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ALIF L5-S1 area

Hi everyone,
It has been along time since I have been here. I would like to know if anyone can offer some advice. I am having a ALIF surgery done on
L5-S1 with insertion of a cage and possible screws. It has only been a little over 2 yrs, since my XLIF procedure done on L4,L5 and S1 at
that time they were unable to insert this cage due to limited access and time . My surgeon told me this my possibly need done but it would
be years down the road, just to refresh everyone on my fusion experience, I had a successful fusion however the surgery left me with some
nerve damage and lead to and exploratory surgery done on my leg to decompress the nerve which was causing my foot drop, as a result
2yrs later after alot of PT the fot drop is permanent and I wear and AFO brace all the time, had a spinal cord stimulator implant done April
of this year to help with the pain, which helped in the beginning but it has only been 6 months since that surgery and the pain wasn't even
controlled with the stim, had injections in facet joints due to inflammation. I have DDD and DJD, osteoarthritis and now at the stim surgery
thoracic kyphosis and levoscoliosis was found and herniated disc at C6 and C7, so I have pain literally my entire spine. My surgeon told me
I may eventually need to have rest of spine fused but right now it is considered moderate and for my age not quite to point where that is
needed to be done, has far as the stim we are hoping after this surgery and recovery it will be helpful with pain. I am really scared because in
this 2 yr period I also have had a hysterectomy which resulted in a staff infection with a question if it was MRSA the nurses told me yes and
the Dr. said no however no further testing was done on the culture after initial one, also fund the endometrosis invaded my large bowel
which left me with issues there and I also had a breast mass removed that thank god was not cancerous. I just this June got my disability and back pay through December of 2013. I am scared I will have other complications and further nerve damage to my legs, I do trust my surgeon and know I am in good hands. Can anyone offer advice? Thank you Jaclee46


  • Update on the last post surgery scheduled for 12/15/15. ALIF with autograph and cage at L5-S1, and possibly will have to approach from
    the back, possible disc removal. The orthopedic surgeon said because I can not have MRI due to stimulator, he will not know until he is able to see keeping my fingers crossed no complications and no additional surgery is needed.
  • I too have permanent nerve damage at L4 and L5 (left leg) from my first fusion surgery (TLIF @ L4/5) in 2011. Now have a series of muscles that don't work properly including my quad (so I can't lift my leg properly), a knee that I can't lock into place and a foot drop. I wear a blue rocker AFO And walk with a stick. The cage slipped forward and caused a lot of scar tissue and damage in the front of my spine so had to be removed via ALIF in 2012. While doing the ALIF the doc fused L5/S1, removed the cage at L4/5 but due to complications relating to repeated tearing of the aorta (it was caught up in the scar tissue), he was not able to insert a new cage so I was left with a gap between L4/5 and the hope that it might fuse in 4 or 5 years. Pain issues in my right side that had been resolved in the first surgery returned when the cage was removed leaving me with problems on both sides.

    Spinal Cord Stimulator inserted via Laminectomy at T9 2 years ago (2013). For the first 18 months I didn't get the promised pain relief and regretted having the surgery particularly as it meant no more MRIs. Now I have to have Myelograms instead when they need to see more detail than a CT can give. (I hate Myelograms - always have a bad reaction to the additional pressure in my spinal canal). In the last 6 months, however, The SCS is finally giving coverage where I need it to. It doesn't control all of the pain issues but it does help a lot.

    We are now on a "watch and wait" due to bone spurs growing where we don't want them to. Not going to do anything at this point because where they are poses a risk to the nerves in my right leg.

    As you know from your previous surgeries - they all come with risks and they don't always give the results you are hoping for. If you are sure, in your own mind, that the surgery is necessary then whatever the outcome, you will deal with it. Give the stimulator a chance - it can take a long time to scar in but once it does you will notice the difference and you will be glad to have it in your bag of pain management tricks.

    Good luck with the surgery and take it easy afterwards. Give yourself plenty of time to recover.

    Sending positive vibes your way :)

  • Thank you CherlyC, I know I will not be completely pain free, If I don't do the surgery there is a good chance I will lose complete function of
    legs they already are weakened. I fell again on Saturday that is 3 times in a month this time I am hurting more than the other falls. How was
    ALIF surgery I was told the incision is really sore?

  • All abdominal surgery hurts. Add to that the spinal aspect and it's a pretty tough one. That being said - they will give you pain relief. I had complications during mine so what should have been a reasonably small incision on the left side ended up being a really big one that went from the inside of my left hip to about 6 cm from the inside of my right hip. The incision itself was uncomfortable for a little while. The abdominal muscles are the worst. Keep a spare pillow handy - push it into your stomach if you are going to cough or sneeze! They should get you up pretty soon after the surgery. You won't want to do it but trust me - the sooner you start to move the quicker you will get better.

    Try not to worry too much. Just face each day as it comes.
  • Surgery date still set for 12/15/15, now with possibility of a disc removal too. I just got my first Euflexxa injection 11/16/15 on my right knee and I am scheduled the next two weeks t finish p I also found out I have Greater Tronchanteric Bursitis in my left hip also wanted to do
    inkection in my hip but I opted out for now, except now my left leg is swollen all the way down to and including my ankle, this just keeps
    getting me more and more nervous.
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