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ALIF 9 weeks post-op...Help please

Mike12buckleMMike12buckle Posts: 8
edited 09/15/2012 - 7:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello! I have swelling in my legs and feet 9 weeks after my Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion of L4 & L5. I wore the stockings after surgery for 6 weeks but was told I didn't need to continue wearing them. The swelling goes down at night but as soon as I get up and start my walking it comes back. I sit 2 to 3 times per day with legs elevated. The swelling makes by legs and feet so tight they look as though they will burst. I started taking Neuorotin about a month ago but stopped because after a week I read it may cause swelling. After reading the comment about drinking more water I will try that too. I am also diabetic but take my meds daily as prescribed. Still having pain in my lower back and a feeling of weakness there. Wore back brace for eight weeks and still wear it if I go outside home, wearing bone stimulator as prescribed 2 hours per day. Any suggestions to help me with this are welcomed.


  • I agree about drinking more water as it may help. Call the Surgeon on call and let them know as you know have to be careful since being diabetic. No redness or pain? I hope it calms down soon. My leg swelling was caused by the nerve meds also and had to take a water pill Lasix to help so you should get your Dr. to check you out as he may want you to wear the TED stockings. I hope you're feeling better and recover completely from surgery. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thanks Charry! I do have some pain in my legs and some light redness. I wonder what causes the swelling? Is it the inflammation from the nerves trying to heal and my body accepting the fusion? No one has explained this to me. However they did tell me NOT to take any anti-inflammatory meds. I have had my first herniated disc for almost 8 years and the second one was noted on the MRI early this year. I guess this healing process will take a long time for me. Please discuss your thoughts on the cause(s) of the leg and foot swelling.


  • You might not get many people on Spine Health who would feel comfortable "discussing the causes of your leg and foot swelling", especially as you also have diabetes. I also tend to agree with Charry - that perhaps you should be contacting your surgeon or health professional first for further advice on this and to make sure the swelling is being properly monitored. I also agree that you might be advised to carry on wearing the support stockings until the swelling is more controlled.

    Sorry I can't be of more help, but that is what the doctors are there for. I hope you get it sorted soon so it's one less thing for you to worry about ok.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Rob MRRob M Posts: 36
    edited 09/16/2012 - 1:45 PM
    Mike, Sue and Charry are right. Everybody here wants you to get better but safely. Best of luck, let us know what the doc says and how you are.
    Weight room accident at 18. Had compression fracture and was paralyzed for month until ruptured spinal column healed. At 37 did all the epidurals/blocks. At 38 had two level open lami and Discectomy. At 39 (Sept 2012) had two level ALIF L4-S1 fusion.
  • Thank you for your suggestions. I have talked with my surgeon about my leg swelling several times and they seem to think this is normal for anyone having ALIF surgery. They advise elevating legs 2 to 3 times daily which I have done. I am drinking more water daily as each of you advised and continuing my walking of an hour daily in segments of 10 minutes. Started wearing the stocking again today. I read somewhere that vitamins may help with my recovery. Do any of you have any experience with that recommendation? I go back to surgeon on October 2 and hope I will be doing better by then.
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