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Is it normal to be so swollen after an ALIF

hope4leohhope4leo Posts: 200
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just had a 360 fusion and my tummy has been swollen for 5 days. Is this normal and if so how long can I expect it to be like this. I look like I am 8 months pregnant. I do ice both sides. But EVERYTHING seems that way.



  • Hi. I can very much empathize with what you are going through. I have had two PLIF surgeries that have both failed and now they are going to do an ALIF in Oct. I had A LOT of swelling in my back after both of those surgeries.

    I have also throughout my life had to have many pelvic surgeries. Each time I experienced the same thing you are experiencing. Looking totally pregnant but not being pregnant is no fun. It's very uncomfortable too, especially on a healing incision. For myself I've determined that my body does this as a reaction to the stress of surgery. Even if I am just having more pain on a certain day will make me swell. You may have the same issue.

    During an open abdominal surgery, a lot of air can get into the cavity and become trapped. Also, with surgery and pain medications comes the dreaded constipation issues which produces more gas to become trapped in the bowel and therefore distend your stomach.

    With that said however, I would definatly mention this to your physician. There are medical issues that can be causing this problem that would require medical intervention so those things should be ruled out. Best of luck to you. Keep us posted about it.

  • I had a lot of swelling in the tummy, I looked 8 months pregnant too, my doctor said that it was normal. It took a couple of weeks to go down. I wouldn't be too concerned, but to be on the safe side make sure your doctor is aware of it.
  • Once you get your staples/sutures out, it should go down a bit. Keep in mind that if you have constipation and cramping (not uncommon with ALIF) your bloated feeling may last a while.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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