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L$-L5 ALIF / PLIF completed

mark32mmark32 Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Went into the hospital on the 4th for my procedure. Went under around 8am and finally came through around 3 in the afternoon. Felt like crap and was kind of wishing I had not gone through. But as the Doctor said the first 3 post op days would be the worst. Well they were honest and that is esactly what happened. My Doctor sadi everything went great and he had no complications. I was up adn walking on Thur and felt beat up, Friday was about the same. But by Saturday night I was walking without my walker and had my drain line removed and was feeling human again. Sunday the Doctor came into see me and noticed I was nto using the walker. I was dischardged on Monday and have been making great advances since. A few thing to note.
1. I had 2 years of preparation spiritual, mentally, and physically. I did not write a lot on the web site but I read tons. When the PT and OT came in I had seen or read everything they had to say from either here or my physiotherapist. I also never stopped my daily routine, I split wood, walked, swam, and hunted as much as I could while controlling the pain. This had a lot to do with why I beieleve I am having a greta recovery so far.
2. I practiced the log roll and prepped my house like this web site has said. The list of things to have is great. All rugs and items were purchased before surgery so it wasnt a shock.
3. I shopped for a doctor. Ater I fould out what I had, I researched and wrote a 2 page list of questions. Could I do some of the follwing in the future: ride a horse, run, hike, hunt, etc. Each list will be different dpepnding on the person and thier life style
4. Kept seeing ym physio therapust right up to the day I before surgery. I was loosened up and preppared for surgery. I saw my physio 14 times in 4 weeks.
5. I tried to stay away from the pain drugs for the month prior to surgery. I have a relatively high pain threshold and a 30 pill perc of percocet lasted me 3 months or so.
6. Have the care of loving people in your life and let them know you need help. The biggest by far thing that helped is my wife. She is an RN and stayed with me day and night at the hospital. So I got the attention I needed from her. Being in the hospital sucks and it can be ackward. But asking her to adjust my blankets or clothes, or help me was easier than asking a stranger. I know they will help but each of us knows you do NOT know what kind of RN or CNA you might get from day to day.

Thank you to everyone for all the stories and suggestions in the site. They helped me prepare for this procedure. Matter of fact the Ocupatinal and Physical therapist, Doctors, and Nurses were suprised of the knowledge I had about my procedure. The videos on the site are excellent.



  • Thanks for posting. In my opinion, you were a model patient. I am a big believer in learning everything I can about what's wrong with my spine, what is involved in the procedure and treatment and I want to know what is going to be done to me!

    You had the best procedure for your active lifestyle. If you continue to "follow the rules" you should end up with a good, solid fusion. Once you are fused, I have read that the more exercise you do, the stronger the fusion becomes. (of course, sensibly!!)

    Just remember to be patient and don't get in a hurry and try to rush the process. It almost never works!!

    Gwennie ~~
  • I'm so glad to hear you're doing well. Keep up the good work.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi Mark, glad you made it to the board. I've suffered the same way. My L4 slid 16.7mm before I had it taken care of. It started as a grade 1 so I was getting worse everyday. By the time I had surgery my disc was degenerated and herniated in the center. I'm getting better most days, sometimes I have a bad day, but more good than bad. Here's hoping for painfree days ahead for everyone.
  • Hi Mark

    You're doing great, and yes preparing as best as you could pre-op is helping you now.

    I had an L4/5 ALIF to correct spondylisthesis a couple of weeks before you and I'm feeling so much better than I thought I would. I wasn't as fit as you, but stretched and did abs every day as well as lots of gardening. I loved the article on this site about preparing for surgery.

    Keep moving forward but don't overdo it, and we'd love to hear how you're going from time to time.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Overall things are great!!! I really cant believe it, yesterday I walked down the street with my wife for 15 minutes. First time to take a walk with her in 4 years with no leg pain. I shouldnt say NO leg pain but none of the original pain. Currently I am getting some pain from the knee down. All those wonderful nerves and muscles are starting to work again. Does anyone know how long it takes to get that pain down. It is one of the major reasons I still take full doses of my drugs. I have hit the almighty incision itching stage though, more annoying than anything.

    Thank You to everyone for you comments and support. I am out of here time to take my first walk of the day.

    Being as active as I was, I have to remind myself daily to slow down. It feels wierd having my wife do all things I normally do. But as a friend said tha other day, "Your not Lazy your Recovering thier is a big differance".

  • I have a L4/5 TLIF surgery scheduled for Jan. 6 and I found your post very informative and actually comforting. I'm not new to cervical surgery, but I have no idea what to expect for the lumbar surgery so thanks for taking the time to post initially and keeping us posted.

    Please keep updating.

    I'm glad you made it through and are on the other side. For me the very worst thing about surgery is the stay in the hospital - it's impossible to get any rest in there.

    How many days were you in the hospital? Anything else I should know before the surgery? If you've already said, sorry for the repeat question.

  • To All,
    Things are going great for the most part. I am still having some nerve pain in the Left leg from the knee down to the ankle. Had a appt with my Doc and he said we would keep a watch on it for the next 2-4 weeks and see if it gets any worse. He mentioned that the nerve did get a little streched during the procedure. The funny thing is it doesnt hurt when I walk. Either way I feel great and am making progress, walking 40-45 minutes 2-3 times a day.

    Everything I wrote I got from readng all these little blogs and doing research. I did lots of searchs on google using the name of the procedure or the problem with a mixture of phrases (bad outcome, recovery, video, good outcome, etc..). The one thing I would reconsider is going through the front (belly). I found the bloating and pain to be worse than every other kind of pain I had at the time. As for the hosptial I got about zero sleep like you mentioned. I could have been released 4 days post op but left the morning of post op day 5. Once I was home and eating some good food I got my strenght quickly. Make sure you take it easy. I always try to spend 2 sessions a day on my back with my legs up for 45-90 minutes each time. This position unloads everything and I feel very comfortable. Each person will have a certain degree or angle that feels great to them, find yours and enjoy. I had cut foam prior to surgery and at that time it felt like the best angle. Once I got home it wasno longer the optimal position for me.

    Good Luck to you and feel free to ask me anything about the procdure.

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