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Having Posterolateral Fusion with Questions on Sleeping

LooselinksLLooselinks Posts: 30
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 62 and having posterolateral fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1 for Grade II spondyolisthesis in two weeks. I have read the many helpful posts on what to buy beforehand to prepare. What I don't know is post surgery will I need to be flat most of the time? I have a Sleep Number bed which is great but cant be elevated, and I have a spare bedroom with a Tempurpedic adjustable bed where I can elevate my legs and/or head but is harder to roll over or get up. I also have my den with a recliner that I used for the first two months following my cervical fusion. I want to prepare my room before the surgery and don't know which one to prepare.

Does anyone know which is better, lying flat or elevated? Also how long before I will I be able to sit up? I'm currently power wheelchair bound due to back problems and other lower extremity back problems. I have no lumbar pain in the chair now but pain is severe when I stand/walk. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome-Hypermobility. So while I plan to try to walk, it can't be my primary mode to get around.

Also how long was everyone hospitalized and has anyone gone into inpatient rehab following the surgery? I went into rehab following my hip replacement 13 years ago and found it helpful. I live with my significant other but he has physical limitations also.

I haven't had my preop with surgeon yet who can answer many of my medical questions but I know first hand experience is always the best.

Thanks to all.


  • Hi,

    I have had two surgeries on my lumbar spine and the approach to how much flat and how much elevated seemed to depend on the physio I had. After the first one I had an old school PT and she wanted me sitting up from day 1. After the second one the PT kept putting my bed back down.

    I was encouraged to sit out of bed to eat but not to sit for too long at a time.

    To be honest I think your body will tell you - it is pretty tough sitting to start with and so you will limit it yourself.
  • I agree with nel. Your body will tell you. I've had my share with a huge fusion and for me I didn't have the option of an adjustable bed. I also have a temperpedic and found for me that putting a pillow under your knees takes a lot of stress off your lower back. I'm a back sleeper and they will show you in the hospital how to log roll in and out of bed. the best to you in your surgery and recovery. You will be encouraged to sit within a day or two after surgery. Sitting is tough on your low back also. Walking will start very soon after surgery. I was hospitalized for 7 days, but I had bleeding complications and spent the first 4 days in ICU. I don't remember any part of what went on during that time. I don't mean to scare you. It's a risk that's involved but a very small one. The best to you in surgery and your recovery. Oh, and I did have a therapist working with me the last three days of my stay at the hospital. Kevin
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