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2nd PLIF

kaylafowlerkkaylafowler Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a multi-level lumbar fusion 11/1/10. I did well for 11 months, then started hurting again. I was put on neurontin, naproxen, and ultram for a while to see if that helped. It didn't. I then had another MRI. My first fusion is fine, but the problem is with the vertebrae above the previous fusion. I am now scheduled for another fusion on 11/1/11. I can't seem to find any information about recovery from a second fusion. Please help if you can!!!


  • This is my first post...so a little background. I am 31. I hurt my back pitching fast-pitch softball in high school. I was able to put the surgery off for 13 years, but finally had to have it done. I had hoped I would be all better after the surgery...but I guess that was a little naive.
  • I haven't had a second fusion, but have had two spine surgeries. I'm possibly facing another fusion for the vertebrae below mine at some time in the future. Fusion can put pressure on other levels.

    I'd recommend approaching recovery in the same way as your first one.

    Recovery will take a long time and bending-lifting-twisting restrictions will be in place for several months and your surgeon will advise you on this. I'd recommend lots of rest and regularly walking in small amounts. You're much younger than me and will heal at a faster rate. Keep on top of your pain by taking your meds as prescribed, even setting the alarm during the night.

    Gentle stretching is important, as are core strengthening exercises. Your doctor will guide you on this. Don't be in a hurry to do too much too soon, especially driving. There's always the risk of turning sharply or braking suddenly, and that may send you into a pain spasm. Don't sit or stand for too long because that puts extra pressure on the spine. Once you're well into recovery, your doctor may refer you to a physiatrist who will help you with movement. I'm two years out now and am waiting for an appointment to see one.

    Once I was able to walk outside the house, I used a walker for a couple of weeks. You know how fatigued you get during the early days of healing. Have you got a grabber and other things to help you with dressing and showering? I had a long handled shower sponge, chair and non-slip mat for the shower, and a dressing stick which helped me pull up my pants.

    I presume you have family to look after you. Accept all the help you can get and keep looking ahead to better days. I was on my own with two dogs, but family and friends popped in to help and cheer me up. I got "square eyes" by having to watch so much TV to ease the boredom. I was lucky during my early days because the weather was great and I could sit outside and let the warmth from the sun help the healing process.

    Most of us never return to what we were before back pain set in. I've had to work on myself to accept what I can do now and I pretty much enjoy life.

    Will be thinking of you on Tuesday and hoping your surgery goes well. Do post again and let us know how it went.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Wanted to welcome you to spine health, and wish you all the best with your surgery. Wow, a year to the day of your first surgery. So far I have only had a discectomy/lami but am now awaiting fusion and possible coccygectomy, so can't really give you any pointers on second fusion.

    What levels were your first fusion, and is your second fusion a one level above or multi level again?
    I would imagine the difference with having the second fusion would be possible decrease in range of motion, with more levels fused. Take your recovery slow, stay ahead of the pain with meds and rest, with short frequent walks in between.

    Will be thinking of you on Tuesday, and wish you all the best!

    >: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
  • Trisha,
    I am married and have two kiddos. Luckily my mom is close and is a huge help! I do have a shower chair, grabber and cane...all from the last surgery. I also have a treadmill which really helps since it will soon be cold (well....maybe...I am in Texas!!!). I know walking really helped last time. I made my last minute run to target to make sure I had everything...so hopefully I'm ready!

    This will be a single fusion of L2/L3. My previous fusion was on L3/L/4 and L4/L5. I think I was just concerned that I am not fully healed from the first one, and was afraid that would cause the second fusion to take longer to heal. But, I will just walk, make sure I don't bend...and take my meds!!!

    Thank you both for thinking of me in Tuesday!!! I'll post as soon as I am coherent enough!!!
  • I'm a Texan also! In the Houston area.

    I am 7 weeks post op from having my 2nd fusion about 18 months after my first.

    The biggest difference I have noticed is how difficult it is for me to stand up straight. I have to make a conscience effort, it feels like my body wants to hunch forward.

    This is actually my 5th lumbar surgery and this time I used a different surgeon. There wasn't anything that my first surgeon did wrong, but 5 surgeries in 6 years and psycholoically I needed a change.

    I may be more patient this time around, it has been so long since I have been physically as active as I would like to be. In March, exactly a year after my first fusion, my legs started getting weak again, and I started falling again.

    I will definitely be here to support you during your recovery! Tomorrow I will attempt to return to work. I am definitely not ready, but I am now a single mom and desperately need a paycheck and insurance.

    Looking forward to hearing from you when you are up to posting. Will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers wishing you a complete and speedy recovery!

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