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Minimally Invasive Fusion L5/S1

laughnsmilellaughnsmile Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

Has anyone had a minimally Invasive Fusion? I am scheduled for Nov. 16, 2009. I have grade 2 spondylolisthesis. The slippage has turned the disc above L5 vertical and at the neural formina there is no opening that is visible on MRI.

Here's the plan. Remove disc and use a cage, pull spine to
normal position (or best possible) use rods and screws to secure. "broad based bulge L4 and L5 disc and bone spur
will be taken care of. and removal of bone around nerve
root opening.

Surgery will have 2 small incisions and take about 1 1/2 hours. Hospital is overnight stay unless there is complications. I will be up walking same day as surgery.

Surgeon is fellowship trained and has done hundreds and hundreds of these. I do not have to give blood. I'm told no blood loss.

I'm worried about the log roll. How do you do it? And what
happens if you can't keep your back straight? Is fusion
effected even with rods and screws?



  • Hi,

    I had the same procedure - MIS L5/S1. On the whole, I was unbelievably surprised at how easy the whole surgery part was. As soon as I awakened I had a muscle spasm so bad in my left glute that I thought that I was going to roll up into a ball and explode. As soon as I received some cocktail all was fine, except for the fact that I wanted to sleep but couldn't because of continual hallucinations everytime I tried to. I was up walking the same day and after the initial cocktail of meds I did not take anything else while in the hospital. Pain was minor after the initial spasm and I was out of the hospital within 24 hours. I know others who had difficulty getting dressed and getting up but I did not. Don't get me wrong it did not feel like the old me and it took a while to adjust to the new feeling and how rigid and locked up my spine felt. Now 8 months later, I am much more flexible but I have pain with movement so I am currently considering getting the hardware out. I know others who have had absolutely NO problems with their hardware and they don't even feel like they have anything in their back so don't assume this will be a problem for you.

    The log roll is easy and generally a PT person will show you before you leave the hospital. I learned it though PT before surgery but they went over it again before my release after surgery.

    Don't be too worried about keeping your back straight. It is true that you need to keep from Bending, Lifting and Twisting - BLT's but we have to move and the purpose of the hardware is to keep everything in place and aligned until you are fused. Ask your doctor how long you will have the BLT restrictions. My NS removed this restriction after 3 months. My 3 month CT scan showed that I was fusing well.

    What do you mean by is "fusion affected even with rods and screws"? The rods and screws are there to align your spine and hold it in place until the fusion is solid.

    I wish you well with your surgery. I hope it is as easy as mine was.
  • I have not had the minimally invasive fusion, although I think I may in the near future for further problems. I will be eager to hear how yours goes, since you have a grade II spondylolisthesis to contend with, too.

    Just so you know, they get you up the first day to walk with an open surgery, too. And I would imagine the restrictions on movement are the same regardless whether you have an open surgery or MIS, as the time it takes to knit the bones together is the same. Usually it is about 3 months for the bending, twisting and restrictions on the amount you should lift. You don't really have to keep your whole back straight. You just shouldn't bend or twist at the waist. You can bend at the hips all you want, as long as you keep the back straight.

    They should teach you the log roll in the hospital. Ask the PT if he/she forgets to mention it. It is a useful thing to learn as it is the best way to move even after you are all healed.

    Regarding the spondy: You will find that if the doctor does pull your vertebrae into something resembling a "normal" position, you will have some muscle imbalances and alignment that will need to readjust. You may find that one side of the spine is tighter than the other. When you get into PT, you will also want to check on whether your pelvis is level or whether you carry one hip higher than the other. These are things that are fairly typical for those of us with spondy.

    Good luck with your surgery. I look forward to hearing how easy it was!

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