After 3 years of progressive radiating pain I have been advised by several surgeons to have a PLIF, and am scheduled for this creepy procedure on October 14...10 days away. I am a 71 year old healthy and fit male with about 10 extra pounds. The diagnosis is degenerative disc disease, grade one spondy and moderate to severe stenosis (also have DDD at C3-C6 but with no symptons yet). The pain is not so much in my lower back but bad from the hips down to my knees and is severe in the mornings and intermittently throughout the day. The pain usually subsides however only to return with a vengeance later.Hydrocodone and oxycodone give me a terrible hangover and I become depressed and angry...just can't live having to take that stuff. Anyway, here are my questions;
1. Given this procedure will put pressure on the vertebrae above and below, what effect will it have on the degenerative disc disease throughout my spine...it seems even if this procedure is successful, ultimately it will precipitate the necessity for fusions up and down my spine?
2. I know there are resulting movement restrictions, but I am particularly concerned about those restrictions for the first week or so after surgery...I have read posts where folks can't clean themselves after bowel movement, or can't get out of a chair.
3. Assuming the surgery is successful and no mistakes are made, how long will I have to take narcotic pain meds?
4. Anybody know what the statistical success rate is for this procedure for 60-75 males, or where to find that info?
5. And finally, can anybody give me a good reason not to have this done !!!! I guess I am still looking for alternatives....
Okay all you 'mission impossibles' out there...I can't wait to hear what you have to say...in the meantime let me say thank you, thank you, thank you.