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ALIF fusion recovery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Has anyone had an ALIF fusion of the L/4 L5/S1 discs? I have my surgery scheduled for the first week of October and am curious how long recovery takes. I know it is very subjective, but if anyone has any recent surgeries like this I would be interested, thanks. :H


  • hi and welcome to spine health. very nice to meet you.
    first sorry you have to have surgery..

    if you read the recovery thread for aug/sept plus other recovery threads you will see not one recovery is the same.

    there is a few of us that had surgery in the same week.
    mine just being the 17th. another person the 16th. they are doing better then me.
    so its going to depend on the person. the surgery itself.
    there is no certain time line.
    i myself have felt pretty crappy. im straight forward with that. but i also have a ton of other health issues so that has to be put in the equation. im unable to walk everyday like they tell you to, till we figure out the issue with my legs. we do not think it has anything to do with my back. but cardo problems.
    so the best way to heal you will find is take your meds on time. walk when you can. promotes healing. eat a healthy diet.
    great idea also is to use fibersure/myrlax something like that to keep your system clear and going from all the pain meds.
    you do get binded and it makes the pain a bit worse.
    are they using your own bone for fusion???? for me right now that is the most painful part.
    the incision is not to bad as they used glue and steri strips. so i did not have the added pain of stitches or staples.

    so to come to a close there is no exact answer. some it takes a few months some even longer.
    fusing starts anywhere between a few weeks to months. up to a year.

    we are all unique indivduals when it comes to this. reading some of the postings will help you just to see how different we all are with recovery.

    sorry for so long. i just want to let you know everything that went on with me.

    good luck with your surgery. go in with positive thoughts and follow your drs instructions. and after discharge always call them with any new pain that arises. even if it seems silly. as we have one good day then a few bad days..

    terri >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Hi, I had an ALIF L5-S1 procedure back in April.. To say it was a walk in the park would be an understatement, but for me it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be or read about.

    I also I went for the bone graft option from the iliac crest, and again I read the horror stories regarding pain/etc from the hip after the op, I can happily say that I've haven't experienced any pain/issue from the hip,I've either been extremely lucky or had an outstanding surgeon ?.

    I went home after 5 days from the hospital, I was back to work after 3 weeks (I work in IT). The only real issues I had was my stomach.. Wow it was really painful, I'm sure you don't want me to go into to much detail.. diarrhoea/etc :( last week, I had my first xray (I live in the UK), and the good news is fusion is taking place !!. Now I'm not excatlly pain free, Im sure its going to take time, But even now, I've noticed the difference
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  • wow you did awesome. your dr must of did wonders for that graft. as i mentioned that is the worst of my pain.. ouchie.
    =D> =D> =D> on the start of fusion!!!! your right this surgery messes with your belly.... thats why its so important to keep fiber in your body or a laxative a few times a week. while your on meds. ;)

    i also meant to mention last year i was in 4 days 3 nights.
    last week was only 2 nights surgery was at 12 noon on wednesday and i was home friday..
    depends on how you do in the hosptial. the worst for alot of people is getting out of bed the first time. especially if you do not know what to expect. but it feels so much better after they have you walk the hall. that is why walking is so important for healing..

    ok enough rambling can you tell im in the boredom state right now =)) =))
  • The pain for me since the operation has been bearable, As soon as I got home from the hospital, I stopped taken the medication that they gave me to take home (I was feeling really bad/sleeping whilst taken them). Up to a couple of weeks ago, I was suffering from stiffness in the morning's when I wake up.. Its not to bad now.. Time is a great healer, Hopefully I will be pain free within the year
  • awesome you dealt with no meds. so wish i could, but totally impossible right now.. yes i fall asleep to with them. but i find the more i rest the better for myself anyway.

    hey i was dancing last year at 6 months it felt wonderful!! you will get to that point..
    good luck...

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  • Welcome to SH

    My op is on the 6th Oct and similar to yours. Unlike Terri and dark fiber, I am having stem cell/bone marrow fusion rather than a bone graft. I think it has a proper name but i'm not sure what it is. Anyway, it seemingly fuses faster and there will be no extra pain from the graft site.

    Well thats what they tell me - and I'll be sure to let you all know if it's true x
  • I had 2 levels L5/S1 and L4/L5 in March. My surgery took just over 2 hours. My post op pain was more in my back than from my incision which they said was normal from opening the disc space up to place the grafts. My pain was well controlled in the hospital, I did have some nausea the first night but once I was switched to the Percocet and off IV pain meds I was much better.

    I spent 3 nights in the hospital. My biggest issue was from the moving of my bowels during surgery. It took awhile for this to get resolved. I had pretty severe constipation. I would recommend having stool softners on hand for when you get home or any other laxitive type product.

    The first 2 weeks I was really tired, took multiple naps a day! I started driving at 6 weeks. Wore my brace for 6 weeks and then only when driving for the 1st 3 months. Had a bone stimulator for 3 months. My fatigue lasted 4 months but could have been because I was trying to keep up with my kids and live like I had not had major surgery! I am totally back to myself energy wise and have been for over 2 months.

    All of my leg pain is gone. I have a little lower back soreness but nothing that is really bad. I am totally fused. They say it can take a year to harden but the grafts have grown and I am totally stable.

    I would do it again! Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
  • Hi 5kids -
    Is your stenosis gone since your surgery? Can you walk and stand without pain now?
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • I had the ALIF surgery 7 weeks ago. L5-S1. I am doing fairly well except for some unexpected pain that comes mostly while I'm standing that sometimes brings me to my knees. Also am having a terrible time sleeping especially when I turn. I have the foam pillow to sleep with between my knees but doesn't help much. Is this normal at 7 weeks post-op. Anyone else had any problems like this after their surgery? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I don't see my doctor again for 2 weeks.
  • I am 7 weeks almost 8 out from L5S1 ALIF and I am in worse shape than before. My right leg/foot/buttocks is constantly on fire and feels like it's waking up from having gone to sleep. It gives me shooting pain fits at anytime of the day and a lot at night too.
    Dr says it's S1 nerve pain related due to inflammation. Put me on 150mg 2x day of Lyrica and also on Arthrotec 2x day. It hasnt done anything except put 8 lbs on my xss!
    I keep hope for a better day tomorrow or the next day or the next day or.......
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