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neverstoppersnneverstoppers Posts: 30
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I believe my doctor has told me he is going to have to remove bone during the spinal fusion surgery. Is this process actually worse then the spinal fusion it self. Or is it just go along with the pain of a regular spinal fusion surgery. Just wondering if anybody has had it done. They have to remove some bone in my lower back. I just hope it doens't hurt as bad as when they took bone from hip. that pain was the worst.


  • is generally removed so they can gain access to the intervertebral spaces so they can do the fusion. Often they remove bits of the lamina or the spinous process. I didn't particularly notice any bone pain in my back over and above the fusion. While I didn't have bone removed from my hip, I had marrow removed from my hip and it was mixed with BMP to spackle in the cadaver bone for my fusion. I swear that at times my hip hurt worse than my back. So, if you've had the hip pain before, I can tell you the back/bone pain isn't worse than that.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • thanks, yeah i know my hip pain was so bad last time! even when i got up for the first time, my god. my back didnt hurt at all, but my hip was like spasming or whatever. and thankfully, they are not using my hip bone this time. they are using a donors bone.
    my doctor has also told me about spinal cord leakage, did any of you have this problem. where you have a headache for around 2-3 days after the surgery?
  • My OS did laminectomies and foraminectomies on me then he inserted the hardware. He also used the bone he removed and mixed it with cadaver bone, and put that to the site that was eventually fused. I believe prior to doing a fusion some bones need to be removed (to clean out the narrowing in the spinal canal). I did not feel any great pain after the procedure, but then everybody responds differently.

    Good luck to you,

  • my pain torelance is pretty high. the only thing i worry about is that since i am on so many heavy drugs already like vicodin and methadone that the pain meds they give me won't be enough.
    i am having basically my whole spine fused.
    s1-t5(at least)

    i have one last question to people. when do they allow you to eat and drink? is it like 1 day after 2 days?
  • that's a really big fusion. That's what, 13 levels? Well, you will definitely be stiffer than I am. I imagine when you get to eat will depend on how long your surgery is and how you react to the anesthesia. My first surgery was about eight hours, I went into the OR at 7:00 a.m., and was in recovery around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. I didn't eat anything that night (I think I had some juice), but the next day they were trying to get me to eat because I lost a lot of blood and they were trying to get me to build it back up because I had to have a second surgery four days later. I wish you the very best of success with your surgery. When are you having it done?


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • yeah stiffer is okay with me if that means my fusion actually works.
  • Hi Neverstoppers. I can give you a few thoughts on some of your questions by experience. Like others said, yes, they are going to remove bone. I too had bone taken off of hip for my double fusion. Long after my back had healed, my hip was still having that deep bone pain. That was tough. Walking would really make it pronounced but after a year or so, it got better. If I had to make the choice now, I would go with donor bone.

    During my last surgery six weeks ago on L5, my dural was torn during the removal of scar tissue and I had a spinal fluid leak. She did a repair and tried to stop all leaking before closing me up. I then was required to lay on back, flat, for 48 hours. This is common treatment for a tear/leak and many have had to do it to keep from getting the headache. I was lucky and did not get the headache.

    I too was worried about their use of meds on me because I took such a high dose of oxycodone daily plus other stuff. I told my surgeon of this concern, I told the admitting nurse who did all the vitals and I told the anesthesiologist. My biggest worry was that they were not going to keep my oxycodone level up and that I would experience withdrawals during recovery and I didn't want that ontop of surgery pain. They all made sure I had my normal dosages during surgery day and then the hospital staff maintained it during my stay there. Of course I had a dilaudid pump too. Just communicate with each person who asks about meds prior to surgery.

    As for water or ice chips, I don't remember getting any in recovery from nurses but I do remember my mother giving me some ice when I first got to room. I was sooo thirsty. She would only give me a little at a time and it went on like that for a long time, it seemed. Surgery day I got a dinner tray like everyone else. Didn't eat too much but tried to drink the broth.

    I know how nerve wracking it is pre surgery and you have all of these questions. I found this site and the people here answered so many questions and it helped me maintain. I hope my experiences help you see where you are going and help with your nerves. It won't be easy by any means but hopefully, it will all be worth it in the longrun for you. What I've had done has helped me very much and I wish the same for you. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


  • thanks for answering all of my questions. for some reason my last surgery i think i remember my nurses trying to get me something to eat the day after surgery. but not the day of.
    i hope i dont get spinal cord leakage but if i do, i mean. i will be laying down flat anyways .

    but yeah i am going to remind them the day of surgery that i need my methadone. i am not sure about lyrica and gabpentin, if i need them that day. but defenintly the methadone.

    but yeah like you said. your hips hurt so so so so so so so bad. its amazing that hurts a lot worse then your back. you would think it would be the opposite. thankfully they wont take any bone from my hip. and it sounds like, the removal of bone from your back is not nearly as bad as removal of bone from your hip.
    i hope i don't get any more nerve damage. i have enough on my left side. but if i get any, i hope its on my left side. so i can still drive with my right foot.
    i am not nerverous as i was during my last surgery, i am anxious to get it done.
    i am stressed about college though. i just took my final in jazz today. and i am going to take my final in econ thursday. a day before my surgery. and my stupid ass professor never emailed me the study guide like he was supposed to during the weekend. he didnt even tell me what to study. just said study the whole book. oh yeah i have to finish a 10 page essay.
    i am hoping my gpa is at least 3.0 i did way worse then last semester when my gpa was 3.7. but i hope when i apply for jobs or a graduate school they take that into consideration
  • When my doc told me that I would be stiff afterwards and would not be able to bend - I thought, heck, that ain't much different than now except that I get excruciating pain and CES when I bend - I'd rather not be able to bend than have that happen all the time! It was a good choice for me - fusion solved a lot of my problems.

    Oh and ...

    I was on liquids only for 8 days post-op. I also had to have a second surgery. I do not handle anesthesia or pain meds very well - hence a lot of my problems.

  • wow okay. hopefully i dont need a 2nd surgery. he has not even said that was an option or anything he was concernd about. and my doc told me every little thing that might happen to me.
    sounds like most people were able to drink when they came out of surgery though. so thats good.

  • Even though I had a really rough recovery from my fusion I was able to eat solid foods immediately. I'm not sure if that was a mistake on the hospital's part or what, but it was nice. I drank a lot of water and juice though, I was soo thirsty!

    I also agree with slkep2004, communicate as much as possible with your nurses, anesthesiologist, surgeon, etc. etc. etc. I told them how terrified I was and that it was my first surgery because I was absolutely terrified that my pain wouldn't be managed. Just make sure you voice your concerns to everyone, because surprisingly nurses don't always communicate well with one another.

    I hope everything goes smoothly for you & you have a successful uneventful surgery :)
  • i am hoping it goes good too. it is a huge fusion but i am young , 19.
    just hope i don't get nerve damage in my right foot. cause that would be kinda hard to drive.
  • Wow that is a huge surgery and I hope it all goes well for you. I'm sure they will keep your pain under control. I was on liquids for 2 days and then a light diet for 3. You probably won't feel like eating much too soon anyway.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • thank u everyone for your support. this is it. my surgery is friday morning at 730. 10 hours long my doctor claims it will be.
    7 days.
    so hopefully i will be out before the next friday. :)
    cause i am going to be in childrens hosptal still because thats where my surgeron is. their tv selection sucks. they don't carry any good channels because of kids. i mean they have a friggin satellite but they wont put on fox sports network.
    oh well i am going off topic here.
    wish me luck.
    i am gonna tell my mother to bring my laptop up when she comes up the day after. i may not be able to use it, for a couple days in depending on how i feel. and how much medicine is inside of me
  • till my surgery and i cant sleep a wink
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