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Surgery for Spondylolisthesis

lmestonllmeston Posts: 46
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, fellow spine fusion friends.
I am three weeks away from having lumbar level one PLIF surgery and am scared half to death! (Spondylolisthesis,disc hernation,facet DDD L3-4,4-5,L5-S-1)Surgeon will not do any of the other levels because this would be trauma enough for my body? L5-S1 is in really bad shape too. I of course dread the surgery and post pain after the procedure, but am more worried about the post not being able to do anything blues. I am a rather hiper person and am always on the move. Has anyone faced this issue? I know the first several weeks I will feel bad enough that that will not be a problem....but what about the weeks following that?
I have had two cervical fusions plus, a few others surgeries so am not a stranger to surgery. I have been told that this one is REALLY tough though. Please, if anyone could be up front and and give it to me like it really is details etc. I would be so thankful. I would rather be prepared for the worst and have it turn out better....than not be prepared at all, or half way.
I admire all of you that have taken this giant step in trying to better your quality of daily living. I feel like we are dammed, in a way, no matter what our choices are. Just hope this will not lead to future lumbar surgeries....so unsure on the right things to do....
Again, thanks for your time and understanding, L


  • Hi Imeston,

    I think you are half way there already! - If you expect th eworst then it won't be as bad! lol.

    Seriously, sure the post op bit is sore, what you will expect but not as bad as the pre-op. My first surgery offered me releif immediately. My problems started 3 months later as i became more mobile but I am not the normal. Most Spondy cases have a 80% (ish) success rate. The clinical papers can't seem to agree on a definition of success and clinical outcomes = solid fusion and patient outcomes = pain reduced are 2 very separate issues.
    pOst op you will do as much as you are able. I am (was) very active and I don't often get frustrated because my want and ability for the day is dependant on how i feel.

    Listen to your body, don't have too high an expectation post op (too much too soon) - it is a massive surgery and the first few days will show you that.

    You will be got out of bed, when they think you are ready and then you'll see what you've been through. It will take all your effort and mental ability to get going. But every day you will do more. And hopefully, through all the post op soreness, you will feel that some of your horrid hellish symptoms are gone. Fingers crossed.

    Get your self a slippery sheet or sleeping bag - the reason - it offers you less resistance moving around the bed post op and makes it easier for log rolling. A kiddie beaker (drinking lying down) and a grabber are useful gadgets too, while i remember.

    Good lUck
  • I had an ALIF 2 levels. It was rough at the beginning. I felt terrible in the hospital and really had a lot of issues from having the surgery done anteriorly. My bowels are still having issues 5 months out. The pain in my back from the hardware installation was well controlled. I never had uncontrollable pain.

    I too am a very active person with my children and was very stressed about not being able to care for them and keep up with them. I was moving well within the first 4 weeks but the fatigue was overwhelming. I may have tried to do too much. The fatigue lasted for 4 months, where I had to rest at some point during the day and really felt like I had no energy. It did finally lift right at the 4 month mark.

    I read tons of books and got lots of movies. The time did go fast as I kept myself busy mentally. Try to be patient it does go fast when you look back on it! Take care!
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  • Hi and welcome!!

    The others pretty much said it all.
    I was a nervous wreck even though I had tons of previous surgery before the spinal fusion mine was also for spondy.
    It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
    The toughest day for me was when they got me out of bed for the first time. I hate when ppl grab onto me. I wanted to roll and get up myself as I knew how.
    After that it got easier and easier. Sore yes. Alot of pain no.
    I guess the first day I was in alot of pain but do not remember nothing!!!! Thank goodness.
    It did help w/ the spondy a great deal. Yes once in awhile here and there I get that deep burning feeling back. That nothing touches but a nice old ice.
    I am going in again because I did not fuse to get L4-S1 done this time. Don't take that to heart as some ppl just do not fuse for some reason. I fused great with my cervical.

    I was cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry with my grabber at 2 weeks. Yes I was SO TIRED and weak but I did it. No bending and twisting of course. I went through 2 grabbers becuase I kept breaking them. LOVE THOSE THINGYS :D

    Hang in there. Eve1 is different in their pain levels and recovery. It's a long one on this surgery.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!
    Terri >:D<
  • Hi, I am 22 days post-op PLIF L4-5 for spondy. My hospital stay was about what I expected, a lot of pain but controlled with meds, very hard to move-but got to do it anyways. Now at 3 weeks I am moving much better, but have no stamina, get worn out and have to lay down, am backing off meds, but increased activity increases my pain. I am starting to feel kinda down and depressed with feeling so useless, and wanting to get back at it, and yet my body isn't ready yet. Considering going to MD to get on anti-depressants for a little while, but dreading that too. This is just a really slow going recovery, but from reading these boards, it is the norm, and I am on track. Just wish it were faster! Next NS appt not for 5 more weeks, at which time will assess fusion with xray. Seems depressingly far away. All this waiting is hard. Try to plan lots of stuff to do, catch up on, books, movies, photo-sorting, thingsyou usually never have time for. There is a thread on here about preparing for surgery and it has a great list of recommendations on things to do before and after surgery to get ready. Good Luck, welcome aboard to this great site full of information and support, Sue :)
  • Just in the surgical area and in one of my hips/legs. It gets better each day but when my pain meds stopped working at week 2-3 I was insane with pain.I now have them switched and am doing much better- like cali-sue the stamina part is hard as I get more tired I get more pain.

    Getting up hurts, sitting hurts, and walking hurts...LOL But the old pain is gone :D

    My pre-op pain was controlled with 5-10 mg of vicaden about 2 x per day- lidocane patches and and terribly agrivated by walking/bending

    Now I am on 10 mg of Norco (vicaden) 4 x per day and 5 mg of oxycodone 4x per day and flexerile up to 3x per day.

    I have a case of the blues and will be going on anti depressants as soon as I am off the pain meds.

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  • I am 15 weeks post-op. 5 level fusions L2-S-1 with rods and screws. Hospital was not wonderful but pain medication kept it under control. Needed 6 units of blood over the 4 days after surgery. Coming home was awful, but I had home health and that helped. After 5 day home the incision opened and I had to have pressure dressing applied for the next 9 days. I am in a brace 24/7 but even got on a plane last week flew 800 miles. I use a walker for long walks but a cane for short walks. I can walk without the cane but it is hard. I stopped pain medication at 3 1/2 weeks. All the pain and dropped foot on the R leg is gone, but lots of nerve problems on the L. The L leg was fine before surgery. There has not been any fusion as yet. I would do it again for the pain relief offered to my R leg. You will do fine. The Lord has kept me going, plus a good husband who does not baby me. This site has really helped me. Good luck.
  • I understand where you are coming from. I have always been an extremely busy person up to my surgery. You just have to learn to relax and take it one day a time.
  • just adding on a bit.
    it is a very hard long surgery and recovery.
    you will for sure get down somedays and have other good days.
    you will learn to love repeats on t.v :D
    the laptop is a heaven sent. makes your time go by just a bit faster. just make sure to get out there and walk as much as your body allows.

    HANG IN THERE that is what we are here for!!!! >:D<
  • I just want to let you know how much your reply ment to me....just knowing there is someone out there that shares your pain and scared feelings is such a help. Although I wish you did not have the pain etc.....I just wonder why we spine people seem to have not just one spine problem, but many??? As I stated in my first post, I have had two cervical fusions and now looking towards this major surgery and the level above and below is in BAD shape with the one below much worse. But, my surgeon will not touch that at this time?, so know that surgery looms in my future. I guesss we have to take it one day at a time though.....again thanks for taking the time to reply to my post it really has helped me....best wishes to you and your spine, L

  • Thank you for your post. It is such a great relief to know I am not alone in this scary path I am about to take. I wish you peace and comfort in your on going recovery, L
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