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Anyone have an L5-S1 Laminectomy?

z3cruzinzz3cruzin Posts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I feel so sorry for some of you and what you had to do thru. I feel bad posting that I am having Just a Laminectomy; but I have questions. thanks.


  • Hi, I had a laminectomy/discectomy on Aug 12, 2009..on l4/l5. I can try to answer any questions you may have!
    Feel free to send me a message.
  • nice to hear from you. I want to know everything. What the recovery is like, when did you return to work; how long in the hospital. Any details are appreciated. Thank you.
  • I will try to help you the best I can but just keep in mind everyone's pain level and healing time is different.

    When I woke up in recovery I was not in too much pain but I had a nurse at my side giving me Morphine every few mins, I think I stayed in rec. waiting for a room for about 2-3 hours! Finally got to my room and I scooted myself to my bed myself. I didnt have a pain pump, but for while the Morphine had worked but after awhile I had some intense pain, I could barley roll over from side to side ( muscle spasms ) that was the worst trying to roll over as long as I could stay still I was ok. I didnt get up the first day at all , I didn't have a cathater , I had to urinate so bad and just couldn't for about 4 hours after surg and for that reason that night I ran a temp of 103 ( UTI) not being able to go for 4 hours due to no cathater . The 2nd day was the day I tried getting out of the bed and that was the worst pain... Even rolling the bed all the way up and even log rolling it was still awful..PT came in and made me get up , I walked with a walker and every few steps I was having muscle spasms like crazy. I stayed the next day also because of my UTI and I also sat in the recliner and would not get back in that bed it was too painful getting in and out, I would also get up and walk as much as I could with the walker. Finally I could go home the 3rd day, It was suppose to be just a 1 night stay. I came home on Percocet 5/325 . I slept for a couple of nights in the recliner just easier to get in and out of. I was also pretty numb from the waist down for the first 2 weeks( they say the numbness is normal)

    Here are a few things I wish I had known before surg. 1. I have a high tolerance to pain meds , so I had to eventually have Diliud(s/p). 2. Make sure you have a script for a muscle relaxer. 3. Satin pj's or satin sheets( makes it easier for you to move in bed!)4. Use the breathing gadget they give you( Spriometer)s/p.

    Now I am 10 weeks post surg and I have to say I feel pretty good.. the numbness and tingling does eventually go away. I had alot of hip and leg pain post op but that has subsided now! It just takes time for the nerves to heal and alot of patience!! Right now I am glad i had the surgery. I dont think my back will ever feel 100% but it does feel 80% better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I hope I havn't scared you but that is just my expierance some post I have read they are doing great 2 weeks later and like I said everyone is differant. It does take a long time for your back and nerves to completly heal and we just have to wait and walking as much as you can helps with recovery. And NO BLT( bending, lifting,twisting) I wish you the best with your surgery and recovery. I can already do things I couldn't do before( take the kids to an anmusement park, due to all the walking), ride a stationary bike. So as of now even though recovery was very slow and painful it was WELL worth it. I am on my way to pain free days, again I hope surg goes well for you and I am sending prayers your way! Just think you are on your way to a new begining ( Pain Free Days) !!!!! Keep us updated !!!
  • Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I am so glad you are doing better. I will keep you posted.
  • I also had a laminectomy/discectomy in June, I can try to answer some of your questions...just shoot me a message.


  • I figured that I would get in on this too.
    I have had 2 laminectomies. My first was at L5-S1 and my second was at L4-L5. They were five years apart. First one was in 2002.
    Remember just like Nicole stated, everyone is different. Attitude going in also makes a big difference on recovery.
    When I went in for my first in "02" I could barely walk, the pain in my left leg was unbelievable. My wife said I looked like a 90yr. old man. I was 33 at that time.
    Went in for surgery at 6:00am took about 2-3hrs. Woke up in recovery feeling drowsy,sore throat from tube and stiff achey in my back.
    Got to my room, went from streacher to bed carefully but on my own. Lied in bed for about 2hrs. till drugs wore off. Was told that getting up and walking as soon as possible was the best thing for me, so up I got and would do a lap around the nurses desk. For me I had aches and stiffness but not really any pain. The only drugs I took were steroids to keep swelling down and stool softner. Kept getting up and doing laps, each time got better and went farther away from room.
    Next morning in came the physical therapist. Told me I needed to climb a flight of stairs before I could go home. Did that and was out of there by 10:00am the next morning. Wife drove me home in our van while I laid in the back for 50 miles. I used a walking stick to steady myself while I went out for walks. Was really slow for the first week, then got faster just felt new pains but a whole lot better. Started physical therapy after 1wk. check-up.
    New pains and wierd feelings are normal during recovery.Doc let me go back to work after 6 weeks. I was on light duty for 1 week. Felt like a million dollars, back to old stupid ways for 5yrs. then not alot of pain but left leg was numb from knee down. My 2nd surg. went same, sort of. I still have some numbness in a toe, leg feels a little strange and feel like back is not a strong. Feel much better though and am able to most everything. Can't ride in a car for more than a 2hrs. without getting out. Good thing about numbness and Light aches I still have is it reminds me not to do stupid things.
    Keep your spirits up, think positive and do EXACTLY WHAT YOUR DOCTOR SAYS !! You should come out of it in pretty good shape.
  • Don't feel bad for reaching out, every procedure is a big deal. I havn't had one, but I did have a microdiscectomy and even though that was much smaller then my 360 fusion, it was tough and I was scared. Reach out all you need, everyone is so nice here. Good luck to you and let us know what you decide and how you do!
  • I love this site. Great info and wonderful sharing people. Thanks again. I will continue to ask questions.
  • Hi,
    I just had a lumbar laminectomy L5 on October 30, 2009 so can give some feedback if anyone needs it. I also have a question for anyone who has recovered from a laminectomy.
  • I had a Laminectomy and a Foramintomy at L5 S1 almost 10 months ago. I had my surgery at 1:30 PM, and was home by 9 PM the same night. I was up and walking 1 hour after I woke up, and went home after I voided, etc.!! PM me if you want any questions answered! For me, it has been a slow recovery, but I did have lots of damage before my surgery. sweetpotatoe57
  • unfortunately it was a failure and i am now looking at ADR but i should be able to answer your questions

  • Hi,
    I'm so glad I found this forum - this is great, and really helpful!

    I'm 32, and had been experiencing sciatica like pain (down the left leg) for months, which over the course of 2 weeks then rapidly escalated to an excruciating pain level, coupled with increased tingling along both legs. By the time I got an MRI, my L5 disc was extremely herniated - almost completely out, compressing 90% of my spinal column and severely pressing on the nerves. Underwent emergency surgery (laminectomy, discectomy) and the L5 disc was removed entirely.
    After surgery, since I'm allergic to all the good pain meds, it was pretty painful and the 'logrolling' from side to side was awful - did not get out of bed for 2 days, and then started physical therapy and walking. Altogether I was in the hospital for about 5 days, and was discharged after I could walk up and down stairs comfortably.
    It's been 3 weeks since surgery, and I'm amazed at how great things are - all the pain I had before has completely gone, the only discomfort has been the initial surgery pain, and now a sensation of 'pulling' on my back. I'm walking a lot, and going about as normal, able to bend my legs (something I dreaded pre-surgery due to the pain) etc. I have to remind myself to take it easy, because I just want to start running, working out - but I've been told that the 3 month period after surgery is tricky and has a recurrence potential.
    Has anyone experienced complications after a good surgery experience? I would really like to know if down the line there was any recurrence - my MRI showed partial herniation of the L4 as well, so I'm a little nervous..
  • "just a laminectomy." It's spine surgery, so don't feel bad about posting here at all. You need to know what to expect and, as so many have said, everyone is different. It could be an easy surgery for you or you could end up with a lot of pain while you recover. I wish you the very best either way. May you have an excellent surgeon and a speedy recovery.


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