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texgal911ttexgal911 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am new to the forum, and I am about to have surgery (PLIF and ALIF) . They will also be taking bone from my hip to graft. Has anyone had this done? And how is the recovery? I hear that post op is brutal.


  • Let me add some information that I did not include in my original post. I have degenerative disc disease that is advancing quite rapidly. Also, due to my condition with leukemia, they felt that I must do this surgery now to insure that the fusion and grafting would take. They will be doing the ALIF, (through the abdomen) and placing a "cage" with my hip bone fragments into the L4/L5, and if I remember correctly they fuse on top of that. Then flip me over and do the PLIF (through the back) and fuse that. I know that it is going to be brutally painful.. Very nervous.
  • I had ALIF/PLIF at the lumbar level. I didn't find it to be "brutally painful" for my doc always gave me enough pain medication to deal with each day. Not with this surgery, but with other surgery I had bone removed from the hip and the site where the bone was removed was painful, more painful than where they put the bone (in my foot). For the ALIF/PLIF I had donor bone and that was great. The recovery from surgery was long but then I had multiple levels involved. Good luck. Take one day at a time. Follow your directives. And focus on gettting better.
  • Hi,

    I have had 3 fusions and one was a 360, the one you are about to have. I have also had a bone graft from my hip with one of my fusions. The bone graft is definitely more painful to recover from, and longer.

    I was in the hospital for 5 days. I was able to walk before I left the hospital. It is important to follow your doctors orders of no bending, lifting, twisting.

    It is a long recovery. At least a year maybe more to fully recover. I was able to go swimming after my incision healed which was about 3 weeks. Being weightless in the water is wonderful.

    Start walking in little increments. Go for short distances several times a day.

    A long handled shoe horn and a grabber are handy items. I wear clogs so that makes it easier. Also elastic waist band pants.

    I had a safety bar installed on my tub/shower.

    I sleep with a pillow under my knees to keep the pressure off my back.

    Be sure things in your house that you use are at counter level so you don't have to bend over.

    Good luck and let me know if you have more questions. Feel free to PM me. Keep me posted on your progress.
    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.
  • and it was brutal {i too was going to have the ALIF and depending on how good the fix was i was going to have the PLIF too thankfully the PLIF was not required. i am back home now and was looked after well in hospital ,please bear in mind that i was a long standing pain sufferer before my operation and i took high levels of oxycontin ,the consultant knowing this told me that i would require much more pain relief than mr normal post op .but even he was shocked at just how much was required to keep the lid on things ,normally you are given around 1/2 ml of morphine every 4 mins on PCA but they had one PCA giving me morphine 4ml every 5 mins and another PCA giving me diamorphine .and every 2 hours an anaesthetist would gibe me a boost of ketamine ,it only just made the pain bearable trust me it hurt like hell.i am back home and i am needing large amounts of oxycontin to cope with the pain .the strange thing is the abominable site is fine hardly any pain at all. but where they took the bone graft from {my left hip } hurts like hell as dose my left leg .i spend most of the time on my recliner as its the only place i can get comfy .propped up with various pillows .if you are male get yourself a reusable pee container .they come in very handy . and if you don't already have on a grabber .and if you can push the boat out a rise and recliner recliner .it doesn't have to be new i have seen and a friend of mind bought a nearly new version of the one i have for juts 200 pounds for the local paper.or ebay ,,i could tell you more about the operation but i think i have covered the basics .good luck you will need it
    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
  • Thank you all so much for your information. They said they will be grafting bone from my hip, so I suppose I had better get ready for that, too. I am taking advise of everyone here, and I also saw the "helpful hints" list at the top of the forum. I bought a shower chair, and my son in law is installing a removable shower head today. I am arranging everything that I need to be at counter top level.
    I have had back problems for years,starting with a single herniated disc in 02, when I had a lamenectomy. It was fine until about 05, I'm sure due to my job as a police officer, and level of physical activity involved. (I also rode mounted patrol for a while). Years of wear and tear, and now advancing disc disease and cancer in my bone marrow.. It just went down hill. Thank you all. I'm always open for some good advise.
  • Good luck and just remember to take one day at a time. It took a lot of years for your back to get this way and the recovery takes time too. There will be days when you think you are never going to feel better and then bingo, the next day you do!!

    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.
  • Hi Jani, my name is Nancy. I am curious as to whether you have an underlying diagnosis causing your spinal problems. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and want to compare. Had a successful ADCF last December and am starting to talk to surgeon about my lumbar spine (a PLIF i think). My problem is spondolysthesis.

    Thanks! Good to hear your good results
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