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Positive ALIF L5/S1 surgery

generalpattonggeneralpatton Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Posting positive results for surgery I see kind of like posting positive results from visiting a business. Most people don't do it, they only take time to tell negatives. I read a lot of stories prior to mine, some that would make you cringe at the thought of going through the process, others that make it sound like a godsend. Mine goes a little like this;

After suffering a severe shoulder injury (which ended up being an 85% labral tear) and the surgery that came with it, I started having back pain. I went to the back specialist ortho in my shoulder guys office. He gave me and epidural injection, and almost magically, pain was gone. A year later it started to resurface, on and off, until it was more on than off and more and more severe. I choked down pills for a couple years thinking (or wishing) it would just go away until the pills got to the point of diminishing returns. I went to a spine care facility in our local hospital and had the 3 series of epidural injections, with little if any result. I started the process in September and my next appt to determine if I need surgery wasn't scheduled until Dec 20th. I found this simply unacceptable, as I had met my deductible and didn't want to wait until it rolled over to 0 to find out I would have to shell it all out again. I went ahead and scheduled an Appt with a local NS who worked with the Spine facility I was seeing. (already had the MRI and Xrays) The NS looked at the pictures, and said I was wasting my time with injections, based on my history it was time to do a fusion. I begged him to get it in before the end of the year and so I got the only available date, 12-23-11. (now, a stay over christmas wasn't ideal, but I was hell bent on getting it done before 2012 and quite frankly, i'd become a real asshole to be around with the level of pain I had) So we did it on that Friday, an ALIF L5/S1 fusion. (I finally got a look at my MRI after the procedure and though I'm no radiologist, I'd like to slap the SOB's that kept telling me it wasn't that bad, cause even I could see the protrusion pushing against the nerves)

Fast Forward to now. I got out of the hospital on Christmas day upon my request. I told the Dr that i'd walk down the street and get him a case of beer if thats what it took to get home to be with my kids for christmas. He obliged saying though a nice gesture, he didn't drink! LOL. I'm right at 3 weeks post-op, and I can tell overwhelmingly that the pain I have right now is nothing more than post surgical. Previously, I had a very general pain throughout my lower and middle back that would run down my leg. Now I have a very specific local pain where the fusion is, and a little incision pain with movements that the sutures don't agree with.

The bottom line, and the reason I'm writing this, is to give a little piece of mind to those considering or about to undergo the fusion procedure. It was more than worth it. Just research your doctor and make sure he's top notch at what he does. I am fortunate in that the President and CEO of Northside Hospitals here in Atlanta lives next door to my parents, and he said the NS I used was one of if not the best in Atlanta. I was on my feet and walking the next day, I even told them to take me off the Hydromorphine drip before they were ready to. (which suprised the hell out of the nurses, lol) I can move freely without near the pain I had before, and its been 100% positive so far. If you have back pain and have exhausted all other options, don't be afraid to take the surgical direction. Under the care of the right doctor, and following the post-op instructions, you can get out of the grip of that seemingly unending back pain!



  • Sounds like you had a positive outcome as well, really good things happen when you find the right Dr. mine has worked on 3 people in the company I work for and all have been good, my Dr is probably the best in OK and I am in the same boat as you, no back pain just pain from the actual operation.
  • Thank you for sharing your story. I'm having a Posterior Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (L5/S1) on the 27th and outcomes like yours provide a lot of hope.
  • I guess its about 3 weeks later now, still moving right along. I still have my good and bad days (and the days I'd like to pull my hair out) but I'm still positive about the outcome. I will add that post-op, you have got to get up and move. There were a few days I sat around and did nothing and the following days were quite hellish. The days that I do the walking suggested, I usually feel quite good. (to much walking can be somewhat detrimental though, so moderation is a good thing) I went back to work at 4 weeks with dr's orders for 3-5 hours a day, light admin/paperwork style jobs only. The only real change was doc changed me from percocet 10/325 1 pill every 4 hours to Morphine Sulfate IR 1-2 pills every 4 hours as needed because I was concerned about the amount of tylenol in the percs. Just make sure to take some colace, unless you wanna be bound up for a week!!
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