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l5-s1 fusion

kgittskkgitts Posts: 1
edited 09/13/2015 - 8:59 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone. I had a 360 fusion at l5-s1 as well as lamenectomy at l4-l5 about 5 weeks ago. I am a 46yo male in decent shape (pear is a shape), actually I work a very sedentary job that sometimes keeps me sitting in my office 12-14 hours per day 6-7 days per week do no, I'm not in good shape. About the only exercise I get its a nightly mile walk with my wife and whatever the puppies put me up to and I don't have the best diet. Basically I'm 5'11" and hovering around 200lbs.

Everytime I go to a follow up appt with my surgeon he goes on and on about how patients have had this surgery and were playing golf 2 weeks later taking a few Tylenol. It really bothered me that at 5 weeks it still feels like I'm learning to walk and do routine things.

I was then talking with s family friend earlier today who also happens to be an orthopedic surgeon and before I could say anything other than the type of surgery I've had and how long ago it was he said"wow that's really early" according to him 2 months is the minimum amount of time and the fact that my surgeon keeps telling me about the guy playing golf 2 weeks after was totally inappropriate.

This past week I tapered down and stopped all narcotics. I am on the tail end of withdrawal but definitely through the worst but I've realized I'm still in alot of pain. I've literally tried to fall asleep in a hot bath, sleep in a chair I have that gives you s massage (not comfortable at all). I feel like during the day I'm doing everything in a bucket of molasses and I still have my leg buckle once in awhile from pain.

So I'm seeing my GP tomorrow and I'm not sure what to do, go back on the pain meds and have to deal with that dreadful withdrawal again? I just don't think I'm strong enough for that. Continue to function as s semi person who can't drive, go to the shops, take my wonderful pups for a walk or start walking with the absolutely most amazing person I've ever met(my wife)? I don't know how long I can take that either. I've asked my PT how long to I'll be able to ride in a car for an hour or walk for a mile and his answer was 6 weeks. I'm feeling s bit wrought and could use some shared experience from anyone who has been through this type of surgery, specifically the 360 fusion. Can anyone give me a real time frame on what to expect?

Thanks so much in advance

Fusion recovery one to 3 months


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • I have some experience here....I would run (or limp) away from your surgeon as fast as I could. That is crazy to expect a patient who has been fused to be able to do anything as strenuous as golfing (which involves twisting and bending, both of which are huge no-no's after back surgery). A fusion surgery, even minimally invasive, is a major surgery and the recovery takes months to a year or more, depending on your circumstances. If your leg is (still) buckling, that indicates that you had pretty significant nerve impingement and so it stands to reason that you will need a longer time to recover. I will be a year out from my TLIF procedure in about a week and while I'm generally back to a new norm (I have some permanent nerve damage) it took quite a while to get back to that and I am younger than you by a decade.

    I would most definitely be looking for a new surgeon, or possibly this family friend that you spoke with. Yours will end up hurting you if you try to do the things he's suggesting.
    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 there, while I agree with coltsfan, who is absolutely correct about the length of recovery from fusion. I've had two and coming up on my third. My surgeon would not even consider the third fusion until he was certain I healed from my other one from a year and a half ago. Understand I had fusion 2004 on l4/5, then eleven years later the level above. Now I'm getting the level below..this should do it for me.

    I know it is hard to speak in the doctors office. They are your expert, heck, they were in your back! They have a pretense when they enter the room and it can be intimidating. If it were me, I would go back to your doctor asked with your wife or another person who can be there to encourage you and back you up. Who can be prepared with cues to give you courage to explain that while it's great that guy went golfing..this is my situation.

    Also, pain is the bodies indicator it hurts. Some hurts, like muscle tightness..you stretch. The kind of pain you are experiencing is not a tight muscle. You had major surgery. If you were prescribed pain medicine and still have pain, there is nothing wrong with taking your remedy your doctor prescribed. Your doctor will not let you become addicted. If you have that concern, please,add that to your list to discuss with him. (I personally was scared about addiction too, because I was young and saw media coverage about people becoming addicts. I did not become an addict. I talked to my doctor at 3 months out and he brought me down to lower medicine.) I wish society could understand what recovery pain is, what chronic pain is, acute..on and on. Yes there are drug abusers in this world..but I have never met a spiney, someone who wants to return to a pain free world were they can move and be free becoming an addict.

    If talking to your doctor does not work, you must find another doctor. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I hope your current doctor is able to hear your concerns and help you to heal.
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 719
    edited 09/16/2015 - 7:25 AM
    Dear gkitts

    Golf 2 weeks after fusion surgery.... that's just nuts!!!! Coltsfan is right on the money... your surgeon is feeding you [edit]. A fusion surgery is a BIG surgery and the recovery time is months not weeks. In my case it took 12 full months to be fully back to normal from the first surgery. For my second fusion surgery it took even longer. On the first fusion surgery I didn't need any meds once i was out to the hospital but on the second surgery I was on meds for almost 4 months. Everyone is different but 5 weeks is really nothing and it sounds like you are making reasonable progress and off the meds... hang in there... be patient... it takes time.
    Harry - 62 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
  • So I am picking up my son from the orthodontist, he just had hi braces off! We are excited and moving toward the exit.

    The ortho sees me moving oddly and on the cane. He asks what's up? I've known him thru two kids so I go ahead and tell him briefly it will be my third fusion, I will be okay, it's gonna be soon.

    He responds: oh yeah, my neighbor had that, you will be up and around fast. He was walking around and around the block right after the surgery.

    I replied, I'm glad to hear that of course, but I don't think I will be doing anything close to that until about two to three weeks out. I'm gonna take it slow to heal properly.

    He said, you know, your right, I think it was a little later out.

    I think people are trying to be positive to me, and that is kind. It is caring. But it is complete insane to think I will have my third level fused and be going around blocks in a week. Just like the golfing suggestion to you.

    Anyways, I just want you to hear your not alone.
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