Welcome, Friend!

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

In this Discussion

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

6 years post-PLIF--- very happy with results

jlejjle Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Good News
(I posted this first as a reply to a much older entry, then decided to make it its own thread)

I wanted to supplement AllBetter's experience with that of my own which was also a tremendous success.

I herniated my L5-S1 disc pulling a stump when I was 26... felt it go. Subsequently had what I called "episodes" about 2x each year in which I unexpectedly felt something like a zipper in lower back followed by a hand grenade. I would be layed up for 2-4 days each time. I never went to the doctor about this because back problems ran in my family and I was always just taught to put ice on it and suck up the pain till it went away.

By the time I reached the age of 46 it was happening too frequently. The last straw was terrifying my young kids by collapsing on the kitchen floor grimacing and shuddering in pain... they thought I was having a heart attack. I did a lot of research about options then, after seeking many references, I found a great surgeon. After looking at my MRI she asked why I had waited so long to address this! I asked about all the less drastic options but was told that I was waaaay past any of those. She told me that the herniation, degeneration, and arthritis was not life threatening in any way but was rather just a "quality of life" issue, ie if I wanted to continue living in the manner I had been for the past several years--- it had gotten to the point where everything I did included a backup plan for if/when I had another "episode", it was simply impacting my life too much.

So, I had the PLIF. I won't lie to you here, the immediate post-op pain was incredible... even with the morphine drip, any kind of movement was terrible. The surgeon had me stand up less than 24 hours after the procedure and, I'm sorry to tell you, it was the worst pain I've ever experienced... but I got thru it.

Went home after 4 nights at the hospital, recuperating over the next 6-8 weeks on short term disability. Lots of walking, at first with a walker then a cane then nothing. Lots of Vicoden (which never made me high or sick or anything). I had (and still have) great insurance such that I returned to work doing half days for another 4 weeks before resuming full time.

I'd say it took me a full year before I finally got as good as I think I'm ever going to get. I got about 80% of everything I had hoped for from the surgery (ie, complete relief and return to pre-injury condition--- yeah, I knew this to be unrealistic but, hey, hope for the best (and plan for the worst)). I'm a bit stiffer than I was pre-op but this hasn't affected me in any way. The fantastic part, however, is that I have not experienced even a single "episode" since having the surgery.

So, looking back after these 6 years since my "modification", I'd say my procedure was a tremendous success and has very greatly improved the quality of my life. At 52 now, I'm very, very thankful for my surgeon and sent her a bunch of roses on my 5 year anniversary--- she said that success stories like my own were what kept her going.

Its alright to be scared of back surgery... after all, it is somewhat of a roll of the dice. But the benefits can be tremendous, myself having been there. Find yourself a good surgeon, do everything that he/she tells you to do, and the odds are very much in your favor that things will improve for you as well. Btw, I'm happy to answer any questions that folks might have.


  • Loreeann32LLoreeann32 Posts: 76
    edited 08/14/2012 - 5:11 PM
    Hello JLE, I do have a question. I am having a minimally invasive spinal fusion done on the 27th of August. I am scared, because of all the pain I will be in. but I guess the good thing is, that I am not being cut open. This a new procedure, with just a few little slits in the back, but will have the rods, and cage. I hear so manh confilicting stories, about how people are glad they got it done to I wished I never would have got this done. I did my research, and my dr has been doing this for 25 yrs. He owns his own clinic, and has a mini hospital adjoined to it for these procedures. My back pain is constant. Never goes away. I am on Vicodin, and the pain is still there, but I do not want to get addicted to any pain meds, so I just take my dose, and the pain goes away just a bit, not alot, and still hurts. I am 38 yrs old, and I have a torn/herniated disc at L3-4. I have had this for 3 yrs now, hoping that it would just fuse itself and go away, but nothing. People tell me not to do it, but I really cannot keep going on like this. It is getting worse slowly, and I am just wondering if this will work. I am doing what my dr is telling me, and I have done the pain blocks, the cortizone shots, and I just had a discogram, so my dr told me I had 2 options. I chose the spinal fusion, cause I just want to eventually be out of pain one day. I know it will be rough the for 3 mos, and I am willing to work through it, just to know that I will be better. I guess I am just wondering will be really, really bad at first? And then again, I guess it depends on the person.

    L3-L4 minimally invasive spinal fusion L3 - L4 with cage and rods. Aug 24th, 2012
    Hardware Removal Feb 24, 2014
    DDD, Thyroid Disease
    Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
    SI Joint dysfunction
Sign In or Register to comment.