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Scared of TLIF

Hi there

I'm 23 years old living in Wales and have recently found out that I need to have a third operation on my spine. I had the first disectomy in Nov 2009, then the second in April 2011 having left University because the back pain was so severe (apparently nursing and bad backs don't combine very well).

So for my third (and I am d*mm well hoping the last), I am having TLIF at L4/L5 fusion using a *banana cage and bone graft from my hip*. I suppose I just have so many questions that will help prepare me for what this is going to be like. Such as:

How long does the actual operation last for?
How long is the hospital stay likely to be?
Am I going to be catheterised?
In Wales, am I likely to be given the back support post-op?
How long before driving?
How long before work (I am a visitor receptionist for the National Trust)?
How long before sports again (I miss it, been about 6 years since last played a team sport where I could actually be competitive in it, I used to be a rugby, hockey, netball, tennis player)?
How long before swimming?
Realistically, how long till the back pain and nerve pain in the leg is likely to go?
How much will I be able to do for myself in the beginning (My mum, who I live with, is severely disabled *C4/5 tetraplegic* she has carers but they are there for her not me)?
What sort of hints can anybody give me to help me through the first couple of weeks so that I recovery as quickly and as best as possible?

I've been online and am now currently freaked out and don't want to go ahead with it, but I also know that I can't continue living like this, the constant pain and restrictions with daily activities is just putting my life on hold and I'm too young to give up so please help me and put my mind at ease if that's remotely possible lols

Thank you


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SpicyFuschiaSpicyFuschia Posts: 20
    edited 04/27/2014 - 12:01 AM
    I highly reccomend you call or email your doctor. This way they can answer these question based on how they operate.

    I had a TLIF. My surgery and recovery went well. I know everyone is different, but I would have a TLIF again. I was not cut to retrieve a bone for grafting. I have very minimal incisions and scaring.
    L5/S1 TLIF July 18, 2013
    4 Screws 2 Rods and BMP
    Post surgery L4 Dermatones
  • You are and have dealt with so much, like so many on here so you
    should get some great advice. The advice and help from Sandi should
    help you hopefully.
    What happened to you to get to this point and do you have other issues
    that cause you pain? I have not been through what you are experiencing
    and at such a young age, all I can say is I am sorry and I will pray that
    you get the answers and support you need to get this under control.
    Do you feel comfortable with the Doctor's that you are seeing? If not you
    can always get a second opinion if you have any doubt there.
    You have such a long life ahead of you so I hope with all my heart that
    things work out for you.
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