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Surgery scheduled: Anterior lumbar fusion plus cage, bone graft and laminectomy. Expectations?

Penguinz90PPenguinz90 Posts: 22
edited 10/10/2014 - 11:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So after 2 weeks of PT without any relief, plus 3 epidural/steroid shots and symptoms getting worse my PT suggested I go back to see my neurosurgeon. He said he wasn't surprised things were not helping much, but wanted to try in the event in might help (one never knows without trying). When I asked him if things were improving and things right now were tolerable would that just be putting off the inevitable and he said absolutely, I'd be in eventually for the surgery, without a doubt. He said in addition to the 2 slipped discs (L3-L4) I have spondylolethesis (Grade 2...50%, he said the slippage was significant). So we have scheduled surgery for December since it's my slow time at work.

He said I will need a bone graft to fix the verterbra (if I'm not mistaken), then he will do the laminectomy on the slipped discs followed by anterior lumbar fusion with cage. He isn't sure if he will be able to align the vertebra fully but rather wants to focus on getting the nerves decompressed and not causing further damage, he will then align it as best as he can so long as he isn't worried about causing more damage.

He said I'll be in the hospital 2-3 days, on my feet and moving the next day (even though I will hate him for it), followed by home for a few weeks. If I am up to it after 2-3 weeks I can go to work so long as it's not physical, not sitting for long periods of time, or standing for long periods of time and I agree to go back home when I'm feeling drained, etc (I'm the owner, not a problem, but I feel better knowing I can go in a little here and there just to check up on things). No lifting for 3-4 months, bending, twisting...very important to make sure things fuse properly. He did let me know it is a big deal surgery and there were all kinds of possible risks and complications and bouncing back will take a long time.

So that is about it in a nutshell. Now that he has told me his version, what is your version? Is all of that pretty typical to have done at the same time? Any recommendations (I know they told me no more Motrin or multivitamins from here on out). I will continue PT because the stronger my core the easier recovery will be.

Any and all info is greatly appreciated.

46 year old female
L3-L4 slipped discs after fall 3 months ago
Spondylolethesis 50%


  • I had fusion surgery for severe sciatica and spondylethesis (360 anterior/posterior fusion and decompression) on July 1st.I was up walking with the aid of a walker the next day. Over the next couple of days I worked twice a day with a physical therapist walking, sitting in a recliner, learning how to log roll out of bed, and climb a few stairs. One time I really Overdid it, which was my fault. I was discharged on the 4th with the walker and a raised toilet seat. At home I was on the walker for at least 10 days, then transitioned to a cane, which I still use for when I go on any extended walks or need to climb any stairs. I am still on driving and the no "BLT's" restrictions and my meds are now being taken care of my a pain management Dr. I have good and bad days but its just part of the journey. My case (like everyone's) is different as I still have a lot more issues that will need addressing later on but as for the surgery I recently had, I'm healing as expected. I will have imaging done at the 6 month mark to see if the fusion process is starting but thankfully the sciatica is GONE! Due to the amount and severity of the nerve compression, I am taking Lyrica along with my other meds, so please know that nerves will be angry for awhile afterwards but eventually will calm down. Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions and definitely keep us posted. Good luck to you! :)
    Grade 1 Anterolisthesis/Spondy L5/S1 with Modic changes and mild disc protrusion, DDD, Osteoarthritis L2/L3, Stenosis, Sciatica, Herniation L4/L5. Scheduled for 360 spinal fusion/decompression July 1, 2014.
  • Wow, it sounds like you had a lot more going on than I do, but you definitely seem to have a positive attitude which is great. Does everyone need a walker once they go home? My house is very, very small and I don't know that I have much space to move around with a walker as crazy as that sounds. I wish you all the best and hope things are healing as they should be. Good luck!
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