I am scheduled for TLIF surgery on Tuesday, 8/2/11. They will be doing a laminectomy and discectomy on L4, L5S1 and putting in 6 screws and 4 rods, crushing up the bone from the laminectomy for the autograft fusion. They will be removing several synovial cysts as well, and doing any "clean-up" work needed. I am told it will be a posterior entry with about a 6-8 inch incision. Has anyone had similar surgery that would share their post-op experience?
My background: Degenerative Disc Disease, with lower back problems since age 20. Now 52 years old and L4 & L5S1 facet joints are totally shot, and synovial cysts are present and impeding the nerve roots. I have been in considerable pain for almost 10 years now, and have had to rely on pain medication just to continue working for the past 5 years. I have tried PT, pain blocks, joint injections, decompression, etc, etc, over the past 10 years, and have repeated all alternatives to surgery again in the past year, just to say I tried - but all have failed. In the last two years, the pain has become almost unbearable at times, with constant nerve pain running from my back through my buttocks, the backs of my legs and calves, and down to my feet. I get extreme pain and muscle spasms in my lower back with any walking or standing over 3-5 minutes. I have not been able to perform a lot of the ADL's that I should. I live alone and have not been able to prepare meals, clean house, go to the grocery store, walk down the driveway to my mailbox, etc, etc, etc. I have been unable to participate in any social activities and my quality of life has greatly dimenished due to the pain. I have finally found a neurosurgeon that I trust and that is willing to do the surgery. Of course, they cannot cure the degenerative disc disease, but have advised that there is a 70% chance (standard odds for spinal fusion)that I will get some pain relief and will be able to have a somewhat normal life at least for a few more years. I am now willing and ready to take the gamble!