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Concerns about recovery time frame?

hotcoffee29hhotcoffee29 Posts: 327
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello again,
Sorry I am not always in constant contact, but I do read the recent posts and keep myself updated on whats happening in SH....so hello to all

I just saw my surgeon again and he has agreed to schedule my surgery now for me versus waiting until the summer (I am a TA at school) so that I can travel back to England to take care of my sick mom.

I know I will have to take time off work and that bothers me so close to summer vacation....I am having a laminectomy and a foramonotomy at L5/S1 due to increased low back pain, and sciatic pain and now severe leg weakness, since my laminectomy/diskectomy at L5-S1 in July of last year.

He told me that he could have me back to work in a week, 2 weeks at the most, ok is this normal? Can this be done? I felt rushed after my last surgery going back after 4 weeks, but one week????? I assume this surgery is less involved, so I was just wondering if anyone else has recovered this quickly and what tips you can share to help aid in my speedy recovery to get back to work and take my trip to England.

Thanks guys!!! Take care everyone.


  • Well, I always hesitate to say anything about time frames or the difficulty of a particular surgery as we are all so different...but....I'll make an exception in your case. ;)

    I had that exact surgery at L5-S1 a year after having fusion one level up (L4-5) and it was so easy. I was with a new surgeon and I really panicked when I realized I was not going to have one of those IV line pain pumps...but I quickly realized I didn't need it. I kept waiting for the pain to kick in. When I was offered a pain pill later that night of surgery, I took it not because I was in pain, but because I kept thinking, any moment, the pain would kick in.

    I was scheduled for two sessions of PT the following day, and one with the OT. The first was PT at 10:15. It was all so easy that I breezed right through it...and she told me I could go home. When the OT arrived for her session at 11:30, I was dressed and sitting in a chair waiting for my husband to come to pick me up.

    We drove home. He settled me in the den, stayed a few minutes and then left to go back to the office. I'd been having a craving for brownies in the hospital, so I got off the couch, went into the kitchen and made a pan, from scratch. I had no pain...I kept waiting for it to set in, but it never did. To this day, this still amazes me...and I can't figure it out because my incision was as big as it had been for my fusion...probably 5-6" long.

    The one thing I would caution you about is doing too much too soon after your surgery...especially if you feel really well. A week after my surgery we had a family emergency and I found myself going to the ER three times within one week, and one of the times my mom was admitted for two days. I was not supposed to be riding in cars at this point for more than a short distance...but the hospital was 40 minutes away. All the standing around the ER, sitting on horrendous plastic hospital chairs, the stress of it all, etc. did me in. I made it through the first day, but on the way home the 2nd day, I knew my back was swelling. There was nothing I could do. I had to be at the hospital and the whole process lasted a week.

    I had an appointment with the surgeon the following week. My doctor took one look at the outside and said if it looked like that on the exterior, it was even worse on the inside. There was a lot of inflammation. I ended up having a couple caudal steroid injections, but things were never the same. The nerve never settled back down.

    So my advice to you would be to make sure you have plenty of time after the surgery before you travel to England. I can't say whether going back to work after two weeks is too soon. I know the one week I had was definitely NOT enough time...and I paid the price.

    I think physically you would feel well enough to go back after one week, but whether it is the smart thing to do??? I doubt it...especially if you have to ride on the bus, etc.

    I would say that if you can possibly take off more time you should do it. This will probably be your last chance to try to fix your problems with a simple procedure. You will have a strenuous time once you get to England, so you want to be as well-healed as possible before you make that trip. In other words, don't push it if you don't have to!!

    Please keep in touch and let us know how things go. Do you have surgery scheduled?


  • That was some experience you had! As I was reading it I was hoping for the best as you were doing so good! I agree I may feel good but am I physically able to do my job and ride the bus so soon after the surgery, it just seems too fast to me...............however my surgeon has been that way with me since day one, never put many restrictions on me atall, tells me I should be able to play football if I want to!!! LOL

    I think doing too much too soon was what hurt me first go around, I was just really surprised that he told me if I can clear a week or so from work thats all I need!!

    He filled out the paperwork wednesday so I am just awaiting the phone call to actually give me a date, he said it would be within the next few weeks. I will tell my workplace once I have a date.

    It will be alot of work when I go home, not just with my mum but my grandparents too, so I do want to be as well as I can be.

    As always thank you for your awesome advice....any luck on your appeal?? How are you feeling? I think of you often.

    Take care,
  • I had the same procedure 8 years ago along with a discectomy and was back to work within a week. I had a 2 level fusion 2 1/2 years ago and went back to work after 2 weeks off, that was tough. 2 years ago, I had my hardware removed, 2 level facectomy, 3 level laminectomy and a foramonotomy and took 2 weeks off.

    There's no telling how your going to feel. My suggestion is to hope for the best and expect the worst. If it hurts, take a time out.

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