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Timing of surgery..

mkim680mmkim680 Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been contemplating for a while whether to get a fusion surgery or not. I have been on many consultations visiting neurosurgeons and orthopedics who all recommend getting a ALIF with possible lumbar decompression surgery. I'm wondering though when would be the best time to get it done. My wife is expecting a baby in december and i was not sure whether to do it before or after her delivery. I have read on these forums here that it can take 3-6 months to fuse and almost a year for the fusion to be really strong. Also, i worry a lot about the adjacent segments degenerating. My fusion would be at the l5 s1. Any advice would be great and what to do after the fusion surgery to make my chances greater of delaying adjacent segment degeneration.



  • Well you are in a prediciment, but then there is never any easy time for surgery. I guess you need to think about this, if your wife would have the baby and needed help for say the following three months or so could you honestly go almost another year without surgery? Your the only one who can best know what kind of pain your in and how much you can handle. I would also talk to your surgeons about if you did the surgery now what is the reality you would be mobil by then. Maybe try putting it from the aspect of they are male surgeons when you had your children would you have been able to do all of this. If you were to go to surgery by August that would give 3 months with surgery behind you if all goes as planned. But then again some of them babies get tired of the oven as well. I think this is also a subject you need to visit with your wife and do all the pro's and con's and what not.

    You could be one of the lucky ones with surgery that you do so well and you never look back and it never interfers with your son or daughter either. But I would have a serious discussion with your wife and the surgeon you are electing to use. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Congrats on the baby!! It's nice to hear good things around here.

    As far as timing here's my thought. If you can in any way wait until Spring I would. Let your wife be the center of attention having the baby and for a few months beyond. By Spring you will be past the middle of the night feedings and constant care.

    Then you could have your surgery and be home to take care of the baby for a while. With my kids 3-9 months was the easiest time because they slept and ate well but weren't too mobile yet.

    Of course you need to talk to your wife and consider your pain levels. And that all important money issue since both events will mean time out of work for both of you. I can't wait to hear what you decide. Keep us posted.
  • Congratulations on the baby arriving in December=D>

    Recovery does take a long time for most of us. I had an ALIF last year and I got immediate relief from the leg pain and now nearly 10 months out, 80% of my back pain is gone. I still can't sit for long periods and need to get up and walk and stretch and then do something else.

    During recovery, you'll be need to rest a lot as well as lots of short walks. My surgery was in the Spring and I was able to walk every day once I was at the stage where I could go outside the house. Being able to walk and sit in the sunshine is very healing.

    Timing will depend on how long you can cope with the pain and knowing that your wife won't be able to help you during the first few months after your baby has arrived. Do you have family and friends who can help you? I had a domestic service come in every week to clean the house for 4 months. I also cooked and froze meals to last for a few months. Initially I found it hard to ask for help, but friends were willing to be there for me, and now I can be there for them.

    I was fused at 6 months but it takes longer for the fusion to become strong.

    As far as the adjacent levels go, we all hope that we won't need further surgery. I have a friend who has never needed more surgery since he was fused (lumbar and cervical). For myself, I walk every day and do Tai Chi and hope that I'll be ok, but I was told at the time of surgery that L3-4 and L5-S1 weren't too good and it was a wait and see situation. My goal is to keep the core and other muscles strong and hope that they will support my spine.

    You would be much younger than me and your surgeon may recommend modifying your activities because you'll always need to remember good back mechanics.

    I'm sure you and your wife will make the right decision for you.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    At first I was going to say do it now so you can be ready for the baby, but then I read the other posts and agree that maybe after is better. Unless you were scheduled for tomorrow and would be 3-4 months post op when the baby comes.

    With pregnancy you never know when a baby might come early, your wife may need bed rest before delivery, etc. So you wouldn't both want to be on bed rest together. Once you know the baby has arrived, mom and baby are healthy, and you can then undergo surgery. What does make it a bit tougher is with the baby you'll be #2 in line for attention at home after but with the surgery you are proposing I don't think it will be a problem.

    It took me 17 years to need an additional level added, but it wasn't due to disc problems at all.

    There's a high probability the surgery will help your pain and then with proper body mechanics you may never need another level looked at. And if you ever do I can tell you this one was easier than my original fusion with hardware. I am so glad I've had this done.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I just wanted to confirm my own hunch that I should wait until after my wife delivers. At first I wanted to schedule the surgery in September, but after reading a lot post-op posts on this site its not guaranteed how i will feel afterwards and the length of the recovery. When the baby is born I will have my friends help me who are all nearby. The nice thing with living in New York is that everything is within walking distance. I cant wait until the surgery in the spring to get my life back. I use to be very active and now I can't exercise without suffering right afterwards.
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