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j.howie's Guinea Pig XLIF surgery 3 mo.

j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
:D check up. Everything with the XLIF fusion w/basket and BMP has gone well. The incisions have healed. The fusion is almost 50%. And the Dr. released me from all restrictions. He said I could do what ever I can bear??? (I think that means it may hurt) but won't do damage. I do still have pains. But I have to keep in mind. I've had 2 failed fusions before. I had a lot of surgeries, including 1 to fix my scs that tore loose from it's anchors. And move it. Just 16 days ago. And I'm 61 years old. :P So The older you get, the harder it is to recover from a surgery.
Ken, Graham and I have all had similar lateral surgeries. And I think there is a consensus That all 3 of us have had very good results. Even though the surgeries, and the results may vary somewhat we all would recommend this new high tech surgery. =D>
My surgeon says he is sure there was NO NERVE DAMAGE with this surgery and it should continue to improve over the next 18 mos. As the nerves decompress.
Anyone interested in finding out more about this technology Should just type in XLIF or NewVasive in the blue box at the top of the page. And just surf from there. Mucho info!
Good luck, Jim
Click my name to see my Medical history
You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!


  • And, remember not to get your heart set on having it before checking with your insurance company....some will not approve it. Easier to find that out sooner than later!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    But don't let that deter you. Kens, surgery was different, and newer.
    My surgery was FDA approved over 2 years ago. And my surgeon was a pioneer and has been doing them for over 2 yrs. That's a fusion. Whereas Kens was a TDR and still somewhat experimental, until the final FDA approval, coming soon. I think Grahams was FDA approved already.
    The ones that are approved by the FDA already have a track record of saving the insurance co. a lot of money. And we all know, that is all they want to do. And if the surgeon is good and has a good track record, he has no problem selling this to insurance co. So let him do the work of selling it to the insurance co.
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I am so very happy all is going so well with this surgery! It's been a long road getting to this point. Continue to improve and get your life back!! That's an ORDER!!
    Cheers to you and Patti
    Patsy W :H
  • For a successful surgery this time.
    How is your incision for the SCS surgery?
    I still have a small scab but the dressing is off!!!

    Wishing you continued improvement along your yellow brick road to Spiney Oz where there is no pain!
    Keep joking and smiling :D
  • :D
    Excellent news about the fusing! You'll be struting your stuff in those red heels again in no time! (LOL!)

    Best to you and keeping your mom in my prayers.

  • Have been a lurker since I found this website preop. One of the best forums I have seen for advise and support. Now 3.5 weeks post op XLIF and doing well. Still on some pain meds prn daily. Point in posting is to agree with the post on the benefits of XLIF, preop pain is 90% gone, and no r leg radiculopathy at all post surgery. Interesting info: just got insurance (BC/BS) EOB, hospital reimbursed $141,000 for hospital stay (2 days), anesthesia 7K ( I assume it includes the NuVasive monitoring) and that does not include preop evals, and any the surgeons bill which are still to come. Amazing
  • Showoff.


    (jk, congrats on the good news. :-))
  • That's good to hear about your fusion at 3 months.
    Hi A--1 great news also. 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
  • The newer surgeries are getting "less" invasive and will hopefully provide better long term outcomes. The biggest benefit to the surgery I had was less tearing up muscles and nerves. The Axial bolt I honestly no longer feel. The part I do feel is that traditional hardware. Rods and screws and muscles getting tightened up. Seeing surgeon for 6 month post-op visit today. Overall I have to say I'm in much better shape than I was before surgery. Am I 100%, heck no. Still have many months left to go.

    Ken is part of a study group and his surgery is brand new and not available to the public yet. It is a new wrinkle on what looks like an ADR. He seems to be doing really well.

    Gwennie's point about not getting hopes up on surgery is valid for any type of surgery. We see people get turned down for traditional surgeries too. There is a lot of reasons. I agree with Jim. Don't let that deter you. Your surgeon is responsible for explaining to the insurance company what he wants to do and why. You take it from there.

    Jim I'm impressed that you got all restrictions lifted at 3 months. I got told to attempt to live a normal life, but had weight restrictions. At 6 months I suspect he will mostly cut me loose but still have weight restrictions. He is a stickler for having complete fusion before he removes that last restriction. So I'll be seeing him at 9 and 12 months.

    Now if the stiffness in my back stops and the muscles relax a bit. I'd be really impressed. Sitting for an hour is still horrible...

  • Yup, that's right, Graham. Many of the big insurance companies are really cracking down on even the most traditional surgeries that they used to OK almost automatically.

    I noticed when I was doing research prior to writing my appeal that there are a number of companies that are now using the Milliman Standards of Care for orthopedic surgery approvals and the guidelines are very specific. They also specifically say that they will not cover ADR or the AxiaLIF procedures....I'm talking about something like twenty companies that were on the list...so it is not a small number.

    I don't recall seeing anything regarding XLIF as Milliman doesn't seem to care how a fusion is done, but under what circumstances a fusion will be approved. My surgeon thought most of the companies were east of the Mississippi River, and it is a change of policy that went into effect the end of January 2010.

    Good luck tomorrow. I hope the surgeon has nothing but good news for you.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    on this thread. I have been away and not able to get on here much as my mother has been diagnosed with cancer. And have been concentrating all of my energy on her.
    Graham, I too was surprised at the surgeon lifting all of my restriction at slightly less that 50% fusion. The surgeon who did my other fusions wanted 100% fusion. And I have a cage, with no instrumentation. But like you I am not without pain. Sitting is difficult for longer that 1 hr. Sometimes less! And I am still stiff. VERY STIFF if I don't keep moving. And that makes it hard to get a full nights sleep. He said no physical therapy until 6 mo. And also on the lifting restrictions, He said "what ever you can bear" So knowing this was not my first picnic I think he meant let pain be your guide. But then on the other hand I did fuse at a remarkable rate for an old guy. LOL!
    Jelly, all of the incisions have closed up and the swelling and inflammation has gone down. I think I was just freaking out and rushing it a bit.
    The surgeon had told me that he thought he could bring my pain level down from a 6 w/ meds to a 3 w/ less meds. And that has happened. When I asked him about the stiffness, pains (concerning only this surgery) and some numbness. He said that I could expect to see some slow improvement over the next 18 mo. I had chronic pain from failed surgeries of past and he didn't say that he could make that any better. But what he did say That he thought he could do, He did. I only wish that this was available way back when!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Hi Jim

    That's great that your check-up went well, and 50% fused - yay. Terrific that you don't appear to have any nerve damage either.

    Keep getting well!


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I thought I would find out yesterday if my fusion had started.
    No such luck :-(. They were running so behind with one x-ray machine out of action that although I had the x-rays taken, I'll have to wait for my next appointment in 4 weeks to find out if fusion has started yet.
  • It is interesting how these surgeons opinions on PT and the like differ. I must say the weight restriction makes really good sense. Lifting weight causes big strain. Especially from the floor to the counter. It is so easy to mix some or all of BLT by mistake. I've been paranoid of the lifting thing enough that I have done really well with not breaking that rule. And it sucked for a few months because I could not pick up my grand baby. She would come running to me with her arms out. I had to sit on the floor and hug her instead. Boy that really hurt because she didn't understand why I didn't want to pick her up.

    Now the PT and stretching. Did your doc also tell you not to stretch at all? The PT, depending on who you have, can be quite brutal. Some basic stretching though has helped me a lot. Even if I didn't do PT. A few simple stretches in the morning helps me get moving. Then during the day to give my back a break. Then at night before bed to relax. Nothing fancy, but enough so it feels like some of the tightness releases a bit.

    My 6 month appointment went really well. I'm going to do an update in my journal when I get chance. Basically, I'm fusing, hardware looks good, surgeon is happy, I'm mostly happy, next visit at 1 year unless something happens.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Great news! I'm glad everything is going well for you. And I know exactly how you feel on the grand child. I have 2 yr. old twin girls. And its been the same thing for me. Breaks my heart. And then I end up breaking the rules a little bit!
    The surgeon said NO stretching prior to the 3 mo. check up. But that is also lifted. And like you, It dose help. And If I can get even a 30 min. walk in, that also helps at night. But when I sit and watch t.v. I stiffen back up.
    I've been real busy and not on here much. But I'm looking forward to your 6 mo. addition to your Journal and hope I don't miss it!
    Jelly, hang in there when they get it fixed I'm sure you'll see fusion! So in 4 wk. I hope to celebrate!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!

  • I also feel the pain of not being able to pick up my 3 year old granddaughter. She runs to her granddad with her arms out to be picked up. She doesn't do that to me :-( She knows that I can't pick her up. It breaks my heart.

    The surgeon told me to carry on with my life on Monday. I asked if that meant picking up my granddaughter and gardening. Sadly he said to wait 3 months before doing that! But those things are part of my life.
    I wonder how many of his patients overdo it because they aren't given any restrictions. He even told me I could drive and 'carry on with my life' at 10 days after fusion surgery! I was warned that he has this type of attitude and I could double the recovery time that he says! This was by a doctor who works closely with him.

    Enjoy getting back to your lives :D
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