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ALIF - L4/L5 L5/S1

Just scheduled ALIF L4/L5 L5/S1 for February 12 and I'm terrified. I'll admit it, I'm a complete wus when it comes to pain and medical procedures. Also realized that its the unknown and anticipation that is the worst. I'm expecting this to be really painful and not going to be fun. The neurosurgeon I decided to use definitely calmed some of my fears but easier said than done. Any words of wisdom from the experienced?


  • 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
  • SteveTSSteveT Posts: 178
    edited 01/15/2014 - 4:54 AM
    I had the same surgery in October. I have 5" incisions in my abdomen and back. The first few days are rough, but it gets better. Staying on top of your pain meds is key - I was bad in the hospital about pressing my morphine pump enough and kept getting yelled at by my nurses. Your therapist in the hospital will get you up and out of bed, but once you are home, make sure you stick to a strict walking regimen. I credit that with me recovering so fast. I have my 3 month post-op appt in 2 weeks and I'm so glad I went through with the surgery.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • ekeaneekean Posts: 17
    edited 01/15/2014 - 6:06 AM
    Thanks Steve. I was told the same about taking the meds and worry about getting off the meds later. Once the pain is under control, they have a plan on weaning me off. I've known I was going to need surgery about the last 3 months so I've been pretty regimented about using an elliptical and/or walking daily. Glad to hear you are recovering well.
  • I am 10 days post op from my ALIF L4L5 L5S1, on my 3rd day being home. I have some good meds, but only take them when I really feel Very uncomfortable. Since I've been home the pain level has decreased and only taking the pain med 2x per day, average every 12 hours. With the muscle relaxer in between. It seems to be be working for me. I am in much less pain than I thought I would be.

    Any more questions, feel free to ask. I know that reading these can help settle the nerves.... just try and remain calm :-)

    Herniated discs & DDD at L4-L5 and L5-S1; ALIF L4-L5 & L5-S1 on 1/10/2014;
  • Hi Tara - Glad to hear! Reading the blogs has actually made it more unsettling since it seems more horror stories. Appreciate the advice to keep calm. I'm thinking worse case scenario and hoepfully it won't be as bad as I'm thinking!!
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