Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

4 weeks post AILF l5 S1

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone,
I have a few post op questions i hope I could get some answers from anyone who has gone thru fusion before,
*how many weeks post op were you able to drive?
*by week four how far were you walking per day
*did you have an x'ray to see if the fusion had worked and how long after surgery was this done?
*when did you go back to work?
Any information would be appreciated
Thankyou Liz

Injury march 2010
L5 S1 12mm herniation with compression
Sept 2010- open laminectomy/disectomy
March 2011-open laminectomy/disectomy due to spinal chord compression.
Aug 2011- AILF, with graft and cage.


  • its third time lucky for me too .i have not yet had my ALIF {L4/L5 and S1} IN DEC .but i have had previous spinal operations .and the last 5 years have been hell.i will tell you what my consultant told me ..you will be in hospital for between 5/14 days /in theater for 4/7 hours .able to drive {uk} after 6 weeks legal requirement ..providing you feel well enough .you can be a passenger ASAP as long as you are comfy.{if you drive before the 6 weeks are up you could be prosecuted should you be involved in an accident {advice from a friend that's a police man }.the first 6 months will be hard work and painful the next should get better .full recovery should take around three years..if your job is light work with no lifting /bending /twisting .most employers will let you return to work at about 3 months ..i think this ti fat too early as your back is still heeling ..9 months is more like it ..many that go back to work end up off sick as they went back too soon .and many never return to work .forget walking swimming or pool walking is far better to help your back ..ALIF surgey is massive and even though you may feel well please remember that you have had an invasive procedure and it take many months to heel .you only get one back and you don't want to damage it anymore ..be very very careful and good luck ..if you have any concerns then contact your consultant
    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

  • I started to drive again at 6 weeks, although my surgeon told me well before then that I could start driving.

    By week 4 I was walking at least 1/2 mile in the morning and a further shorter walk in the afternoon.
    My brilliant spine specialist physiotherapist told me that if I do nothing else, walk, walk, walk. After about 4 months, while on holiday, I got into a swimming pool but found that I couldn't swim very well and although I could walk in the water, the resistance made it much harder than out of the water. I think early on in my recovery it would have caused too much pain.

    I had x-rays taken at 6 weeks - no fusion visible but hardware in place
    3 months - no fusion visible but hardware in place
    16 months - still no fusion pointed out to me, but was told that my hardware was in place and that by then, if there hadn't been fusion, my screws would have worked loose, and there was no evidence of that so I must be fused.

    I went back to work at 5 1/2 months. I work as a Teaching Assistant, so lots of bending / leaning. Within a week I was sent home again due to pain. A week later I tried again, on a phased return. I managed that.

    Hope you are having a good day today Liz. :H

  • I did not have the ALIF but did have a great PLIF. I was in the hospital for 5 days and don't remember a lot of those 5 days.

    I had no real driving restrictions. I actually drove myself to my first appt (5 min away) at two weeks out to get my stitches out and get my scripts. Probably not a good idea but I went between meds right before they were due. I started driving short trips to the mall/market to walk/shop about 4 weeks out. At first I would get sore & cry but I got stronger & stronger.

    I took my meds as directed and it really helped (don't want to get to far off schedule or the pain wil be hard to get back in control). Once I got to be about 4-5 weeks the pain was much better and I was able to start reducing the meds. By 12 weeks I was taking them only in the evening/night.

    I had my first x-ray at 6 weeks (had a flare of pain and was convinced the hardware had shifted). I had some fusion at that point.

    I had more x-rays at 10 weeks and it showed good fusion progress (50% ). At 6 months I was 85/90% fused. At least that is what my NS said.

    I was released at 11 weeks to return to work. My job is not that physical and I rarely need to be on my feet for more than an hour at a time. It does involve a fare amount of driving though.

    Good luck,


  • I am about 5 weeks post op on ALIF @ L5-S1.... had x-rays at 2 weeks and everything looked good...next appointment is at 10 weeks. I have developed some sever hip pains when I lay flat and sometimes fell like I have some kind of slippage .....kinda like bone on bone. This is only when I am laying down. I walk about 1-2 miles a day depending on the weather.... mostly OTC meds but prob should ask Dr for something a bit stronger as I hurt a good bit in the evenings....
    As my name says, I am a firefighter and have not been told I wont be able to return to work but I havent heard of many that do return to work from this surgery. I found out that I do have some degeneration at L4 also and I am wondering if it isnt next to fail...I have heard that often if there is another weak spot after a fusion, the weak spot will soon need repaired. Is this true??
  • Hi,

    I have had 3 fusions, I am fused L1-S1. Each surgery was a little different but I was walking 7 miles by the end of 3 weeks. I also went back to work after 3 weeks. I could not sit for long so mixed it up, walking around alot.

    I don't really remember when I started driving. Obviously to the doctor a week or 2 after surgery but I ride the bus to work so didn't have to worry about driving.

    I was able to get back in the pool each time after my incision healed. That is a wonderful feeling of being weightless.

    I had xrays 3 weeks after my last fusion with bone just beginning to show. I am going in for xrays this week for my latest fusion and this will be 5 months post op. I am really good at building bone so am expecting to see a good solid fusion. All my other ones are. But everyone builds bone at different rates. My surgeon had me take extra calcium before and after surgery.

    I had a safety bar installed on my tub/shower and used a plastic stool to sit on.

    A long handled grabber and long handled shoe horn are quite helpful. I mostly wore clogs but for my walks I used my former running shoes with elastic laces and the long handled shoe horn made it so much easier. Loose fitting elastic waist pants are a must. Don't even worry about socks!!

    Things that you want to be able to get to keep out on the counter. I prepared some meals ahead of time and also had friends who would come by with meals.

    I sleep with a wedge under my knees to take the stress off my back. I also like a heating pad. You will use ice at first in the hospital.

    Follow your surgeons advice about bending and twisting and lifting.

    I used a walker in the hospital the first time I went for a walk but did not need one at home. Sometimes an extension on the toilet is nice. I have a higher toilet seat than the standard toilets and that is very helpful.

    I wasn't a big fan of walking (I was a runner!!) so I bought a pedometer to help keep track of my miles and make it more fun. Take short walks several times a day and then build up to longer ones.

    Hope this has helped answer some of your questions. Feel free to PM me if you have more.

    Paint your toenails before surgery as it will be quite awhile before you get to do that again or shave your legs!!

    Good luck and let me know how it all goes.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
Sign In or Register to comment.