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Questions about ALIF

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi. My name is Tara. I'm a new member to this site and have found it helpful already. I will try to make my story as brief as possible.

My back problems started when I was 29 and have only worsened. I am now almost 34. I was a nurse and my job required a lot of physical lifting and labor. What I thought was a pulled back muscle turned out to be 3 ruptured discs. T11-12, L4-5, L5-S1. The two lumbars discs continued to get worse over the two years I tried conservative treatments. I had my first two level PLIF in Oct 07. The graft never took and the hardware and screws loosened. I had a revision (basically a whole new two level PLIF) in Sept. 08. Again, the same thing happened so now I am scheduled for a ALIF in Oct. Becoming a fall ritual that I don't care for.

When the surgeon explained the procedure to me it made sense. He thinks the blood supply to the graft from the back is just not sufficient enough for a graft to take and that from the front the blood supply will be significantly greater, therefore increasing my chance of a successful fusion. I worry still about the chances of success. With two levels involved and two failures under my belt...I feel like the odds are stacked against me. I also feel that I have no other choice. I can't stay like this. It has consumed my life. I've lost a great deal already..a serious relationship, my nursing career, and every aspect of life as I had known it. I think what scares me the most is that it won't work and that there will be no more chances or tools in the toolbox for me. I'm hoping someone on here has a similar story to mine who ended up with some success.

I enjoy this site and wish everyone on here speedy success with their story. NOBODY can truely understand how devastating spinal disease can be until they experience it themselves. I guess that's the boat we got into. Now, we have to help each other get our boat to the other side. Take care.



  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you stopped by. i think you are absolutely right about noone understanding spine problems until it happens to them. such a difficult situation!! ~X( i can tell you are worried and stressed about your upcoming procedure. do your homework, get plenty of answers to your questions and then feel ready to go.. :D be sure and read the "Back and Neck" surgery forum for more input. good luck! Jenny :)
  • Thanks Jenny:) Will do.

  • Hi Tara,

    You're certainly right about no-one understanding spinal problems unless they've had the misfortune to incur one themselves!

    Although I don't have a similar story to yours, a neighbour of mine was a senior nurse here in the UK and her nursing career was also seriously affected by back problems, due to lifting etc.... I never fully appreciated how much the nursing profession is injurious to the back.

    I'm sure you'll find someone on this site will have been through your procedure and will be able to give you some solid advice.

    In the meantime, there are a lot of peer-reviewed articles that are extremely informative.

    Good luck, Val

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