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Anyone know the dynamics of what happens post ALIF?

Annie-mAAnnie-m Posts: 108
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,

I've been doing pretty good after my ALIF on April 11th. I am having some pains that I didn't have before the surgery. I can't figure out why I'm having them or if it's nerve, muscle or joint pains. What I'd like to find out are the dynamics of what happens after the surgery.

What I mean is does putting the hardware in with the screws and all cause bone pain. When the space is opened and the pressure taken off the nerve will the nerve/nerves wake up and hurt too.

See what I mean? Where can I find all specifics? :?

ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013


  • annie
    patience my dear patience - we have had our insides turned upside down and our spines forced open and foreign objects inserted!
    i am 8 weeks post and have lots of new pains that were not there prior surgery - the blessing is that they are temporary and go away if i slow down and rest.
    I found that learning how to walk again created the most new pains - the fact is that our gait ahs changed and the hips, pelvis, Si joint and all the muscles around them are getting used to a new dynamic and a new structural position. I am walking very straight, which is good but it sure feels weird!
    Bone pain is there when I sneeze/cough but its getting better - I am sure that forcing 4 screws into the bone causes bone pain all of its own.
    How about the underlying pain that you had pre surgery - does it feel like that has improved? if so then thats awesome and the rest will eventually fade.
    Hope you binned the idea of yoga or any other form of twisting exercise!!
    I got back to the gym 3 weeks ago just to be very gently stretched by my trainer - no twisitng jsut working out the ham strings/pirifomis, gluts IT band etc - they all go into a convulsion post surgery trying to protect the injured part so, if your Dr says its Ok and you have someone you trust that will do this for you it may help..
    However much we try we can't force this recovery - I have to continually remind myself of this and stoip when I feel tired - for example I am back at work for 4-5 hours a day but yesterday felt wiped so I stayed home (being the boss has very few benefits but this is one of them!)
    Chin up - keep the faith and we will get better
  • Hello everybody, I've been lurking for awhile and this is my first post.

    I know you asked about ALIF, but an AP procedure is an ALIF with a posterior procedure piggy-backed on.

    I am 59, male and I had a multi-level anterior/posterior LIF on March 2 and was hospitalized for 5 days. The surgery completely eliminated my symptoms, but like many, I developed new symptoms following the surgery. On my left side, the front of my thigh was completely numb and my hip flexors on that side were partially paralyzed. My surgeon, whom I think the world of and believe everything he tells me, told me these symptoms were "approach-related" and would resolve in 6-8 weeks. It has been a little over 8 weeks and they are resolving, but more slowly than he predicted.

    Before the surgery, my right leg had been mostly symptom-free but immediately after the surgery, I developed excruciating sciatic pain in the right leg, which really threw a fright into me. The doc told me that he thought it was nerve trauma from the surgery and might take several months to go away, but, I am happy to report that it is nearly completely gone after only 8 weeks - there's a little touch of neuropathy but nothing else. At 8 weeks plus, I am essentially pain-free - I don't even take tylenol.

    When I went in for my 6-week followup, x-rays showed visible bone growth at both grafts.

    As my doc said, though, my experience isn't typical, but I hope my story helps at least a little.

  • Adrian, It's funny how you mentioned how our gaits have changed. Just after I posted I went to the store and was telling my sister in law how the "swing in my hips" is one of the things that hurts so I've been walking different. So what I started doing was trying to walk normal. It's made a big difference! I'm not taking anymore pain pills! I'm still taking some Lyrica but that's it. I don't work anymore but if I get pooped out doing daily stuff I just stop. (|:

    cpeil2, good news that you symptoms were relieve but it sure does suck when the new ones appear. Let's hope all of our new ones go away as well! My major new pain is right at the top of my rump. It's most painful when I sit in straight backed chairs or when I'm on my PC. I have my six week on June 2nd and I hope I have bone growth too. I do have a new problem though and that is I think my incision is getting infected. I guess I better et that checked soon :''(
    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Annie-m said:

    I do have a new problem though and that is I think my incision is getting infected. I guess I better et that checked soon :''(

    Maybe it's a stitch abscess. Even though my incision has pretty much healed, just the other day I noticed a thing right at one of the margins that looked like a pimple or an ingrown hair which kind of stung a little.

    I decided to have it looked at so we could catch it early if it was an infection. The doc said it was a stitch abscess; advised me to keep it covered, use antibiotic ointment and clean with antibacterial soap - all of which I did. It drained for a day or so and now seems to be OK.
  • You're doing really well for only 3 weeks out. I'll "ditto" what the other two members have said about walking differently and feeling aches and pains in other parts of the body which weren't there pre-op. For most of us, it all settles down slowly. I was able to straighten up and gain an extra inch in height!

    Hope the rest of your recovery goes well and keep letting us know how you're getting on.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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