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Is 4 weeks long enough after L4-S1 fusion?

BunnysnaxBBunnysnax Posts: 36
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi guys!

I'm trying to see if I can hold off on my surgery until mid December (last semester of Master's degree), and would like to begin my doctorate classes in January, which I can take the first semester online <-- but that requires sitting up for a 3 hour online class with my laptop. :|

I've read over and over that sitting is a big no-no for lumbar surgeries for a while afterwards.

So, do you guys think that after 4 weeks post-op, I would be able to sit up with the laptop for a 3hr streamed class?


I appreciate all your thoughts and feedback!



  • i ill tell you what my consultant told me .i will be in hospital for up to 2 weeks and recovery will take up to three years .the first year being the worst.so no 4 weeks i doubt it very much
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • You might be able to on a Wing and Prayer which means not very likely that early. How old are you? I gather from you schooling that you are still fairly young so that works in your favor. You don't leave any leeway for something not going exactly as planned. 3 hours is a long time to sit without any back surgery let alone the possibility of being on meds which will mess with your staying awake. You will likely be very tired still. What would happen if you had to drop out on account of a medical condition?
  • Definitely things to consider. I thought it sounded (in my head) a bit too optimistic as well! LOL!
    I'm actually 41.

    From what I've read it seems that sitting is not a favorable thing...like, walking a bit is okay, but I suppose they want you lying flat for all that time - Gah! No wonder everyone feels depressed and going crazy!

    I see the NS in like 2 weeks, so I guess he'll have the final say if it's even safe to wait that long. flex/ext films show that its currently unstable...the spondy is moving 3mm in both directions...ah well.

    I appreciate that you shared your opinions. I guess I kinda knew it wasn't likely, but wanted to feel around anyways, ya know?
  • tape the class? Sitting for three hours would be pretty much unheard of at 4 weeks. You might be able to lie down and view the class, but you will not be able to stay in one place for 3 hours lying or sitting. I still can't sit for long without extensive pain and I'm 20 months out. Many fusion patients have to change position frequently due to pain.

    Sorry that you are having to go thru the fusion, and please understand that we hate to sound so negative, but you need to know what you are facing so you can manage with your life post fusion...forewarned is forearmed.

    Good luck,

  • Hello,

    Speaking from experience......I had my last lumbar fusion at age 38, I wouldn't want to sit for three hours four weeks after a double fusion. I have only had one level done at a time for the lumbars I have had done--and you're having two?

    If it were me, I wouldn't do it! I would recommend giving yourself the proper time to heal.

  • On May 18 of this year,I had a AILF/PILF L3/L5 which connected to my previously fused L5/S1. The surgery went extremely well and I was still in the hospital for 5 days. I timed the surgery to give me 2 weeks before I was to start my next semester of college classes. Let's just say that was a bit over optimistic of me to enroll! I put my big girl panties on and attempted to make it through the first week - that was as far as I got (and I had a fairly swift recovery compared to some folks who aren't as lucky). It's not only the surgical pain you will deal with (which was minimal), but it is also the muscle/ligament/tendon pain that you might experience from things being re-aligned and screwed into their correct places. That is the pain I didn't foresee! Quite frankly, it's really not even the PAIN that prevents you from your studies - it's the pain meds and muscle relaxers that keep your brain from soaking in any information what-so-ever!

    My advice is this - I know how hard it is to imagine yourself sitting out a semester, especially when you are so close to attaining one goal and moving forward to the next. You body will have a different goal in mind after surgery - and that goal is recovery. Surgery is somewhat of a crap shoot. Some recover well, some don't, and the smallest of things could be the difference.

    Take some time off of school. Buy lots of plastic utensils and paper plates before the surgery - the last thing you will want to do is lean over a sink to wash dishes anytime in the near future. You might be surprised how hard it is just to wash your hands! Everything will hurt after surgery, but having your goals and your optimism will help you IMMENSLY after you surgery and I DO foresee a speedy recovery for you!
  • Hi Sleepgirl! Thanks for your kind words. Yeah, I know you guys aren't bein' negative. I mean, it's a big deal type of surgery and honestly I figured it would not be a really feasible thing. I appreciate that you shared your experience - helps keep me in a realistic frame of mind!

    Thanks Charlie! Yeah, I see what you mean. It sure looks like you've been thru the ringer with your spine as well. Sheesh, I wish we designed better! Hahaha

    Heya Ebinca! Wow - your post really sunk in, too. Especially when you were feeling the exact same pressure I was about school. I mean, there really isn't ever a "good" time to do a lumbar fusion, but when you're in school, it sux even more!

    And I thought I was ambitious! LOL! You really tried to go to a physical class! YIKES! I can't even imagine how crippled you felt after that week! I'm sure I'm gonna be picking your brains as my surgery looms closer. Great advice about the paper plates!

    I imagine that it's all those "little" things that we soooo often take for granted that will drive us insane. I mean, just getting a soda outta the fridge will be a no-no for a while - sheesh.

    Well, I guess you guys have certainly put me back into "realistic" mode. We all like to think we're superwomen (and men) who can just have the best recovery that the world's ever seen! LOL! And while it's certainly good to have an optimistic state of mind in considering your healing and overall success, but we do have to realize that this is a major surgery and not one to take lightly.

    Thanks again, guys. It's so awesome to hear everyone's stories and what their experiences have been. It really helps those of us who are "in the chute!" LOL!

    You guys rock! thanks so much!
  • hi there,
    I see folks have given you some great info and feedback. I have to agree with all, they are right on track :)
    I also like to think of the best possible outcome and have to admit I thought I was a bit of a superwoman too.
    I have had 2 surgeries this year, the second a TLIF in May. Recovery is slow, but moving ahead on most days.
    Give yourself the time you need to heal.
    I would also say that it is best to have the surgery done when the doc advises and not to postpone too long. I ended up doing quite a bit of damage by pushing to long and hard.
    take care of yourself!
  • I appreciate your well wishes!

    I totally can see where you're coming from. That Superwoman thing will do us all in! LOL! And that frame of mind is difficult when we're HEALTHY! LOL!

    Yeah, I'm hoping to get it done soon as I don't want my left leg to be forever either burning or numb. I guess I'll find out what I should do on Aug. 2nd when I see the NS again.

    I hope you're recovery is still progressing. Alot of people here reference the Turtle and the Hare story! try to remember that "slow and steady wins the race," hon!
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