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Hello, I am new here. I had XLIF surgery on May 6th, 2013. Surgery was never an option for me, I was afraid. I had chronic pain for about 10 years. I had severe degenerative scoliosis and the pain got so bad I could not take it anymore. I went to pain management for about a year until I realized I will be on meds for the rest of my life unless I do something. My doctor locally did not do the 2 level XLIF and I was lucky enough to be referred to a doctor at the University of Miami. He was confident that he could help me. I had no doubts, I went for it. I have to tell you the first two weeks post surgery were tough, but if you do what the doctor says( no bending, no lifting and no twisting) you will heal just fine. I am amazed with the results of this minimally invasive procedure. I have no pain that I had prior to surgery. I do get sore when I do too much, but no pain!!! I am very active so I could not wait to get back to exercising, gardening, playing with my granddaughter and walking my dogs. I am writing to let others know there is hope and back surgery does not have to be scary. Once you find the right surgeon, you will find relief. God Bless!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • wow you sound like me cant wait for gardening and dogs, I am 54 yrs old f, I have a spinal cord stimulator scs, and a intrathecial pain pump, the pump is coming out next week, if the pain mgmt dr had een more agressive upping doses I may have gotten away with just the 2 IPG's. i've been dealing with for alost 10 years. all the sni, epidurals... which I feel have severly contributed to the disc degeneration. My PM 1st tried oral meds...I was on 10/325 4x a day of hydrocodone, he started me out oith (I think 5 mg ) methadone knocked me on my rear for 2 days brought him back the rest of the meds evan though I pd for a month supply, but I could have just throughn them away, but I wanted him to see I was honest not just looking for more drugs, so He gae me oxycodone, he said 4 hours would be fine after taking hydro, but I felt safer keeping it 8 or more hrs away from the oxycodne. took it b4 bed and I awoke like a gunshot my word the pain was ungodly down both legs, I thought well this is a fluke, so I trie dit again a few days later bam same pain . got right in 2 c him the next day and he said that shouldnt have happened. (I gave him those too) so we did the pump trial hydromophone, stuck around the hospital for 4 hours and then saw him to be sure I was close if any reactions occured, well my husband had to help me walk , I said to the nurse I feel like my head is way up in the sky, she smiled and said "yor high" Dumnb me I'd never been high b4 in my life. 1st used dilaudid, then something else the fentenal,he left 4 vacation that evening, as always call physicaian on duty anytime. my guts hurt so bad I thought Id dye, I m stupid , I didnt want to bother him on such a nice weekend, but thats what there there 4, saw him 7 am folowing monday he coul only turn it down to 3 whatever the dosage was, then I saw my dr. as soon as he returned and he removed all the fentenaylk flushed with pure saline and ran pure saline in the pump for a couple of weeks giving me time for my guts to heal... sad thing the fentenyl took 100% of my pain away, well I now have morphine in it and he justs ups it a small amt at a time, droped my boluses to 4 a day... they didnt do crap, so IM seeing a new Neurosurgeon actualy he put in my scs, and I know several people have had great luck with him and he has a good bedside maner. sorry this was so long, I hope the xlif works 4 me as well as it has for others, Any one else been able to get off all narcotics and lead a halfway normal life? I hate, taking narcotics or any med actuly, but I take 15 -to30 mg morphine am-pm 1 extended relife at bed time, if I take it in the day im too drowsy . I hate it. I hope everything goes well for you too. backpainz
  • You give me hope just as i'm doubting the success of the surgery. I'm 16 weeks out, and I'm a lil nervous of the thigh pain i'm still having. PT has been amazing, I'm much more mobile. I never really had too much back pain until about a year ago. My pain was always due to nerve damage.
    I don't sleep well at all, i'm pretty much off all pain meds....Just when things get bad.
    Thank you for your positive post, I really appreciate it as I was extremely runner, yoga enthusiast, fitness buff and Mom to 4 kids:)

    36 Year old mom of 4 awesome kido's, and married to the love of my life!

    IT Assistant with the Federal Government.

    L4/L5 XLIF 6/21/213 to correct nerve damage to my right leg.

    Each day is a step forward, even if it's baby steps!
  • I also had an XLIF with posterior pedicel screws on 4/23/2013. I can't say I got off completely "Scott free", but I'm able to do everything I need to do. I walk daily, I can garden and clean my house and I'm working out twice weekly with a personal trainer. From time to time I need a hydrocodone, but my last RX was filled in July and I don't think I've taken 1/3 of them. Prior to surgery I was taking at least 1/day on average. I would say for the first four months I had constant changing symptoms; my legs or thighs would ache, then I'd get muscle spasms, then something else would start bothering me, but it all settled down. The only thing I still notice is that if I'm in my car for 2+ hours, I get a sciatic type pain in my left leg. I carried the hydrocodone in my handbag for 4 months and I still carry Tramadol, but I don't take it everyday anymore. I'm over the top thrilled with the results of the surgery. I've had probably a 75% reduction in pain and I can easily tolerate what I'm left with.
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • Out of curiosity, how will this affect your scoliosis? Obviously more than 3 vertebrae are affected, so with just two levels fused, how will this work long term? Are you facing more surgery soon, or is this a continuation of a previous long fusion?
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Thank you Sheri,
    My pump is out, xlif surgery is scheduled for 12/2/13, I have severe DDD, and bone on bone, the feelings I feel in L4/5
    is like a steak knife jabbed in my lower back and then twisting back and forth, my pump had to come out b/c it would be in the way for the new neurosurgeons to do xlif . Of course since morphine pump is out, that's less morphine, but I do have 30 mg IR 1 tab am/1 pm, and 30 mg ER morphine, but i have been cutting back, trying only to cut it in half so its 15mg, and I also take my ice pack everywhere I go. its a square /gel in it to freeze and refreeze its a name brand for coolers, RM, I have 3 and when we go someplace I put them in the foam insulated pkg my insulin comes in and then a zippered freezer bag cooler. Travel is rough for me too I use to set in the van bent over...as to tie my shoe just to get the help with the pain. The pump helped and I would defiantly urge anyone wanting one to get one, I goes into our intrathecial space of spinal cord bag, and travels straight to the brain, unlike pills the go all over you body and is processed in the liver that's why I got off hydro tried a few other oral meds then the pump, my pm dr. wished me luck, since he was just a neurologist, and the one putting in the xlif is a neurosurgeon. I also have a spinal cord stimulator thats prevents the pinched sciatic nerve pain from reaching my brain as pain just feels like vibration, I cant be without it its almost adictive when I have to shut it off for other surgery's as soon as I'm awake I turn it on. HM you mentioned with all the metal no cremation 4 u, I guess they will have to remove my IPG so it doesn't explode in the cremation oven, I don't want to go out with a bang! lol. thanky kyou for all the responses. Rose
  • HI, I am just awaiting insurance approval for XLIF, wondering tho, what can I expect to do after I am healed? I garden big time, lug stuff up hills (we live on hills, nothing flat, we'll have to drive to walk on the flat). Will I be able to ski (snow, water)? Looks like folks bike/hike. How about golf? I want to be smart, but also want to continue to live life fully. Will I be able to pick up and carry my grand babies? I've read much about recovery period, but wonder what you have found about long term activities.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health and how to get started here

    This is an older post, for best responses and support I suggest you make a new post, you can do this by clicking on 'create forum post' on the left

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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