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3 Days Post Op L5-S1 Fusion and T12-L1 Hardware Removal

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hello all, I hope you are all feeling okay. I have mostly been a lurker on the Spine Health boards but today I was given an old laptop so I will have regular internet access from now on. I had an emergency T12-L1 fusion with an orthopedic doctor back in January, and I have been in incredible pain since that surgery. I finally found a highly respected neurosurgeon in June and he ran his own set of tests on me and enlightened me on many things that my old orthopedic surgeon chose not to tell me. We decided to go ahead with a surgery to do my L5-S1 hernation and to re-explore my T12-L1 surgery site to try to get rid of my pain there. I was planning to do my surgery in November, but last week I began to experience urinary problems and extremem weakness in my legs again, to the point that I was actually falling. So this past Friday I came into the ER and he admitted me for pain control (20 mg Percocet every 4 hours was not even touching my pain) so that he could do the surgery this week.
He did my surgery on Monday afternoon. He took my hardware out of my T2-L1 fusion, he said the screws were popping out so hopefully that was what was causing most of the pain. I made sure that I got to keep the screws so I could show everyone in my family what had been causing me so much pain! He also did a laminectomy and fusion on my L5-S1 level, and I think he put a disc implant in there as well. It is now 3 days later and I just now was able to get my brace on today and sit in a chair. I have been in so much pain, despite getting .2mg every 6 minutes plus a .2 basal, for a total of 2.2mg/hr on my PCA Dilaudid pump. The anesthesiologist kept telling me I was maxed out on the pump - but it was not controlling my pain even with Flexeril, Ativan, and Toradol. Finally today they upped my PCA to getting .3mg every 6 minutes, with a .2 basal, giving me a total of 3.2mg/hr and I feel a little bit better, but my surgeon is getting a consult from pain management to try to get me onto pills so I can go home, but that really scares me. For some reason I have such a high tolerance to pills and I don't want to end up back in the hospital for pain control! Please wish me luck with recovery because I have a beautiful 2 year old girl to take care of. I will be updating on my condition regularly. Thanks for reading!


  • Hi there Rachel,

    Welcome to SH even if you have been a lurker. This site does provide an amazing amount of information and support.

    I do hope the removal of the hardware helps the pain. I bet adding hardware after the trouble you've had must have been a tough choice. You seem to have complete confidence in your surgeon and that's half the battle sometimes. I do wish you well and hope the pain can be controlled. Your high tolerance to pain medication doesn't sound too abnormal. You have been through a lot and still going through more. A good Pain Management Specialist should be able to assist your surgeon a great deal in finding meds that will work for you. Just getting home maybe a big relief, too!

    Best wishes on a speedy recovery and please keep us posted.

  • I had the Hardware removed from my L5-S1 Fusion on the 2oth of Dec.2o11.(it was installed (6-06) And from the moment I woke up I could feel a difference. That golfball sized knot was gone from my back.Along with the stabbing sensation that went along with it.
    Don't get me wrong this still hurts like hell but it's a different kind of pain.I think it's probably just the surgery area itself because of its locality and the fact that it is getting better everyday.
    I actually sat behind my drums for a minute today and have pretty good leg strength back in both legs but I'm not going to push it for a while.I like the possibility that this may be the last of my severe back pain.
    This may be the best Christmas I've had in a long time.
    Anyway If this is a procedure you are considering I highly recommend it if your Doctor says it's cool to take it out.
    It really seems to have helped with my pain. I'll keep you updated.
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