Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Lumbar surgery is scheduled

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi fellow spineys.

Well, I've got my TLIF L4/5 scheduled for Jan. 6. I wanted to get it done in December because my deductible has been met, but so does everyone else. So, unless there's a cancellation, I'm going under in January.

I'm really ready to have some relief from the back, hip and leg pain, so in that way, I'm looking forward to it. On the flip side, it's another surgery on another part of my spine and that, in and of itself, sucks. The likelyhood of more surgery increases with every invasion of the spine, so I won't think of this as my last like I did after my cervical surgery. I'll be wearing a back brace for six weeks following the surgery.

I believe that it's the rare spiney that only has one problem, has surgery to fix it, then gets back to their everyday life with no complications or other spine problems for the rest of their life.

I'm already a little nervous about the surgery and know I'll get increasingly nervous as the date creeps closer and closer. I've decided that I'm going to rent a laptop while I'm in the hospital so I can at least get on the internet and check in on Spine-Health. I'm also glad I didn't let my hubby get rid of my recliner after my cervical surgery last year, and that I kept all the post-surgey must-haves, like my shower chair and grabber.

If anybody has and suggestions or comments for me on my upcoming surgery, please share them with me. Anything is appreciated, as you all know. It's a long road and this is just another speedbump.

Take care, fellow spineys.


"Once a spiney, always a spiney."



  • I think you'll appreciate the following: When I had a lumbar nerve block a couple weeks ago, there was a new nurse-type person in the treatment room. She was filling out the paperwork as I was lying on the table having my back cleansed. She told me that she had worked in a hospital ICU for 18 years, but this was her first day at this new job. She very innocently said "gee, it looks like everyone that has one back surgery ends up having more. Does anyone just have ONE back surgery?"

    It really made me laugh.

    I've had back surgery the past two years, the week after New Year's. I think it was better than before the holidays because people seemed less stressed. They'd had a little break over the holidays and things seemed a little slower around the hospitals....so you may be glad that you are having to wait till then.

    You'll do great. You already know the drill so won't be caught off guard or experience too many surprises.

    Take this time to get prepared. I have not had cervical surgery but I understand the two are not that much alike.

    Hopefully this will be the end of the bumps.

  • I'm sorry you have to go through another surgery but I have a good feeling that with your positive attitude and good dr. you will feel immediate relief and be glad you had it done! As you know everyone is different but post (L2/3/4) fusion I was/am most comfortable in prone positions....flat on my back with a pillow under my legs or standing/walking around so the recliner didn't work for me. I hope it does work for you! Also, I have a bed tray on wheels (like hospital) but the tray is adjustable so my laptop sits on it and I can enjoy it while resting. You mentioned renting a laptop so I'm not sure you will need this often but mine sure comes in handy to write bills or rest a book/mag on to read when I was weak after surgery. I think it was $40.00 @ Walmart?
    The good news is you can get through the holidays and then start 2010 taking care of yourself for a happy, more pain free year!!

    Oh yea, get a few extra "claws" (grabbers) to have around the house and in your car! Ask Santa for extra patience to sustain you through recovery! LOL!

  • I know that you will do just fine with this surgery and I hope that it does bring you much relief. I would also think that recovery will be a little smoother since you already know how to prepare. I am curious. Where can you rent a laptop? I sure wished I would have known about that after my surgery or when my husband was in the hospital last year. It really is hard to lay around in the hospital for a week. Good luck and I will be following your progress.
  • Natural for you to feel a little nervous before your surgery even though you had the ACDF 3 level last year. Good too that you've kept all your post-op must-haves.

    I'm 4 weeks post op L4/5 ALIF and doing well and it's wonderful to be able to walk without all that pain; however, while I was in the hospital the surgeon said the discs at L3/4 and L5/S1 weren't much good, so looks like I'll be facing further surgery too. I'm having some referred pain from these discs but nothing like it was before.

    Keep as busy as you can and spoil yourself a little, and visualize being able to walk without pain.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hello Cath

    I'm so sorry to hear you need another surgery. It sounds like you're accepting it which is really important. Good that you've had the year to recovery from your ACDF.

    You've helped me so much I wish I had some good advise to help you. All I can say is I hope it goes well and I'll be keeping track of your progress. It's great that you'll have a lap top to allow you to post.

    I hope the holidays keep you busy in a good way so the time goes fast and your surgery is here and gone with an out come that makes your life more enjoyable.
  • We've "got your back", so you've nothing to worry about! Hmm ... for some reason that doesn't sound quite right. Well we are always here for you and will walk beside you the entire way. That would be really cool if you could get a laptop for the time at the Hospital.

  • Sorry to hear you're having another surgery, but having been through the lumbar stuff I can tell you that getting it all stabilized is a big relief. I no longer fear walking! If you don't have one, do get the toilet seat booster. I didn't get one and boy did I regret it. I have a vanity right in front of the toilet, so could pull myself up, but it was a struggle and it really made my legs hurt. Hang in there. We'll all be pulling for you!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Thanks for letting me know some of the things I need to get. I realized that because this is a different surgery than I had before, I'll need some additional things. I've started a list and I'll add to it as necessary.

    Gwennie, I've been wondering how lumbar surgery is diffent from cervical surgery - the non-obvious things like recovery, hospital stay, etc. And like Kathy said, I'm not sure if my recliner will work, but I'll see.

    Kathy, I got one of those "computer tables" like you described. The one I have has a split top, so you can tilt one half of it and leave your drink on the other half. It's got little railings so it will hold a book. And you can also raise and lower it and it's on wheels. It still sits next to my recliner.

    JJ, I just typed in "computer rentals in xxx(my city)" and it looks like there's a lot of places that specialize in laptop rentals. If it's not too expensive, I'll keep it for a few weeks after I get home, too.

    Trish, I'm sorry (but not surprised) that you'll need another surgery, but it's great to hear that you're not having the intense pain you were having before surgery. That's really encouraging, because as you know, those of us about to have surgery love to hear surgery success stories.

    "C", Lynn and Linda, thank you so much for the encouraging words and support. Oh, Linda, thanks for letting me know about the toilet seat riser. Sounds like fun. LOL

    I'm so, so glad that we have Spine-Health to come to during hard times. The friendship and support we get here is priceless, and you all know exactly what I mean. How do spineys get through everything when they don't have SH to "watch their back"? I don't know, and I don't want to find out.

    Thanks again, my friends. You all are just the greatest!
  • After having had both lumbar and cervical surgeries, I would say that without a doubt, the lumbar surgeries are far easier to recover from. You will do great and be up and about in no time.

    I found that trying to get in and out of a recliner after lumbar surgery is murder and I avoided it. I found that putting an air mattress on a deck (lounge chair) gave me a nice light weight, elevated and adjustable place to lounge in the living room so I could watch TV and read without being stuck in the bedroom.

    I took my desk top computer and tilted the screen up, placed a box in my desk chair and then placed my keyboard and mouse on top of the box. That way I could stand up and use the computer, taking the pressure off my lower back. It also helped keep me more mobile and kept me from feeling like I was lying around all day.

    My NS restricted me from sitting for 30 days post op after each surgery. So I learned to adapt many things in the house. It also helped my recovery and significantly reduced the scar tissue development post op. Of course every surgeon has their own post op care instructions, make certain you follow those of your surgeon.

  • hi, i have had both neck and back surgeries.and it was the other way around with me. my back was harder to recover from.
  • Hi Cath, I don't have much to add that everyone else hasn't already said, but I agree with Linda on the toilet seat riser... I am so thankful that I purchased one. It's really the best thing ever right now, lol. :)

    I'm glad to read that the lumbar are easier to heal from, seems like you've already been through the hard stuff, maybe this one will be a breeze You definitely deserve it, you give so much advice on the boards and you are so kind and caring to everyone. :)
  • "C", like motelman said, I've always heard that a cervical surgery is more difficult for the surgeon than a lumbar surgery, but the recovery from cervical surgery is easier for the patient that lumbar surgery.

    However, since my ACDF was 3-level and my lumbar will be 1-level, I'm anticipating my lumbar recovery to be easier. But the fact remains that everybody's recovery is different, no matter what the surgery, so to go by any rule of thumb is basically useless.

    Thanks for the kind words, Andrea. I know you've been having a time of it yourself lately and hope you're improving each day. I've been reading your thread with interest because even though your TLIF was minimally invasive and mine won't be, it's good to hear your experience.

    We just got 9 inches of snow yesterday and it's pretty cold here today. Brrrrrrrrrr.
  • I agree to a point. I guess the difference has a lot to do with the approach for cervical surgeries. Mine were all a posterior approach, including the lumbar surgeries.

    I saw the snow in some pictures from a friend who lives up in your neck of the woods. Looks pretty.

    Hope you have a nice cozy day inside where it's warm.

  • "C", that makes good sense. I'd always heard that a posterior cervical surgery is a very difficult recovery.

    Yes, I'm all cozy inside today. I stood a lot yesterday making a lot of food for hubby and me while it snowed, so I'm hurting a bit today. I just had to take Mr. Wally for a walk this morning (or else he might get upset and start eating the carpet again), but other than that, I'm resting.

  • Could you elaborate a bit on your statement that your neurosurgeon wouldn't let you sit for 30 days after each surgery? Does he do that for every patient or did you have special issues? I've never heard of that before and I am just trying to figure out the thinking behind the restriction.

    I can't see how it would effect scar tissue one way or the other.


  • My neurosurgeon has done some incredible cutting edge advancements in his field. A lot of what he has done is centered around returning military troops to duty without restrictions within a very short span of time. I really cannot say for certain if all his patients who underwent lumbar surgery had the same restrictions or not.

    Since sitting (most especially at a 90 degree angle)places greater strain on the lumbar and sacral area due to greater disc movement and strain on muscles and tendons. Limiting or restricting sitting does reduce the stress on those areas which seems to translate into reducing pain and inflammation and promoting healing.

    It is well known that most people when told to limit the amount of time they sit post op, will generally sit until the pain reminds them it's time to get up, which by then they've stressed the area significantly.

    By forcing the issue of either being in a prone or standing position, I was kept walking and active. Walking is of course known to keep nerves moving and reduce the chance of adhesions building as well as promoting circulation which helps with healing. This type of protocol seemed to make a big difference in my recovery times, ability to walk, and ability to sit more comfortably once the restrictions were lifted.

    I have two friends who also had surgery by the same neurosurgeon with similar post op restrictions. Both of these men were back to running, doing PT and even on Jump Status within weeks. One was fused at multiple levels and the other had 12" rods placed to stabilize multiple spinal fractures.

    I can't be any more specific because I've never sat down and specifically discussed his theory behind this.

  • What a way to bring in the new year ;) Sorry that you have to have another surgery but this should bring relief to all your lower back pain and all that goes with it. All I've had is lumbar surgery and my last one was an open back TLIF on L4-S1 over a year ago. I'd be more than happy to tell you about the surgery. Well, I'm here for you and I know things will turn out good. Take care sweetie :H
Sign In or Register to comment.