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Have you had a recent spinal fusion??? Need help!!

VickiVVicki Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Having fusion #2 sometime very soon. Had my first in '94, L5S1, using my own hip bone. Awful recovery. Now I'm headed for the L4 fusion (domino effect) with hardware. Last time I wore a brace for 9 months w/o hardware. I have a spinal cyst and pain down the leg. Frankly, since I had an accident in '93 its been spasms or some other back related issue. Just disgusted already.
What I need to know is whats a lumbar fusion like in 2008? The pain, restrictions,how long till you feel human again. When the Dr. told me Fri. that the fusion was needed I just walked out in a trance and didnt ask any questions. Will you all fill in the blanks so I have some idea of how long the recovery will be and what to realistically expect. The first fusion was a nightmare I still vividly recall but I truly want to know all the gory details so I am prepared. I thank all you all from the bottom of my back.


  • I had fusion to L4-5 in 2003. My surgeon does not use bone. He says that it is much harder on the patient if you have to heal from the bone removal and that they have determined that you could use a wine cork and it would work just as well. (surgeon humor, I think) the first few days were rough,just like any other surgery. I'm not big on the meds. As soon as I can't go to the bathroom I get off of them. Was on Loritab for 3 days and then was OK without them. I was back to work in a brace after 4 weeks and have not had the leg, nerve pain since.

    You will need someone with you for the first week or so if you have to bend for anything at all. I was unable to feed my dogs so someone else had to help me with that.

    Hope this is helpful for you.
  • I am 6 days post op-I had a Plif and Alif with hardware (L4-S1). I also had a facet fusion. Surgery took 9 hours-recovery is slow. Still can't walk very well-using a walker. I expect to get a little better each day. Good luck!
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  • Hi Vicki

    I'm a little after a 2 months since I had a ;TLIF/Laminectomy. I'm in sort of a hell right now; I'm waiting for a post op CT Myelogram because things are going great for me. My last microdiscectomy didn't help at all last year. Right now I'm on an on a prescription anti inflammatory I shouldn't be on because it inhibits bone fusing, but I was in so much agony, and neurontin didn't work. They think I have a pinch nerve again and hope to see what's going on next week.
    There are a lot of success stories too. Well, you know that back surgery is a gamble, and I'm sorry you have to have another again. It's like a domino effect for some people, and a blessing for others. I wish you all the best.
  • I was put on Torodal pills- they usually give it to you at the ER for pain in form of injection. I have made a turn for the worst since last weekend, and neuro had upped my neurontin from 100mg to 300mg. I do not tolerate that medicine and my insurance does not pay for Lyrica. I read it's bad to take for a long time in pill form and I only given 20. It has helped me not to be in complete agony. I also have to sit up for 30 minutes with a full stomach after I take it.
    I am waiting for my CT/Myelogram next week to the the cause. There might be a possibility I may have pinched a nerve, from what I was told. Could it be just a flare up? I'm 2 months post TLIF/Lami. I do still have an L3 hemangioma left there because they decided it was best to leave it alone and keep watch on it. What do you guys think? Replies humbly appreciated.
  • You really need to go back and see your Dr with a list of questions. Things have changed so much in the past years and each Surgeon seems to have a different reguime for their patients. eg I had 4 levels done but no brace and was doing PT on day 1. Very different from other experiences I have read here.
    You want to know if he is dong PLIF or ALIF, hardware, is he using your bone, BMP or donor bone. How long in hopsital etc.
    Somewhere here (do a search) there is a thread with a list of questions but really even though we can help you it is better to get it straight from the horses mouth.
    You may even find that the Dr has a booklet with all these answers.

    Good luck and blessings
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  • Hey Vicki,

    Next month will be my 1 year anniversary for my fusion. I had a two level 360 fusion w/o my own bone, they used bmp. No lie, it's rough the first couple of weeks, but there is light at the end of the tunnell. I had my ups and downs, went thru water pt twice (very impt!!!) and land pt. The initial recovery when i was first home was a disaster, i had to get a hospital bed. Once I was situated with my bed and meds, I was sleeping alot. I took the dizapam and pain meds like clockwork. My only difficulty was going to the bathroom, I screamed like a baby, so pre-pare yourself with softners so you don't have to go thru that. I had help from my mom and husband, I have two small children. Another hard part was sitting for me, it was very weird, uncomfortable. All of a sudden one day, your like wow I feel good, not even realizing it. I don't liket o say it cause I don't want to jinx myself. I have to say, if I had to do it all over again I would...tremendous relief especially the burning leg pain i had in the fron tof my thighs!!! I still once in awhile get flare-ups, but then i just take it easy (of course after freaking out getting nervous, that the pain is back). Everything you do after a fusion I think changes...change the way you bend, get up from a chair you know, you just have to be more aware to move correctly. Good Luck!!!
  • I am 17 weeks Post Operation PLIF now.The first few days are hard and a bit testing and I found some of my symptoms have taken a while to settle. The Sciatic pain in my butt and down my leg is just beginning to settle but compared to before te Operation all symptoms are incredibly less. I to have had flair Ups but I learn and each one is not as bad as the first one. I am walking everyday and I am just about to start Pilates. I really feel a lot of Hope for the future. My back felt weak at first and my back so stiff , this is slowly changing . Everything is slow , there is no swift recovery ! I had Annular tears and really had no choice other than Fusion . I am very glad I have taken this path , it is a huge relief and very worthwhile . Good luck and hope things get better
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