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PLIF surgery patient - A GREAT SUCCESS!!!!!

allbetteraallbetter Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I had PLIF (posterior uinterbody lumbar fusion) surgery done at L5-S1 on Sept. 23, 2009. It has been about 2 and a half months and I am feeling the best I have in over 12 years! I am a 32 yr. old wife and mother and lived with this problem for many, many years of my young adult life.

It went from my initial health insurer (Kaiser Permanente) not doing so much as an x-ray, to finally getting to the heart of the issue (severe DDD) at the mentioned level. In between I went through countless narcotic rx's (lived on them), mri's, discograms (ouch!), esi's, rhizotomy's, had a spinal cord stimulator implanted (worked a little). This was all while doing my homework on artifical disc replacements and fusion sugery (both had been recommeded to me by various surgeons). I saw at least 5!

I finally found an awesome surgeon in Dallas, TX (EDITED) and went with the PLIF procdure (I did not want ALIF).

Results are this: Surgery went as planned. PLIF was done and spinal cord stim was removed at same time. I had no complications. I was in hospital for 7 days...the first 5 were very painful, not gonna lie. I came home from there and recovered at an amazingly fast rate. Wore a rigid back brace at all times when I was upright for 6 weeks. I am already back into my normal routine (normal for a young mother with small children, not my pre-op state). I am doing so well, I did not even require phyical therapy. My activity level is 100x what it was pre-op!

If any of you would like to dicuss my experience, I would love to. If you are considering this procedure, or have any questions, I would be happy to do my best to answer them, as someone that has been through it. I was on this site before my surgery and some of the stuff I saw really scared me, so I want you all to know there are success stories!

I also had to deal with multiple insurance denials. I was successful at getting them turned over...want to know how? I went to my husband's employer (usually you can do this on the 2nd appeal, even thought they won't tell you that you have this right) to plead my case, state my evidence and ask for the care I pay for. Becasue they self funded the policy, they were able to overrule the administrator (Aetna). I won! Don't give up!

I look forward to hearing from any of you that I might be able to "help". :)

Post Edited by Authority Member haglandc, name of Medical Professional removed


  • :H Welcome to the forum. :H I'm so glad to hear your story about such a great recovery. I hope you stay painfree for the rest of your life. Take care and have a really wonderful holiday.

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • Congratulations on such a great outcome. IT is so nice to hear a good outcome and not a failure. What a difference this is going to make to you and your children. Congrats again :)
  • Allbetter thanks for your success story it gives hope. :)
  • Thanks for sharing your positive outcome of your surgery. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • So good to hear someone else's positive story! I think so many people wander away from SH after they've had positive results and think that's really a shame. I definitely think it is very important for those of us who are doing well to stay active on SH to show others that there IS hope and life after surgery!

  • Hey its great to here your story,

    Just wondering if you could of had the surgery 12 years ago, would you of had it?

    thanks :)
  • I was wondering about your pain prior to surgery?
    I am 99% set on surgery for my ddd. How often/bad was your pain before you took the plunge.
  • Thanks for taking the time to share such a positive post about how well you're doing! For those of us (including myself) who are anticipating lumbar surgery, it is very helpful to hear from people who are doing well.

    One question--in your signature you state you've had back pain for 12 years. Did your PLIF do anything for the back pain? It is a well-know fact, and one that my surgeon brought up on my last visit, that back surgery is to correct nerve issues but that it does not cure backache. I've had back pain for 37 years and radiculopathy in my leg(s) for the last appx 6 of those years. I'm scheduled for 2-level PLIF in September and am resigned to it not helping the back pain but would love to hear that there might be a possibility it will could help that too. I hope you continue to do well!

    EDIT: Just noticed that your post was from last December so you are probably off doing all the things you couldn't do before.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I thought I'd chime in here as I've had similar surgery and my answer to your question would be "Yes!". In my case I have almost no back pain. My back gets a little fatigued if I'm doing lots of bending, but I haven't had any pain in at least 8 months. And actually my OS told me prior to surgery that fusion would most likely reduce or relieve the back pain as it was "discogenic", meaning the pain is caused by the bad disc, not the herniation itself.

    Just my experience.
  • Thanks for sharing that. Serious spine problems so often seem to be all "doom and gloom", so it's great to read of such a real success! I bet you feel on top of the world! Think I'll talk to my doc about this method.....
  • Ashes22AAshes22 Posts: 1
    edited 09/27/2012 - 11:22 AM
    I'm a newcomer to this site, im 24 years old and a wife and mother of a beautiful 3 year old girl and stepmom to 2 handsome boys. I'm goin in October 10th for PLIF surgery at L5&S1 with PEEK cages, rods and screws. Very nervous for this surgery and don't have a whole lot of support from my family except for my husband and some of his family and a few of my family members that are scattered across the country! All of my non supporters don't ever ask me questions on what's gonna b done to me and they only seem to wanna tell me horror stories. I just wanna get sum good positive stories from y'all and sum things I should expect after surgery and what kind of pain I may be in. Also my surgeon never told me what he was goin to close my back with so just wondering if y'all had staples, stitches, etc... Also i was told i would only be in the hospital for 2 days. Give me sum feedback on Wat y'all went through and how long u were in the hospital for. Thanks!!!
  • JulieMacJJulieMac Posts: 5
    edited 10/30/2012 - 5:12 AM
    Hi Ashes 22, well you would have had your surgery by now, I am 4 weeks post PLIF( I live in Australia) I hope your surgery went well. My surgery took 7 1/2 hrs due to some complications the first 4 days were the worst , the pain was so intense I would not lie about that. I used a few different walkers while in hosp. I was in hosp for 12 days then was transferred to rehab for 1 week. I left the rehab with no walker and not so reliant on the oxy's for pain. Now that I am home I still find it hard to do certain tasks which is to be expected, I tire very quickly. I do hydro 3 times a week and try and walk every day for 10 minutes. I am still taking quite a few med's Targin, Lyrica and Naprosyn plus panadol. I am feeling better each day I am off work for 3 months. I go back to see my neurosurgeon in 2 weeks so it will be interesting to see what he has to say.I do have many questions written down to ask him. Hope to hear from you :-)
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