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Alif Fusion- What should I expect??? Very scared!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all!

I am going to have my level 2 fusion on L4/5 and L5/S1 possibly Sept 11th. They are going to do the ALIF approach. Can anyone tell me what to expect during and after?? It's been a while since I was last on, and can't remember what I am going to expect, need, want. Any helpful advice, hints would be greatly appreciated.
For example, I am getting a recliner so I can "live" in it. Did that help for some of you?? What kinds of other things will I need after.
What do I need to be informed of before for my kids and husband?? :S

Thanks so much!


  • Im not sure what to expect after an ALIF as I had a PLIF. I do know tht an ALIF is an easier recovery than the other.
    However, regarding you getting a recliner, even though it sounds like a good idea, it isnt that great as it's hard to get in and out of and usally they are too low to even get into.
    Also doctors usually like you to either lay down flat or sit up straight.
    I had to get a hig backed computer chair to use as every chair in my home was too low. I have recliners in my couch at both ends and when I did succeed in getting down into them they were extremely uncomfortable.
    Maybe a ALIF is different, I hope someone else can help you more.

    Good luck on your surgery,
    Christina :)
  • both physically and mentally but the best thing you can take to hopsital with you is a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. :))( WOW and it doesn't even take up much room in your luggage.

    I would say to make sure to have your home ready for later with meals cooked and things moved to reachable heights. You wont be able to BLT bend lift or twist so make sure you dont have to. Stretching is also difficult. I had to get my microvawe moved to bench heigh etc.

    Get your grabbers and other things (thread on here about what to get)
    I also had a PLIF but basically arrange some things to keep you busy that you WILL be able to do and set yourself some goals.

    Be prepared for some pain post surgery but not a lot. If you have pain then dont be stoic, ask for pain killers.

    Warn your family and friends that even if you do look great you will still not be able to do things so you will be needing help. Get phone numbers/website or stores that deliver!
    Write a list of DVDs that you have been wanting to watch.
    I agree with Christina about the recliner, No way I could have gotten out of one if I had to but I do have a sofa bed which I bought a firm matress for so I could watch movies while lying down instewad of sitting.

    make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes that you can get on and off easily. (elastic laces are great)as you will be doing a lot of walking.
    If you can start now to get as fit as possible all the better.

    Blessings Sara

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  • I had ALIF at one level L5-S1 on July 30. I spent 2 nights in the hospital before returning home. By far the incision has hurt worse than my back. I have a new respect for ladies with c-sections, LOL. 24 hours post op I was on morphine/pheneghan for pain and perocet there after. I was on blood thiner and had the inflatable things on my feet that pump up every few seconds to keep you from having clots. I was fitted with a brace to wear while up. The first week you notice improvements daily. I used a walker for about a week. I've had several knee surgeries and my knees have hurt. 2 weeks post op and my biggest problems is reminding myself to take it easy.

    I had the wife buy the potty seat riser, which was worth it. And that grabber thing is great when I can get it from my 3 year old son. It's great for pulling up your clothes getting dressed. I have a love seat that reclines and it is hard to get out of the 1st week but since then it's good and a welcome change from lying. A small pillow under the back may help. I've been a bit long. If you have any other questions feel free to PM me and I can tell of other details.

    Tom 42 years old
    Savannah, GA
  • Well thank you all for your comments, I really appreciate them.
    I must say that I am extremely nervous, but I want this done ASAP! I now have such a high tollerance for the pain, that I am having seizures!
    As for the recliners, I guess I will have to wait until I can get in and out of them! LOL! I just had my husband and father smash the old couch and loveseat cause it was aweful and just bought second hand a reclining loveseat and recliner x2! OOOPPPPSS! Well at least the hubby and kids can enjoy!
  • I got a recliner before my surgery and it has been a lifesaver! I would hate to be stuck in bed 24/7-I lean back in it and I can be around my family still! I do put pillows in it to raise me up a bit-so it is not so low.
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  • I use mine. I place 2 stiffer pillows on the back so I don't sink in. I use the cane to help get in and out. We have 2 styles btw- one is upright and stiff the other (my fav is softer).

    I can only sit in it for awhile- this is the only place I can comfortably use my laptop and be with the family. Otherwise I am by my self either in bed or on the cold leather couch in the family room alone.

    I do try to eat my meals at the dinning room tabe and sitting very upright is hard for me.

    PS/I had PLIF and didn't even attempt the recliner for the first couple of weeks.


  • I got my recliners, 2 different ones. One is softer than the other one. I go back and forth between them both depending on how my back feels. They have been helping me sleep lately cause my back is killing me!
    I'm having my ALIF September 25th so we will see how it goes.
  • That the recovery from ALIF is all that much less painful than a PLIF. It's still surgery, and it's still messing with your spine. According to all the doctors I've talked to, the only difference is the muscles.. So it's muscle pain you'll mostly feel from a PLIF, whereas it's more stomach pain and whatnot from having your organs moved around from an ALIF. Neither are fun, and neither are easy.

    I had a csection with a HUGE baby, and my incision was around 10 inches.... From hip bone to hip bone... And let me tell you, my insides were hurting for a LONG time. Lol. Moving around organs and stuff messes with your digestive system, the entire thing basically, you can get air inside and have terrible gas that feels like triplets kicking around inside, LOL.

    But it sounds like you have a really high tolerance for pain, and you may be fine! If you have a recliner on the love seat, I bet you'll be able to slide into it, since you could do it a bit sideways. I am sure it's harder to get up from a laying position than a reclining or sitting one.

    I wish you the best. Let me know how it goes for you :)
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