I had PLIF (posterior interbody 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 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".