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Three months after ALIF and PLIF surgery

laurahollis08llaurahollis08 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I'm new to this web site, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I feel like I'm the only person out there with my issues. I don't get good information from my Doctors, because they are always so busy at my appt. times. I just had ALIF and PLIF surgery in May. They replaced two discs and put eight screws in including the two screws they put in each hip. I'm 42 yrs. old and wonder what quality of life I'm going to have. I have a court date in Oct. for disability. I'm really nervous, and don't know what to expect. I had to move in with my daughter 14 months ago so I could have this surgery, and now wonder if I'll ever be able to live o my own. I just had my three month appt. at which time I found out I had screws in my hips, which is probably why I feel like a duck when I walk. I was told I have to wear this brace for two more months. I think my back hurts more with it on. I would just like to know what to expect, and what quality of life I'm going to have. Sitting and walking are still hard for me, as well as driving. I would love to hear from someone that has had the same surgery as me.


  • Hi Laura,

    Welcome to Spine Health. This site has been a life saver for me before and after my surgery. I had a PLIF on 2 level L4,L5 and S1 on March 1st of this year. I have been off of work since but hope to return soon. I had to wear my brace for the first 3 months anytime I was out of bed. I was weird in that I liked my brace..because without it my back felt like a noodle..very unstable. It doesn't feel that way now but it took a good month out of my brace for my muscle to strengthen enough to support me.

    You are not alone in your doubts and fears. I am almost 6 months out and still need pain meds 3 or 4 times a day..I still need help with many things. My husband has helped me tremendously. I did not have any problems with my hips so I cannot relate to that. You state you had 2 disc replacements..I didn't realize they did actual disc replacements on more than one level...

    I have my days when I get upset with how long the recovery is. I am 38 and a nurse but it didn't prepare me for how hard this recovery is. The 1st 2 months were the worse for me emotionally. But I have days when I still cry and want my life back.

    Hang in there..Come here anytime for support. The people here are wonderful, supportive and non judgemental.

  • Hi Laura! I also had a 360 exactly 6 months ago! I struggle to believe it has been 6 months! I heard them say 12-18 months, but I thought , "not ME, I am "young", strong, athletic, I'll be back to 'normal' by 3-6 months"....HA

    I started PT on day 14, herniated the level above my fusion around the 2 month mark, returned to work at week 16 and still struggle with working, although it is getting better, (my job is very physcial). Around month 5, I had an easier time taking care of the house although I still don't do the floors, I probably could if I had to.

    I still struggle with over doing, I had a friend visiting last week and I over did it and didn't rest. The kids went back to school this week, so it has been one long week!

    But, I am getting there. I am very active by nature and it is so hard for me to slow down. I am back to full days of activity, between working, being a mom, wife, etc...

    My bone graph site is the biggest source of my pain. I still take meds and with the new herniation, I don't know if I will ever be able to totally quit. I take 5 mg oxicodone a day, 2-3 flexerils, 60 mg neurontin and cymbalta.

    Driving was hard for me until aroung the 4-5th month. I stopped PT around 14 weeks due to my new herniation...I have been doing aquatics and walking.

    I don't know how I could of made it thru this journey if it were not for the people on th site! They are amazing! Feel free to ask any questions or PM if you want to!

    We are all here for you! Wishing you the very best!
  • Hi Laura et. al,
    I had ALIF/PLIF at the end of April, 4 level fusion (L2-S) with instrumentation. I saw the doc at 3 months and everything looks good. I am in physical therapy and I also go to a pool for water exercise and I also go to a gym. I faithfully do my stretches at least once a day.
    I am off narcotics and am taking Lyrica for a couple of months to treat some radicular pain from a previous surgery.
    I agree that the back brace is the pits. I had mine 3 months. I agree with Tonya that without it, I felt like a wet noodle and unable to support myself. So now I do all my prescribed exercise to strengthen my core.
    I found it hard to get off the narcotics and I really worked at that. There were days when the recovery was overwhelming and sometimes even now I'm frustrated with how long this takes.
    I am back to doing laundry, some cooking, grocery shopping, driving, etc. I am still a little weak and am working to get stronger to have better endurance. Sitting is no problem. Standing (washing dishes) was initially difficult but it has gotten much better. Walking and stairs are difficult but there is progress.
    I, too, say hang in there. I found it does get better though sometimes I don't think I'm making progress. This is a long recovery.
  • .I had my surgery one month.ago yes there is pain but my.neuro surgeon told me to.wean off of.the corsette it I guess I am doing pretty good ..they removed three disc I have 4 cagesn,8 screws,2 rods one cadaver bone material.my Dr told me that my surgery. Was only 2nd to scololosis I had given my brother a kidney 32 year's ago and the scar. Tissue from that caused him a lot of problems. I was in the2 hospital for 8 days and they had to give me 2 pints of blood. I really wanted to die those first five days in the hospital ..now I am walking a mile a day then I rest I canclean my house using a dust mop.thank God I have hardwood floors I have had a great support system my pain that I have now is surgery pain. I love.my surgeon
  • Yes my neuro. Surgeon told me it would be a yr of hard.work.but at around 8momths they will remove the.rods and screws oh and the plate on L3 the cages remain forever.
  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 06/24/2012 - 8:09 AM
    i am 6 months post ALIF [3 level ] i only found out it was 3 level recently so older post will say 2 level ] its L4/L5and S1] I AM STILL IN LOTS OF PAIN .and sleep is almost impossible .its looking like the operation is a fail regarding pain control ,unfortunately as there is nothing left for me to try next ,after the hell i went through during and after the ALIF i wont be having anymore surgery anyway .i am not happy .
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • That still sounds like a two level. Mine is from L3-S1 what are dr
    telling you? I feel so bad for you I think maybe you need a second opinion I don't know what in in front of yet either. .would I do.the surgery again? Oh yes they are calling mine a three level I.saw the best surgeons. I pray that you.look for and.do research. On a good. Spine/neuro surgeon
    Best of Luck
    tri level.fusion may23 2012 and May.25
  • I am now 13 months after a revision for a failed PLIF. Just cleared to start PT a month ago to strengthen my core muscles. I have the one screw into the pelvis that limits my movement on that side a little. There are no plans to remove any of the hardware.

    I was able to go back to work full time at 3 months, but sitting only really got better at 9 months. I was able to turn enough to be a safe driver at 6 months. I am able to do all normal activities and my neurosurgeon says I will see further improvement over the next year.

    Hang in there! Work at becoming fit (I took up ski-walking), swim if allowed and work with the PT. I have found that a really strong core can support the spine a lot and it has taken care of most of my remaining discomfort.
  • So, i am curious as to why the rofs and svrews were planned to be removed? Did the result justify the re operation?
    John Hugo
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Hello johnhugo !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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