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L5, S1 Fusion

Hi all...I had a Micro - D at the L5-S1 level in 2012 and long story short ended up re-herniating and the disc was starting to degenerate. So took the plunge and had a 1 level fusion on 12/19/14, I have had some relief and my surgeon wasn't kidding when he told me the first couple weeks would be rough...They certainly were! I am now at a little over 3 weeks post op and feel so/so. Still have some right side lower back pain and right leg nerve pain with numbness in the toes on and off. My sciatica is gone though so far woo hoo!!! The issues I have at this point are where they took the bone graft from, it burns and stings and hurts to walk sometimes...UGH...Anyone else have this after a fusion that has had their own bone used? It is still hard to bend and it does still hurt to bend esp when I come up from bending over which I am sure is all normal at this point..?? To hear other people stories would be great...I don't see my surgeon till beginning of Feb for my next visit and hope all is well inside. Also anyone else have issues with the screws and rod this early out after a fusion? I am so worried that a screw is going to brake or come loose.


  • OMG are you bending? I know everyone is different and every procedure is different, but you might want to call your doc and ask if bending is allowed? I just don't want you to mess anything up! I had a 2 level ALIF fusion (from the tummy) with rods & screws from the back at L4/5 and L5/S1, plus a total disc replacement at L3/4 on 12/31, 2 weeks ago today. I was told absolutely NO bending, lifting, or twisting. I'm pretty sure that's for at least 3-4 months. I think this is the rule for fusions, as you want things to fuse back there! Get grabbers! I also have the bone graft pain. Weird. I also am paranoid about the hardware, mostly because I've read such horror stories.
    I am feeling pretty good, I'm on tyelenol only starting post op day 5 because I could not tolerate the pain meds. So I hurt... But everyday seems better. Today I went out for lunch and went to the mall albeit at snails pace. I wear a fitbit and am getting about 2 miles in a day. (I am 37) Doc said .5-1 mile daily. I go back Friday for my 2 week post op. He said I would not get better without walking. I did wish unpleasant things would happen to him as he was telling me this on day 3 in the hospital and had me doing squats with him in the hallway. But now I think maybe he might actually be right (wink). Hang in there! Brandy
  • At where your at post op, its appears pretty normal to be experiencing pain in the areas your describing. This based on what I've read on this forum as well as my personal experience. I can still recall the pain I had at that point and it was very similar.
    The good news is things will improve.
    As for bending , I'm with RESBRS regarding the bending. I was told no bending , lifting or twisting , BLT , for at least 6 weeks.
    I adhered to this recommendation to the letter. The fusion process can take some time so you want to alliviate any un necessary movement.
    Regarding the screws , I too was concerned about them becoming loose and or breaking. However , that never occured and I'm now about 6 months post op. What I did experience , at least the first couple of months , was the sensation of feeling the hardware that was installed. Now however , not so much. I was back to gym and work at 10 weeks. As of now , I'm doing very well!
    About me: 52 yo HWP male.
    Hope this helps. Stay positive , walk ALOT and follow your Doctors instrutions.
    Best of Luck!
    Bilateral L5 spondylolysis L5 with grade I anterolisthesis L5-S1.
    Stable multilevel degenerative spondylosis contributing to mild canal
    narrowing L2-3 and L3-4.
    360 ALIF & PLIF L-4 - S-1 on 8/11/14
  • And I was told no bending, twisting or lifting for the first 6-8 weeks. After that I could bend forward provided I didn't do it to pick anything up. At 3 months my lifting capacity was upgraded to 5-10kg, I could twist (I've still avoid it as much as I can at 5months).

    So far no issues with screws or rods but if I lay on my back for too long my lumber begins to hurt (didn't have this prior to surgery). I had an X-ray at 3months to check positioning & my surgeon was happy everything was where it should be. I'm off for a ct week after next to check for fusion.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • I am not bending at the waist but I am bending as I squat with my legs and thighs to pick things up. If I do too much during the day I def feel it at night. I get very achey at night and I am stiff n sore in the morning. I had my fusion surg 4 weeks ago today.
    I had one post op visit on 1/6 but no xrays were taken. I see my surgeon again in a couple weeks and then he will take xrays. so hopefully all is well in there. I am off work for 10 weeks so I go back to work beginning of March hopefully I will feel no pain when bending by then otherwise I won't be going back to work as I am a Medical Assistant and very active at work all day.
  • I had a fusion at L5/S1 in July 2011, for 3 years in was in horrible pain everyday. I found out in November 2014 that I was no longer fused or that the fusion never fused properly. 12/11/15 I had the fusion redone with a bone graft. I would suffer from horrible pain shooting down my leg. The area that used to hurt so badly feels great, I have horrible pain where they did the bone graft. It has started the pain shooting down my leg again and it's just getting worse. The pain seems to spread across my back. I had a follow up a week ago with my dr and he did X-rays and said everything looked great. Why and when will this pain subside. I'm so miserable I just cry.
  • I also found I was achy at night & stiff in the mornings. I think it's normal. I still find I'm achy at night if I've over do the day & I'm 5 months out (I do still have some nerve issues but my nerve was compressed for around 2 years before surgery & apparently may never fully heal).
    You should start to feel better as each week passes. I had a grabber so I didn't gave to bend. I still use it to pick up toys especially when they're scattered.
    I'm yet to return to work, was given the all clear at 3months but I work in a school & only had a month before our summer holidays & decided to resume when school goes back for this year, which is a couple of weeks away.
    I hope it goes well for you.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • I'm sorry to hear you had to go through the surgery again. I've only been left with residual nerve pain in my ankle. It's still early days from your surgery & I hope it all settles for you as time goes on.
    Unfortunately our backs will never be the same again, but it's my hope I can get back to leading a life I can really enjoy (I'm on my way, just still cautious as I haven't fused yet & haven't hit the 12 month mark).

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
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