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Really need an opinion

I am 3 weeks post L5-S1 Fusion surgery with a discetomy at L5. Today at three weeks, I am in just as much pain as the first few days?!?!

Don't get me wrong, I haven't laid around like a couch potato for the last three weeks. I have taken it easy, but I do go to the store walk around, do some house work etc. Nothing over 5 pounds and no twisting/turning, etc.

I on'y have three weeks left to recover before work now, and I am TERRIFIED!!

Is this normal? The ups and downs you hear of? Or do I need to get checked? My back feels like it is going to split in half at the surgery site and my right leg is hurting like the same sciatic pain that I had before the surgery. What is the common opinion? Experience?



  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Recovery can take months. If your job is physically or excessively sedentary l you may not be able to return in 3 wk. Are you on pain medications? Any Physical Therapy? Keep your doctor updated on your pain level, what aggravates pain, what improves it, etc. A single level fusion is still a fusion and it takes time for the muscles and soft tissue to heal.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    edited 02/18/2015 - 12:42 PM
    You are so fresh out of surgery. Any surgery takes time for healing. Even the most simple surgical procedures require time for the patient to heal.

    And when you are talking about spinal surgeries, which are not the simplest it does take time. Three weeks and you are like an infant.
    What you are looking for is that each day is better than the day before. Yes, you can still be in pain, but hopefully in time that starts to subside. If the pain starts to get worse, then perhaps you might want to contact your surgeon to discuss it.... Otherwise, let things ride themselves out.. Just make sure you keep to all the rules, restrictions and limitations that your doctor outlined for you.,
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I started out like you and Im out of work 9 months later...not due to the side of surgery something happened to the right side...I am still undiagnosed but I will say I trusted my surgeon and if I were to tell him what your saying as mine was almost exact, he'd have me getting a post op MRI to check for re herniation...everyone heals differently i was told 6 weeks and I'd be back to work....I'm wishing you the best but speak with dr and truly express your concerns and fears....
    This can't be happening
  • Back surgeries are so complex. It is not like having appendicitis and getting your appendix out. No spinal surgery is a black and white procedure...there are many areas of grey, which is to be expected. The surgeon is manipulating and coming into contact with your spinal cord and the surrounding nerves. If you aren't feeling right about something, I suggest going back to your surgeon and letting them know. Yes you are so early out of surgery, but it is better to be safe then sorry...maybe he will want to get a post op MRI and take a look at things. What stuck out for me is the recurring sciatica. Fusions are done mainly to take care of the leg pain/sciatica we are having from the back injuries...most surgeons wont even do a fusion if you only have back pain and not leg pain with it. I hope you are getting things figured out! Let us know an update!!
    Spine-Health Moderator 
    Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Bulging discs T12-L3
    Annular Tears with Disc Extrusion L4-S1
    Moderate Central Canal Stenosis
    Moderate Foraminal Stenosis
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Ligaments
    Spinal enthesopathy
    L4-L/5 PLIF with cages, rods, screws 2/15 

  • And this is the results. Can you please convey? i have no idea what it means and need to know. The doc won't call until at least monday. :

    Addendum: In addition to epidural scarring and/or recurrent/residual disk
    protrusion, the differential diagnosis of the abnormal soft tissue density
    filling the right neural foramen and lateral recess at L5-S1 also includes
    postoperative fluid collections that she has seroma/hematoma or abscess.
    Contrast enhanced MRI would be helpful for further characterization.
  • My surgeon wouldn't allow me to return to work until 12 weeks after fusion surgery. I do have a physical job though & although cleared didn't feel like I could do my job until 6 months. I only returned a couple of weeks ago & I'm still being very cautious as I'm still having nerve pain.
    I do feel better as each week goes passed. It's not a simple process, our bodies are dictating the recovery time. Try not to push yourself too hard, no point in undoing any of the work.

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