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Home from surgery

Im home. Surgery was on the 27th. The doctor and my wife decided that the laminectomy was not neccessary at this time. I guess once he got in there and looked aroubd it wasnt as bad as he thought. Ended up with a 3 level fusion and was out of the hospital mid day yesterday. I am taking it easy but am surprised to say that this surgery was nowere near as painful when i woke up as my hernia surgery was.
Anyway, i will let yall know how things progress.


  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,314
    edited 08/29/2012 - 5:39 AM
    you home after a three level fusion in just 2 days !! .what fusion was it ALIF/PLIF {360} or other ??? i was in hospital a week and when i got home i was unable to do anything for at least 6 weeks and i mean anything even talking was an effort due to my throat being scratched during intubation ..its now nine months since my ALIF and i am still very much in pain and not sleeping my recovery is very slow .you seem to be super human !! best of luck to you
    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
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 08/29/2012 - 8:50 AM

    It sounds like you are doing really well and hopefully with less pain than you expected, that is a sign that all has gone well and served the purpose of the surgery. I think as you only had the anterior fusion done, that will mean that your pain level is not so high because muscles have not had to be cut through.

    How is your swallowing?
    Are you managing to eat normal foods?
    How is your voice?
    Can you move your arms easily?
    (As you can tell I am researching how things feel after an ACDF!)

    I am pleased to hear how well you are doing and will look forward to hearing updates of good news.
    Take it easy and allow the healing to begin.
  • I can talk mostly normal and can move around relatively well. Swallowing is a task all its own. Just swallowing water feels like razers. I tried a PB&J earlier today and thought i was going to die.

    The only real issue I currently have is my left foot has been "asleep" since I woke up from surgery. Just waiting for that to go away.
  • davrunnerddavrunner Posts: 478
    edited 08/29/2012 - 10:06 AM
    Hopefully your foot is just a passing issue that will correct itself.
    Also interested in how your recovery goes as I will be facing a 3 level myself.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • bpreachers,
    I have often read that thicker but almost liquid is the easiest to swallow, even more so than thin liquids like water.
    Smoothies and ice cream and thick milk shakes. Cold things better than hot or warm.
    Please let me know if these things help. :o)

    I hope your left foot will 'wake up' soon.

  • hope you recover well, i also had no idea that a fusion was less invasive than a laminectomy.
  • islandstylistiislandstylist Posts: 307
    edited 08/31/2012 - 3:41 AM
    and congratulations. Sounds like things went really well for you. Best of luck with the rest of your recovery. And try to really let people help you with anything strenuous. Take care.
    Missy, 1 level ACDF C6/C7 Monday July 16th 2012.

  • Finally got my prescriptions fillled today (we were hit hard by Isaac the day I was released). So I spent the first 4 days of my recovery living on tylenol but it worked out. I feel much better now though lol, they gave me percosets and valuum. I am not in a neck brace I guess they do not use that when they use titanium plates. It was a 3 level fusion. As I said things have not been bad at all, honestly some of the reactions I have read on here had me scared to death, but so far my recovery is going well. I feel like my neck needs to pop but I am ignoring that feeling. It is easier to swallow now, finally swallowing real food haha. Had to abandon my apartment today, me the wife and the cats went to a hotel upstate because our power has been out since 2 AM wednesday morning.

    Anyway, hope all is well with everyone. I will keep yall updated. Get to take a shower finally tomorrow.

    Foot is still numb today but all the other symptoms I had seem to have gotten better (sept for the weekness in my left hand). Gotta call on Monday to setup my followup appointment.

  • So glad to hear how well you are doing and hope that you are comfortable in the hotel and that they can give you lots of pillows to get comfortable to sleep.

    Did you have problems with your left foot before surgery, or is that numbness completely new?
    Glad that you are now able to swallow proper foods.
    Here's hoping that you can go home soon.
    Take care,
  • like your recovery is going well so far, hope that you continue to improve daily.

    So sorry to hear that you have had to leave your home and stay in an apartment during early recovery. Hope that they are treating you well and you have all you need.

    I agree with Jelly, that thickened liquids are much easier to swallow than thin liquids (we used often when I was in nursing for patients with swallowing difficulties) and yum...smoothies and milkshakes taste so good too.

    I was also wondering if your foot was numb before surgery or if this is new? I have a numb foot as well. Hope that this improves soon.

    All the best with your recovery!
    >: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
  • I had mild toe numbness in both feet and numbness in both legs before the surgery along with the hand/arm pain and weakness and numbness on my left side and the neck/back pain. The pain and numbness in my left hand and arm is gone and the pain in my neck is gone and the original numbness in my legs and feet is gone. The numbness my left foot has now is very different. I swear it feels like how your leg feels if you sit funny for a bit and it goes to sleep. That is what I have now.

    Also, the hospital had me on a "regular" diet with no smooth foods what so ever. My wife kept complaining but no one seemed to pay attention and my doctor was not around because he was on emergency recall with the hurricane. I am glad we left or I might have ended up starving haha.

    And yes I have plenty of pillows. I even brought an extra just in case, plus my pillow is super comfy :)
  • I'm glad to hear they only did the ACDF. Adding the posterior surgery is a lot more difficult to recover from. I was concerned because I've been there, and it is difficult.
    Throat lozenges and spray cloraseptic helped me with the throat. I also found hot cocoa soothing on my throat--not too hot. Story-I had some hot chocolate in the hospital the 2nd day following surgery. Fell asleep while sitting up holding the cup. Awoke to HOT cocoa down my front. I guess that was one way to tell I was medicated heavily!
    I hope your recovery continues to go smoothly. As for the collar--some surgeons use them, some don't. I've never understood the difference. Theoretically the titanium is strong enough to hold everything in place, but my doctors have both had me in collars. I know others who've had the same surgery and don't wear collars.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • My entire situation just isn't following the "norm" i had prepared myself for on this site. I had expected a hard collar, I had expected one of the worst recovery pains especially directly after surgery that I could possibly imagine and I had expected severly limited mobility. Maybe my age is helping me out as I am only 28 or maybe my NeuroSurgeon is just an awesome artist or something. Something worked out real well cause other than the mild difficulty swallowing and the numb foot I really feel great. No muscle tremors/spasms nothing. Neck is a tad "tight" but that is to be expected.

    That is an awesome story on the Cocoa. The nurse had brought me some pain meds after I woke up from surgery and gave em to me in a cup. I woke up about 2 hours later still holding the cup with the pills in it lol.

  • I had a similar experience after my lumbar fusion.
    I was expecting it to be extremely painful and a very tough recovery,
    it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I would much rather have it that way round than the recovery was much worse than I had prepared myself for.
  • bpreachersbbpreachers Posts: 147
    edited 09/02/2012 - 1:00 PM
    Maybe we are both just lucky haha. Though today I am feeling a tad bit of the old numbness in my left hand. But hopefully that will be able to be worked out with physical therapy. On a side note. My foot is still quite numb but it seems to be better than it was yesterday. Doc did say that we had no way of knowing just how much damage may have been done to my spinal cord or how it would react to being "decompressed." maybe this is all just reactions from my spine saying WTF!!! lol.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 09/02/2012 - 9:12 PM
    that he couldn't predict if or how much relief I would get from surgery. He also said that he wouldn't know how long it would take to see any improvement, but could be from 6 to 12 months. He emphasised that the surgery is done to stop the progression rather than to relieve symptoms. His registrar, who I saw seperately at another appointment, talked about decompressing the cord sometimes causing problems, especially if it had been compressed for a long time. He said that as the blood started flowing properly again it could sometimes cause damage! That did rather worry me!

    Just continue to do your part to help the healing and recovery. Rest, eat well, frequent walking and don't over do it!
    I'm following your recovery closely to see how you get on. :o)

    I would say, that after my lumbar fusion, I did have all sorts of pains and limitations that came and went. I think it was all part of the nerves settling down and healing. Mostly they have gone now, although there is some loss of sensation below the scar area. I'll take that gladly over the awful bilateral sciatica that I used to get.
  • I had ACDF one level on July 2nd, I have had a great post op. As you, I read a lot and found this forum to help me understand the process that I would be going through. I went back to work Aug 20. I do a lot of lifting and stocking, I work in an automobile warehouse that distributes parts across the southeast. I was sore for the first week due to not having done any lifting for 9 weeks or so. This past week was much better. I also have some numbness left over in the thumb and first finger, some days it feels normal, other days it goes numb again. The neurosurgeon said this could take awhile. I also have this crunching sound on occasion when I turn my head, no pain, no bad feelings with it, other than sound. I mentioned this on my follow up, but there was no concern. I go back Oct 23rd, for an x-ray to see how the fusion is working out. Good luck on your recovery.
    I level ACDF July 2, 2012
  • Just as an update my foot is still numb but Im great other than that. Got my first followup on the 11th
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 09/07/2012 - 4:36 AM
    So pleased for you that things are going so well.
    Now you just want that foot to wake up!
    It seems that the laminectomy from the back wasn't necessary.

    Hope your appointment goes well.
  • sadly, the laminectomy will eventually be needed. I have congenital cervical stenosis and the doc said it will get worse with age and eventually cause me problems.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 09/08/2012 - 4:30 AM
    That is a shame but I guess you will be able to wait until you are completely recovered from this surgery. My neurosurgeon has said that he may need to do surgery (I suppose a laminectomy) from the back afterwards, but that he will do a 2 level ACDF first. He said that he would do the anterior surgery first because it is much harder to do after a posterior surgery. He told me that I may need more surgery on the adjoining levels in the future, but would just do the two levels where there is cord compression as there was a better chance of a successful surgery if he only did two levels. He said we would see how much relief I got from the ACDF and then would decide if more surgery from the back is needed.

    I guess this is because I have bilateral stenosis throughout my neck with compression of nerve roots and chronic neurogenic changes showing on an EMG.

    I also have congenital spinal stenosis. I am now in my mid 50s, so I guess that is why things have got worse!
    Has your surgeon given you an idea of the time scale before you need the laminectomy?

    How is your foot doing? I suppose that could be from compression of nerve roots that he intends to decompression during the laminctomy.

    Keep healing and take care
  • I suppose we will discuss that during my followup on the 11th. I am hoping he will say it is not needed in the near future and that I can be fine without it. I am afraid the foot may be a result of the "permanent' damage my spinal cord has endured. The Neurosurgeon warned me about this prior to the surgery. He said based off the severity of the herniation of the discs he assumed it was a process that started years ago, an assumption that was concreted by my telling him of the shoulder/neck pain I had been having since 2007, that some "new" things may pop up and that some issues may be permanent depending on the overall damage. My foot has not changed in a week for better or worse and sadly causes me to need a cane for now for balance (though I keep trying to move away from using it to my wifes annoyance haha).

    We shall see how the 11th goes and I will know more.
  • bpreachers said:
    Finally got my prescriptions fillled today (we were hit hard by Isaac the day I was released). So I spent the first 4 days of my recovery living on tylenol but it worked out. I feel much better now though lol, they gave me percosets and valuum. I am not in a neck brace I guess they do not use that when they use titanium plates. It was a 3 level fusion. As I said things have not been bad at all, honestly some of the reactions I have read on here had me scared to death, but so far my recovery is going well. I feel like my neck needs to pop but I am ignoring that feeling.
    There are over 17,000 ACDF performed each year in the US and the majority of them are complication free. What you read on message boards are not the norm. People who have excellent results have moved on with their lives. Those that don't find comfort in posting about their experiences on message boards.

    I had a 2 level earlier this year and most of my problems are gone. I have pain in my upper left arm and it goes numb sometimes but other than that I consider the surgery a success. I could have been paralyzed due to severe cord compression that is the bright side of the surgery-I don't have to worry about being paralyzed if I had another accident-even a minor one.

    My neck pops but it's not at the level of the implants. It's weird because if I keep my head in one place for too long it feels stiff and then it pops when I move it. I can't believe you had a 3 level and you're not in a brace-even though you have the plates the neck brace is more of a reminder to not do something too extreme with the neck after surgery. I had to wear one for 6 weeks 24/7 and the in the car and shower another 6 weeks.

    My neurosurgeon said that it takes between 6 months to a year before the numbness you had before the surgery to fully go away. If it's not gone by then chances are it's permanent. If you have direct cord compression like I did(myelopathy)and it was advanced the surgery is usually done to prevent it from getting worse and usually the symptoms are not reversed after surgery.

    Good luck and I wish you a speedy and uneventful recovery!
  • Yeah I had severe compression and muelopathy. Doc told me that some things may never go away because of it. And thanks for afirming that I am not crazy regarding them not putting me in a brace. Thanks for the response.
  • Had my followup yesterday. The doc does not think the laminectomy will be needed though he wants another MRI in 6 weeks to see how things look. All my concerning items are things he expected and said it is far to early for me to worry about them. Also, I am now cleared to drive wooooo.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 09/12/2012 - 10:32 AM

    Let's hope that you won't ever need the laminectomy.
    Being free to drive will feel great as you will get your independence back.
    Continue to look after yourself and start to think of the things you want to do once you are fully recovered.
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