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Minimally invasive ALIF for L5/S1 spondy

So after a very successful discectomy I have found after 7 months I can't truly walk very much without pain. I had been told the pars defect would cause me pain, and I didn't really believe it, but wow it now does. I'm still glad I didn't have the fusion because it allowed me to have a great ultra marathon swim in the Florida Keys this year. But now... with the sudden degeneration of my walking ability my surgeon is suggesting a minimally invasive ALIF for L5/S1.

Everything I read says 2-3 days in the hospital and 4 -12 weeks recovery.

I have a desk job (Thank you Jesus!).

My surgeon is telling me that I can go home that day and be back at work in 2 weeks. Since I would need to apply for FMLA if gone longer, I am kind of confused. Has anyone had an ALIF one level and done it same day?

Thank you!


  • Hey Runner:

    I had the ALIF surgery on August 3rd of this year. I won't pull any punches......it was really tough! I have an 8" scar on the lower left side of my abdomen and the entire area around the incision is still completely numb. I had lots of stomach issues due to the moving of the intestines during the surgery. I spent 5 days in the hospital and another 3 weeks in bed. So at nearly 12 weeks post-op I feel better and I can now move around pretty well. I do still have lower back pain and some muscle spasms, but it is better than before the surgery! My initial diagnosis was L5/S1 spondy which was discovered when hospitalized for sacrum and L5 transverse process fractures after a fall from 20 feet. The spondy was exacerbated when I fell resulting in unbelievable pain and nerve compression issues. Maybe this is a good as it gets. My spine surgeon is one of the best docs I ever met! If I have to live with some pain and moderate disability, well then I consider myself lucky!
  • Oh man. I am a bit worried. My surgeon has of course changed his go home the same day statement, to go home the next day. He thinks I'll be back physically at work in 4 weeks, but we hope to return me to doing the computer stuff within 2. I'm so worried because I really never had low back pain and I'm afraid I probably will after the insertion of that titanium disc, but we will see. I definitely can't go on this way, but the recovery time and possibility of a range of issues has got me very concerned.
  • I had a L5S1 fusion a month ago. I was expecting to be cut open in the stomach and back like most fusions. Right before surgery the surgeon informed me he only had to go through the back and i was pleasantly surprised. Was in hospital for 3 days, 2 nights. Was walking with a walker for sagely for a day or 2. But after being home a day i walked a lot by myself. Unfortunately i have bad nerve pain daily but that takes a long time to heal. Think positive and you will be ok. PLEASE take your time going back to work so you don't cause permanent problems. My rushing back to work after a micro deiscetamy ruined so many parts of my back causing the need for a fusion. Work can always wait when it comes to your quality of life forever.
  • Thanks DC. The anterior approach (the front incision) seems hard for people, but was chosen for me because I am an athlete and it disrupts less of the back muscles, and has a very high rate of fusion, so I'm all for it. There are so many different ways to do a lumbar fusion.
    I have seen a variety of videos on You tube of people doing video diaries of their fusion surgeries and I'm been very surprised at how well people manage.
    Hoping my fitness will aid me here. But... not feeling too fit right now! hopefully I will do as well as you!
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