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L5 S1 Discectomy on Friday

cmaccaccmacca Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I am getting closer to my long awaited L5 L1 Disectomy, now only a few days to wait, but I have no idea what to expect, how long will I be in hospital and what will the healing process be like ?, I have never been in hospital in my life and am worried about all sorts of stupid things. Any tips on recovery and any tips on what to take with me into hospital ?



  • your operation is a small operation as back operation go .don't worry too much as soon as the cannula is in the back of your hand you wont remember anyhting ! recovery is quick with that operation are you having a micro discectomy or an open prosedur? you should be in hospital for about 3 days maybe 4 post operative pain is well controlled these days you can chose to have a device that delivers a pre set amount of morphine at set intervals {called a PAC} or 4 hour IM injections ..when you get home a good purchase is a recliner and a memory foam overlay for your bed .you will be in pain for about 6 weeks but it will be different from what you had when you went in hospital.recovery is normally about 6 months if all is well .the bad news is that you will almost certainly require revision surgey as the years roll on ..normally ten years ,,but the thing to do is not focus on that just enjoy life as and when you can .a good TENS machine will help i use the acticare but there are many others available .take your favorite stuff in hospital with you .like your favorite pillow and lip balm and bottled water and anything you use at home that you will miss .good luck and keep us informed
    tony {UK}
    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
  • Just to let you know I had L5S1 micro disc Aug 17. I had procedure done as day surgery; low blood pressure kept me in for one night for observation. Discharged next day and recovering at home reading/light walks. Very lucky to have my wife and pre-teen kids who take very good care of me and do what needs to be done.

    Post surgery pain - it only hurts when you move :) but controlled with meds. Now 6 days post-op, I am following doctor's orders and going for short walks daily and no bending, lifting or twisting. I just had first day with no meds today.

    Let us know how you are doing on the other side.

  • Thanks for your replies :-), Jeff if I get out the same day or the next day, I will be a very happy person, think the stay in hospital is what is worrying me the most.

    I will update how I get on, hopefully all will be well, off now to add pillow and lip blam to my packing list (thanks Tony :-) )
  • hi i had a micro on l5-s1 on 1/8/11 i was in overnight after the op and the night before the op.they get u up nxt day and if you can walk and function they send u home in the uk they do anyway.ur stay will be boring lol lots of needles but u wont remember the op.a pillow is good advice wish id taken 1 in.cant sleep on a wafer!also munchies as if you miss food due to op time or you being sleep after op u be starving!i had very low blood pressure after & was woken all the time to be checked and given drips.dont expect to come home and feel gr8 tho.u will need pain meds if you have people at home that can help thats gr8 unfort i dont so doing everything alone is difficult.ask for a stick or crutch itll come in handy.just remember if you feel your having a good day do not overdo it!!you will regret it the next!u can reasonably expect to have ups and downs and weird and wonderful new pains.and by the time ur stitches or clips come out you will be dying for a shower lol sponge baths just feel the same!!i wish u luck and hope all goes well and you have a gr8 recovery.but i think sometimes we go in with false expectations of how we will be afterwards we listen to the dont this n that for 6 weeks and think yeah yeah but sometimes you cant physically do those things anyway lol.im not!trying to scare you or put a dampener on it for you just i wish someone had warned me i wouldnt feel instantly brilliant and recovery is weeks not days.:) best of luck
  • Operation went well on Friday, I was the last one down and didnt get into the ward until approximately 7PM, I had a restless night due to having load blood pressure I was woken a lot to check things which of course they have to do, got discharged the next morning, didnt see the surgeon so have no idea if op wa sucessful or not, Saturday and Sunday at home were very painful, more pain than I had ever imagained from the wound site, sleeping was a case of get in one position and stay there all night, the only pain killers I was discharged with were Paracetamol so not a lot of help, I have been taking my co-codamol that I had before the op 30/500, but today is a different story, pain in my leg that is 10 times worse than I ever had before the op, it is in a different place, just above the kneee and down to my foot, not pain upwards to my bum which there was before the op, is this normal ?, is it the nerves healing ?, I am scared it has all gone wrong :-(
  • Welcome to spine-health and to the "other side" Glad to here that you are home now, let the recovery begin.

    During the surgery the nerves are disturbed and are very angry afterward so pain may increase. Depending how long your nerve was impinged before surgery also comes in to effect with recovery.

    If you are concerned, call your surgeon to let them know your new symptoms. Otherwise, take it easy, get lots of rest. Try to take small frequent walks, resting in between. Do you have anyone at home with you to help you out with things?

    Wishing you all the best with your recovery. It does take time. I am almost 8 weeks out. Judge your progress by weeks rather than days. Please keep us updated on how you are doing. We are here for you!

    >:D< Karen

    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • A week ago today was the day of my op and I have to day that I am feeling much better now than I thought possible, I am able to sit for as long as I want, I can get up the stairs, I can shower myself etc etc, I am not lifting anything heavy and if I need to bend it is being done at the knees, the pain I expereience in the leg just came and went, there is a dull pain in my leg and the wound is still quite sore, but I feel OK and am now thinking what I should do with the next week off work ??

    Good luck to all of you recovering out there, I know it is different for everyone, maybe I am just lucky and I hope to god I wont be on here in a week or so saying that I have done to much and have a rehernitation.

    I dont have any appointments to see the surgeon as yet so I am not sure if my progress is normal, I have to see my GP on Tuesday to get my stitches out and hopefully all will be OK there.

    On the subject of driving, did anyone get signed off to drive quicker than 6 weeks ?, my discharge letter says no driving for 6 weeks but I am hoping to drive at 4 weeks, how do I get signed off to drive earlier and will I be insured ?

  • Depending on the surgery will affect when you can drive. At 2 weeks I was told I could drive if I felt comfortable doing so but no turning around when driving in reverse. I told the Nurse Practice that I never turn around when in reverse any way so no biggee. I have only driven short distances from week 2-5. Like 1mile or less but today had to make an emergency run to the airport. Was doing errands for daughter and then drive 45 min back and forth to airport so that was way too much for me almost 6 weeks post op from 2 level
    ALIF and posterior rods and screws. ( pretty heavy duty surg)
  • I was cleared to drive at 2 weeks out. My area does not have much in the way of public transit or necessities in walking distance, though. I limited it as much as possible and made sure to use the mirrors in reverse.
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