L2-S1 Laminectomy with instrumented fusion in 2 weeks

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Anonymous (not verified)
Title: Member
L2-S1 Laminectomy with instrumented fusion in 2 weeks

Hi, first time poster. My July 14 surgery date is just around the corner. 'Had my pre-op exam today with my GP, blood typing next week and then it's the big day on the 14th. I am hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. Fusion is necessary as there are multiple damaged disks and the laminectomy alone will not support the spine, kind of like building a house on sink hole I'm told. The surgeon will be using the Medtronic infuse bone graft/Lt Cage Lumbar Fusion device.

Any advice would be appreciated. I know its going to be a long recovery period and at 58 I am no youngster. Thanks.

Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/19/2008 - 10:36pm
Hi Kraigster, welcome to the

Hi Kraigster, welcome to the group! You'll find lots of great advice here like buying a grabber, placing things at your level for easy access, etc. With that many levels, maybe also a riser for the toilet for those first few weeks after? Let the doctors take care of the mending and we'll take care of the support.


Angelback (not verified)
Title: Member

Welcome Kraigster,
Firstly you will find so much wonderful info here. I wish I had forund this site sooner before my surgery.
I am 8 weeks post PLIF L3-S1 fusion with hardware and decompression (laminectomies) and correction to scoliosis.

For me it was a really big op 12 hrs but I had been warned of that beforehand. I had PLIF so was on my stomach the whole time and was very swollen in face and down my front afterwards. This is normal for a PLIF so find out how the surgeon is entering- back side or front.

I had minimal pain after except when they turned me. Had 10 days in hospital then went to a rehab hosp for 2 weeks as I live on my own. Also I am in Aussie and we seem to do things a bit differntly here- I had no brace. I was having PT the day after and even walking a few steps then PT twice a day and added Hydrotherapy after 2 weeks.

Every has a different story, some good and some not so good but dont let anyones story scared you as we all heal at different rates and have different problems to start with.
I am pretty good now, had some problems when I reduced the pain meds and sleeping is not easy some nights but on the whole I had numb feet and legs most of the time before and that is all gone.

You will need patience, a reacher or 2, slippery sheets or satin PJs (see seperate post) more patience, lots of meals cooked in advance or take away menus at hand. Carry your mobile phone around your neck. Move things to a reachable height so you wont get frustrated if you cant reach it.
Remember- no BLT bending lifting or twisting after for a long time.
I would also recommend that you get a long handled sponge to get to your feet etc in the shower.I am still using my toilet raiser but the shower stool wouldn't fit properly in my shower.
Arrange for your shopping to be done on-line and delivered to your home so you wont need to lift any parcels. I did a big shop of long life milk, loo paper, tinned soup, shampoo etc before I went to hopsital. I also filled the freezer with cooked meals for 1 so all I need to do each night is decide what I feel like. (my very own restaurant)

Most importantly, BE POSITIVE! Smile Visualise yourself doing things afterwards that you havent been able to do in ages. See yourself going shoppingwith NO PAIN etc. It really helps.

I know there is so much more info I could give you and I'm sure that others will fill in some gaps.

Blessings Sara

kraigster414 (not verified)
Title: Member
Thank you both!

Thank you Angel, thank you Tammy. I am hoping for the best but I know it won't be a cake walk. Talking to others who have been through back surgery is a big help. Lots of anxiety as you can well imagine.

Spicey (not verified)
Title: Member
Good luck!

Hey Kraigster,

You wouldn't be human if you wasn't nervous about this - I can so clearly remember how terrified I was leading up to my surgery! Do you have anyone at home to help you out after surgery? If not, you may want to see if there is anyone who can call in to see you at least once a day for a couple of weeks afterwards, or even better, stay with you.

A raised toilet seat will definitely be a good idea because you are going to find that painful. You will not be allowed to bend, lift or twist afterwards so you need to make sure that if you are home alone, everything is within your reach. A grabber is going to be essential to help you prevent bending for things. Below is a list that I have copied from Milliekeylargo - she has kindly prepared this and it's a very good list (I'm sure she won't mind me steeling it for you!):

Things to have at home post-op:

1. A raised potty (can't bend post lumbar surgery)
2. A shower bench (to prevent slipping and falling in the shower or tub)
3. A heating pad
4. A good ice pack
5. A walker
6. A cane
7. An electric hospital bed if your bed is too low or if your bathroom is far from your bedroom or in a second floor, it helped me a great deal post-lumbar fusion!
8. A grabber. Since there is no BLT post surgery you can use this tool to pick up things and reach out things that are on the floor or that are not within your reach.

Things to do and shop for prior to surgery:

1. All of the items on your cupboard need to come up to waist level (no BLT post lumbar surgery! BLT= bending, lifting or twisting)
2. Everything in your bathroom cabinet that you are going to need needs to come up also, TP, soap, tooth paste, shaving cream, etc.
3. If you live alone or if your partner can not be with you for the first few weeks post-op, please arrange for a friend or family member to be there for you most of the time preferably 24/7, for meal preparation, help getting up and down, help getting medications and groceries at the store, etc.
4. Shop for a good laxative like Miralax. Most Opiates will constipate you and you do not want to be in that situation post-op. Also, prunes, prune juice, dry apricots help with constipation.
5. Shop for foods that you like and that are easy to prepare.
6. A tool to help you put your socks on and Velcro tennis shoes and/or comfortable slip on and non-skid shoes are important to have post surgery.
7. A tool to scratch your back and one to scrub your back during showering is helpful too.
8. Liquid soap and a sponge or a scrubby is easier than bar soap since if bar soap falls there is not way for you to pick it up, remember NO BLT!
9. Make a list of emergency numbers and numbers that you will need post-op and have them by your bed.
10. Make sure to have your phone, cell phone, radio, pads, pens, pencils, books, magazines, movies and things that can keep you entertain close to you by your bed. During recovery you will spend a lot of time in bed and entertainment of any kind is necessary to avoid boredom and anxiety.

One thing I would add to this - if your fridge is under the counter, invest in a small mini-fridge to keep essentials in. You can place this on the counter top and then you can get to the milk, etc., without having to bend.

Good luck with everything and let us know how you got on when you can! Spicey

Angelback (not verified)
Title: Member

Just bumping up in case anyone else has extras to add.

kraigster414 (not verified)
Title: Member
Thank you Angel again and Spicey

I'm taking notes and putting together a "to do" list. Spicey (love that name :)), I really appreciate everything you recommended and my list is getting bigger and bigger as a result. I wish I had a robot around to help instead of burdening my wife. Then I could be as grumpy as I like and not feel guilty.

Spicey (not verified)
Title: Member

Whenever I am grumpy my brother calls me "Grumpton"! Grin At least you feel guilty about it, that shows the real you is still in there somewhere. I have been insufferable lately! It will all be worth it in the end. Take care, Spicey (I have my ex-work colleagues to thank for that nickname!)

Angelback (not verified)
Title: Member

Kraigster, Why not arrange to have flowers sent to your wife every now and then or even get something like a massage voucher/facial etc so that she can have a treat and know that you really do apprecieate her.
Sometimes we forget to say with that to loved ones when we are feeling grumpy so arrange something now for a suprise later. Grin She will love you for it.
Blessings Sara

kraigster414 (not verified)
Title: Member

Excellent idea! And she does love flowers. Thanks Angelback.