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Range of motion after fusion

B52BB52 Posts: 247
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
G'day y'all! Hey, lemme ask ya something. I'm up for a revision of my original L5S1 fusion (which failed). Anyhow, the orthopedic surgeons are deciding between a two level, 360 fusion or maybe a three-level, L3-4-5-S1 360. What I wonder this morning is this. How much loss of motion will I notice afterward? Am I going to walk around like I'm strapped to a spineboard? Will I be able to put on my own shoes or (forgive this) wipe my own butt? Or will I still have enough motion left to function more or less normally? Either way, I'm going to have to have this done, so I'm just kinda trying to get prepared. Thanks

Peace out


  • Aaron,
    I had a 5 level 360 fusion done 4 years ago. I have full range of motion bending forward, no issues with shoes. However, I have limited movement bending back. Reaching for something up high is an issue. Wiping yourself is also a slight issue but (not butt) you will adapt.
    You will certainly have range of motion issues right after your surgery and for some months after.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • I lost 14% bending forward after surgery. Before being hurt, I could touch fingers to the floor. I cant come close to that now. Leaning backwards is also a problem.

    I get rated down on that everytime I have I have a physical at work.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Hey, thanks for your reply. That's just what I was wanting to know! I'd think a 14% or so loss in ROM would be acceptable really. Of course, I guess I'll have to accept whatever, but I was kind of hoping that I don't end up walking around looking like I'm doing the robot or something (apologies to anyone who does walk around looking like they're doing the robot).

  • I have been able to touch my toes for some months now, but like the other notes on here, have more problems leaning back, but then lets face it - how often do we actually lean backwards?
    Im not saying it was a breeze right after the op but it does get better
  • I have my L4-S1 fused and I didn't loose alot of my ROM. I was happy with the results. Now I'm having my L3-L4 fused on the 21st of this month and I'm worried about how much I will loose this time. I'm afraid I will look like that walking robot. I to would like to hear from someone that has 3 levels fused at the lower level.

    Thanks and Good Luck!
  • Glad to hear you're doing as well as you are Keith. You and Wendie both seem to have the same levels fused and both sound pretty flexible. That's my hope for myself anyhow. I would imagine that with each lumbar level fused, you'd lose an exponentially higher level of ROM. I don't know though. I don't guess we have to much flexion in our thoracic spine, and with only 5 lumbar vertebrae...well, I'd think a 3 level fusions would stiffen us up some. Just me guessing...and worrying

  • What you all are calling stiff as a robot is probably good posture lol ;)

    So many people have poor posture that up right looks abnormal to us

    I am kind of kidding about the posture.

    However I would loved to stand stiff and completly upright - rather then the stupped over that I am now :(

    Funny this ROM subject. I just had both my knees replaced and ROM is ALL I hear from the DRS and PT. If we don't get to a certain level of ROM we have to have more surgery.

    PS: They do make really nice attachable badays -
    This is the one I was going to buy, but ended up using something else instead:
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I'm fused L3-S1 and no one notices. People in fact think I'm lying when I point from "here to here" in my fusion range. I will never be doing back bends, yoga poses, etc. But on the average day I don't look as if I'm walking perfectly upright. I even find myself slouching (which I should not do). When bending over to touch my toes or lean back (PT and spine surgeon wanted to see how far I have in range) I'm sure it's then noticeable. But for the most part people around me would never know unless they saw the scar. I'm just more careful about how I bend, such as straight back vs bending over, etc.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • On the lower levelsan issue. IIt has no impacty. I can bend forward easily. Backward t the scmore than the discs. For me the roning backwards, I mean wayds.



    Any exeu do that req extensiou will need and want to sorwards to be a comple-issue.
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