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PLIF of S1 and L5 with nerve decompression- good recovery

LaweedenLLaweeden Posts: 10
edited 03/09/2015 - 11:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know that the forums tend to find posts from those who have not have good experiences/results from surgery or from posters looking for help with issues from surgery.
This post goes the other way. My 13 year old had a spinal fusion and nerve decompression on Monday 2/23/15. She had it at xxxxx Hospital. She had both a neurosurgeon and her spine surgeon in the OR with her. The neurosurgeon reported after the surgery that her nerves were so compressed he was surprised she was still walking let alone still competing as an all star cheerleader. She went into surgery at 9:45 and I got to her in recovery at 6:00. It took longer than expected but everything went exactly as each of the surgeons had planned.
When I got to her in recovery, she reported to me that she felt great and was planning to go to practice to watch on Sunday. She was very swollen but very comfortable. She was on morphine with PCA. Tuesday morning she wanted the foley out. She started taking her pain meds by mouth so they could stop the continuous drip and PCA. She was up and walking within 18 hours of recovery room. She was sitting in the chair and very comfortable. Wednesday night we hit a stumbling block. After a particularly rough transition back into bed, she started to experience severe right ankle pain. The neurosurgeon team was in to see her, I think they were very worried at first as she could not move her foot or toes. They started to touch her feet and she was able to say where they were touching her. They upped her gabapentin. That with ice took the edge off. Thursday was rough with little sleep due to constant overnight poking and vitals and there was shooting pain in her left shin. Ice helped some. Tackling the first few stairs did not go well, she was so tired she whined through the whole thing. Thursday night they stopped poking her and let her sleep. They did not even wake her for pain meds and she woke up a whole new person. It was time to tackle the full flight of stairs so she could home. She plead her case - once home she would not be going up the stairs and then right back down. Could she do them separately? The PT agreed but once up there was only an option to come down. We took a chair so she could rest at the top of the stairs. She did it and we went home.
One week home and she doing well. We have actually gone out for very short trips - get her handicap placard, to the gym to see her friends at practice, lunch...
She still has some random leg pains and some random difficulty straightening her legs, but she is off the gabapentin, she hated the taste and would gag. In discussion with her surgeon it was determined to stop the med as my daughter would rather deal with the pain. Her surgeon has said the pain could last up to four or five months but that it is perfectly normal now that the nerves that were so compressed are now live.
Last night she even rolled from her back to her side in her sleep. She was very distressed that she may have caused damage. I emailed her surgeon and just heard back that it's perfectly fine for her to roll in her sleep.
I should add that both her surgeons are fantastic and excellent about answering emails, even on weekends, at 5:00am... And it helps reduce her anxiety and makes her comfortable in what she can and cannot do. I wouldn't trade either of them for anything.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • She sounds like a tough little girl. So glad
    it has gone so well. Was this the result of an injury? Please keep us updated as it is always great to hear the success stories.
  • Dcs90 said:
    She sounds like a tough little girl. So glad
    it has gone so well. Was this the result of an injury? Please keep us updated as it is always great to hear the success stories.
    It is actually a congenital issue with my daughter though it may have been exasperated by being thrown off her horse. No way to be sure. The spondylolisthesis was not present in December 2013, in June of 2014 it was grade 1. By her December 2014 visit it was a grade 2/3. She had been thrown off her horse in August though her pain level had not changed.
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