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Considering ALIF for L5-S1

karlyylrakkkarlyylrak Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am looking to find others who have gone through a simliar procedure.

I've had spine issues since 1999. I had a discectomy L5-S1 in November of 1999 and for several years I only had occasional back pain from overuse. This summer I pulled my back three differnt times and now have limited mobility. I have had to leave work and cannot sit, stand or walk for longer than 10-20 mins. The current MRI shows severe degeneration at that level and the bulging disc is causing nerve pain that radiates into my left leg.

My doctor wanted me to have an injection but I decided that wasn't a good option for me because in the past they have been ineffective. I have been doing physical therapy for 4 months now and although I have better flexability and strength the back and nerve pain isn't lessening and I feel that I have plateued.

I am now considering surgery with the thought that it may give my relief to my current condition. Does any one have any information and/or advice?



  • I had a microdisectomy done in 2005 but now my l5-s1 is severly degenerated with annular tears. Have you gotten any other opinions and other tests done? I had to get a mylegram, discogram, EMG, and ct scan. I have consulted with many doctors and that has helped to see different points of view and what surgical methods might help.
  • Sorry to hear of your long history of pain.

    I agree with Mkim, have you had 2nd opinion? I assume with your long history you have had testing.

    I am 12 weeks out ALIF L4-5 and not doing all that well. I opted for anterior approach as the recovery should be quicker then PLIF. I have experienced a hosts of post op issues. Next Monday I'm going for a Myelogram. I have other problematic levels so not sure why or where all my pain & weakness is coming from. But that is MY experience, others have different outcomes.

    Do your homework Karly, other then your NS or OS you need a good vascular surgeon to do approach & close.

    Good luck.

  • I had an ALIF on L4-5 last year and mine is successful and I have my life back. I had a solid fusion by 6 months out.

    It was 7 months out before I started to feel "normal" but from what I understand, the initial recovery is easier than posterior fusions. I had nausea and stomach swelling for a few months afterwards, but I think that's to be expected.

    I have a friend who had an ALIF on L5-S1 and she's very happy with her fusion and enjoying life.

    As Virginia said, do your homework before seeing a NS. It takes a lot of preparation of the mind to be ready to face major spinal surgery and then to get all the post-op must-haves in place. Recovery takes several months and there are bending-lifting-twisting restrictions.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I had ALIF at l-4 l-5 november 1 st and its going ok its slow but the pain is better than it was before surgery! and went to my 1 st dr apt and things look good the numbness is gone in my left leg witch was the one that was unberable the right is still a lil pain and numbness but its still early! I WOULD RECOMMEND ALIF TO ANYONE! ITS BETTER THAN SUFFERING!
  • I had alif on l4-s1 nov.30-10. 2 weeks ago, and they also opened my back and put screws in and fused the facets. Honestly, the surgical pain did hurt, but I wasnt in much worse shape painwise than before surgery.

    Before surgery, I kept trying to work as a construction electrician, moving heavy ladders and lots of climbing and pulling. It's very physical, but I just kept taking pain meds to get by. My decision to get the surgery done, was when my family said that even if I could live with it, they couldn't any longer. Evidently I was grouchy and unsociable. I was walking the day of surgery and went home after the 2nd day. The pain meds control the pain well, and although I take it easy alot, I'm still walkiing the kids an 1/8 mile to the bus stop and even walked around some stores in the 2 weeks since. So far, I haven't regretted the surgery, and it hasn't been as bad as I have read. Hope this helps, as living in pain can be done, but I don't think it's worth it.
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