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Help needed post op

juggle5jjuggle5 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Recovering from Surgery

I need to have a two level (L4 - S1) fusion. We haven't figured out whether it will be ALIF, TLIF or a combination of XLIF and AxialIF. I am on my own and need to figure out what sort of assistance I will need post op. I realize the procedure will dictate that a bit, but just trying to get an idea so I can plan for importing family and close friends for assistance. Based on what I have read on this forum nothing seems to go as planned. I would appreciate some thoughts as to what sort of assistance I will need to plan for, up thru 3 months post op..



  • Hi Juggle and welcome to the spine board :)

    I can't help you (sorry) but I know there is a lot of information posted here about what you are asking. Hopefully a more knowledgeable member will come by and post the inf for you :)
    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.
  • I haven't had surgery just wanted to share a post op must have post with you and hopefully you'll have a family member for about a week with you if possible. I'm sure others who've had surgery will be along soon.http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/post-op-must-haves-0 When is your surgery date? Take care and bye for now. http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/post-op-must-haves-0 Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Im 6 1/2 weeks post op from an alif l5/s1 fusion,so hopefully i can help in giving you some kind of idea, with the exception that we are all different but our activities of daily living are the same more or less.

    Ive had help (and still do) with cleaning, ironing, loading washer/dryer.

    Any activity which requires bending below the waist, you will need some assistance. Some jobs can be done if you bend at the knees and keep the load to your body, but not always practical if pain happens with every movement!

    Shopping and putting them away into your fridge/cupboards - its surprising how heavy items are after surgery!

    Hmm hygiene needs - bath with me was a no no, no way i could have hoisted myself in and out although i can now :). Not sure if your male or female, but if your female, shaving them legs will be difficult :).Showers are the way forward for a while.

    Driving - i managed 5 minutes drives from 4 weeks, so any post op checks, help taking you to them would be a bonus.

    get your bowel movement laxatives stocked up :). Also, with having the ALIF, crikes your stomach will be bloated and from my experience, i had griping, trapped wind from the intestines being paralysed and all the opiods. Peppermint oil in warm water was a god send for me, i'd recommend it to everone having this surgery.

    From 6 weeks post op, i now drive short distances, do tiny shopping at the grocery but have yet to tackle ironing, although i can wash/dry my clothes. For travel of more than 5 minutes by car, i get my husband to drive.

    Everyones recovery is different, but i hope i have helped a little in helping you arrange help.

    L5/s1 discectomy & decompression 2009
    ALIF l5/s1 2011
    Awaiting X-ray & consultant to see if fused, but experiencing a lot of pain again :( 2013
  • Getting the surgical stockings back on after a shower is impossible by yourself! There was no way I could have bent that far and they are so tight.
    I had PLIF and an initial wound infection so needed help to put dressings back on after showering for 6 weeks! At least if you have ALIF you can sort that yourself.
  • Carol / Nel

    Thanks so much for your responses, that is just what I was looking for.
    Hope you are both doing well

  • Wishing you a good recovery. totally agree with nel, i forgot about the stockings - really hard work to put on and make your legs skin dry.

    the first month or so, you will be very restricted, but i promise it gets easier. be ready to feel aches and pains all over your back, up and down. im 6-7 weeks now, and getting stronger, but very back mindful as you will become.

    hope your op goes well.

    L5/s1 discectomy & decompression 2009
    ALIF l5/s1 2011
    Awaiting X-ray & consultant to see if fused, but experiencing a lot of pain again :( 2013
  • Just wanted to drop a note to all who are seeking information on spinal fusion. I had spondylolisthesis, disc herniation, and bad compression of nerves. I surfed the net and read all the horror stories which made me so scared. I suffered way longer than needed, I should have listened to my surgeon and not the internet! Well now 5 months post op from anterior and posterior fusion I can safely say that the surgery was the best decision I've ever made. I was back at work 2wks after surgery, however I probably should have taken 3 weeks off. I started PT at 3wks post-op and continued for 10 weeks, would have gone longer but they kicked me out because I was doing too well. I needed daily help for the first 2 weeks, then help around the house a few days a week from weeks 2 - 8. Now I feel great and have no restrictions. I walk 4-5 times a week for an hour without any pain, before surgery I couldn't walk for 5 minutes without excrutiating pain. My life has dramatically changed for the better. Good luck to everyone needing surgery.

    40yrs old, Grade 2 spondylolisthesis, disc herniated L5/S1.
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