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12 months post TLIF L5S1

Here I am 12 months post TLIF L5S1 and am pleased to say CT & X-rays show I'm fully fused! It's been a long 12 months but I'm feeling pretty good. I do have some residual nerve pain in my right ankle but that's currently under control (thanks to Lyrica).

Do I regret having a fusion? Absolutely not. My only regret is not having my herniation diagnosed sooner.

I won't lie, it's been a long road getting to this point and recovery time has definitely been longer than I anticipated.

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


  • It's so good to hear a positive update from you! I hear you on it being a long road and a long year. I only hope that my fusion fuses as well...I haven't had any follow-ups to check. Hooray for a surviving a rough year!
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • Hi Veronica,

    Congratulations on making it through the year and reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. I am 3.5 months out from a similar surgery and still in a lot of pain. When did you final "turn the corner" so to speak? How did you feel after 6 months?


    Micro Discectomy L5/S1 Feb 12
    Anterior Fusion L5/S1 June 12
    Posterior Fixation added to L5/S1 Nov 12
    Hardware removal Nov 13
    TLIF at L4/L5 May 15
    Posterior Fixation added again at L5/S1
  • I've been away on a road trip & it's taken me a week or so to get things back to normal. The washing! Plus it's school holidays here. My husband & I have learnt no more than 6 hrs a day in the car with at least 2 breaks (resulted in me looking odd doing some stretching & walking in places you wouldn't expect!) We are planning future road trips to work that way. Some days are worse than others but life keeps getting in the way.

    Do you have a follow-up soon to check your fusion?

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • how was your recovery like? did u have muscle stiffness around the incision area?
  • My husband is 6 months post-op after L4-S1 fusion. I was searching for positive outcomes. He is really struggling with pain and depression. Your post gave me hope for future.
  • Great news Veronica. Delighted for you. I am 6 months post L5\S1 fusion and still having back pain although it is not the same type of weakness and pain from the disc I once had. I am still experiencing a lot tightness on the bone where the screws and rods were placed and still have complete inability to exercise of any kind due to it causing flare up in pain. How long did it take for you to say the tightness from the screws and rods were gone for you? How long did it take before you could tolerate more exercise than just simple walking?

  • Hi Noel,
    For the most part the tightness was gone at around 10-12 months. If I overdo things I still feel tightness. This normally involves me sitting for too long in the car (more than 3-4hours without a stretch) or recently, crawling under school desks doing some work with computer cabling. I started Aqua therapy under physio guidance 5days post fusion. I followed a strict program for around the first three months, eased into lots of water walking and at around six months started Aqua aerobics.I wasn't sporty beforehand so I still stick to walking and Aqua aerobics. Anything that involves jumping niggles my lower back. I'm still taking a small nightly dose of Lyrica for nerve pain in my foot. I'm still happy that I had the fusion. 

    Hope this helps,

    ps, for others who I haven't responded too, I'm sorry. I don't log on very often anymore, l'm working, being a mum & a wife & life is back to super busy.
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • thanks veronica,  because I am experiencing like 24/7 kinda of tension and tightness, wonderinng when we all will be normal again..

    was your tightness 24/7 right after surgery?
  • After having had L4-S1 fusion done about 6 weeks ago, I am SO glad to see a positive outcome!  Thanks for sharing your awesome progress with everyone!  Fully fused--YAAAAAAAY!!!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Jericho163, right after surgery I had a pulling like feeling (tightness). Having already had 2 discectomies I was very nervous about following my surgeons advice to a tee. He was supportive of me starting hydrotherapy within days of surgery as I went to a rehab hospital & was under the supervision of drs & physio's there. His biggest piece of advice was 'if it doesn't feel right, don't do it'. I followed that up until my 12 month post fusion visit when he told me I could push harder and to be honest I was frustrated at my inabilities. Now I have come to the realisation that I will likely never be as active but life is good.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • Thanks owie for your advice, just frustrated that the preop muscle tension at the lower back is still there after 4 months.

    just too impatient.
  • I am am month out from a 3 level 360 degree lumbar fusion (S-I-L-4-5).
     Pus I was the lucky recipient of 2 NEW artificial discs. No more rods, or screws which makes recovery not so bad. I was cut front and back, but the staples have been removed. The L-4-5 nerve to my left leg was actually "frayed" and it had to be mended and then wrapped to salvage it.
    My left foot went dead 4 times  in the first week, but its all part of the healing and the nerve will grow "an inch a month."
    I ended up having the worst side effects from Lyrica, so I am waiting to see if there is anything else, that is like it. I have a call into the neurosurgeons medication refill line. 
    The nerve from the front incision down my leg is angry as I do my daily walking.
    I also developed scoliosis and they said I had the worst spurring they had ever seen. 
    They got me in pronto once they saw all that going on plus nucleous pulpous leaking into my spinal canal!

    I have zero back pain which is huge.
    I am glad I waited even though the nerve is so damaged. Everyone that has the rods and screws all seem to end up having it all repaired at some point.
    The neurosurgeon was on the news for inventing this new artificial disc. I was in the best hands.
    They said it will take a year for everything to "settle down". I am also wearing that stimulator belt (4) hours a day.
    Staying positive even though my left leg  and foot, are trying to pull me to the negative side.

    "For we walk by faith, not by sight"~ Corinthians
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 728

    Hey Rootsprincess...

    So with your artifical disc will you lumbar bones actually fuse... or is the artifical disc a permanent replacement for your old disc?

    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • yea i am confused too... is it artificial disc or fusion?
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