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Whats it really like right after surgery?

Sparky123SSparky123 Posts: 133
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm going to see my surgeon a week before the surgery so I guess I can ask him these questions then, but I can't stop thinking about it now. I think I'm OK with the first few weeks at home, in a lot of pain, and I'll have my family around to help, but what about at the hospital?

What is it like right after you wake up from surgery? I've only been under anesthesia when I got my wisdom teeth out, but that was 22 years ago. Will I feel pain instantly? Will I already be on pain meds? Will my wife be able to be in recovery (or will it be a regular room?) when I wake up?

With fusion surgery (TLIF) are you able to lay on your back right away? What was sleeping like right after surgery? Are you able to sleep much because of the pain or does the meds just knock you out?

And since I'm getting minimally invasive surgery, are you able to eat regular foods right away or will I be on a liquid diet at first?

Sorry for all the questions but what better place to ask them, right?




  • after surgery, you will probably have a pain pump. As long as you keep it punched, you won't feel too much pain. I was kept pretty comfortable pain wise and slept a lot. But I could lay on my back. I did turn on my sides quite a bit to move carefully. My husband was there the minute I came out of recovery to a room. They kept the catheter in for the next day. I didn't get to eat anything for two days due to having anterior. You will probably be different, but they do start everyone off on liquids and see how you tolerate them first. THey don't want you yucking up with any surgery.

    I really don't remember much about being in the hospital (its been 4 mos too), but I guess they did keep me pretty drugged. I was sent home with Oxycotin, which is strong too and makes you very sleepy. But only 3 weeks of that, then I had to switch to Lorcet 7.5, which isn't as strong. I layed in the recliner stretched out but mostly stayed in bed on my sides or back. I guess for you it will side sleeping. I was uncomfortable no matter what, you just sleep for bits at a time, but often. I had lots of pillow and satin sheet as the bottom sheet to help side around easier when turning.

    Good luck with your surgery!
  • hi,
    first as you already know its so different for everyone and so is the way the hospital is ran. i have been to 3 different ones and boy do they differ in how they run the show.

    i will go with my second because i remember that one from start to finish. the first i was so out of it i do not remember nothing from the first 2 days at all 8} 8}

    this time i awoke to them of course saying its over time to wake up in recovery,your already in a hospital bed so there is no transfers. they asked my pain level . all i had was burning in the incision and nausea. they were on top of me as fast as flies on pigs with meds. then i was hooked up to a pain control pump. and believe it or not you do push it even while your sleeping I) I) it becomes second nature being in your hand. (yes they give you pain meds in your IV during surgery to help minimize pain when you wake up)
    then after about a hour and half i went to my room. i was on liquids the rest of wed and all day thurs this is due to the pain pump. IV meds/food are not a great mix.
    Fri I was able to eat solids. Believe me most of the time your not hungry, cold and hot fluids sound best to ya.
    yes you can lay on your back. with min invasive i imagine you will have glue with steri strips?? thats what i had, which made for a very pleasent exerperience. ask for pillows under your legs. they already had them under me.
    getting out of bed the first few times if you have never done it can be tuff. you will feel like your incision is going to bust, but its not ;) ;) its alot of pressure and somtimes stinging when you get up.
    they got me up walking the second afternoon with the cath in etc. then they pulled it once they knew i could do so.
    then went to oral meds to see how i did with that.
    then boom home.
    it goes by so quick.
    home is a different story as you have read from recovery stories on here.
    you won't know till it all happens O:) O:) O:) we all can give all our expereinces in the world but not one is the same.

    do ya love all the stuff drs don't tell ya??!! :D

    you hang in there. we are wishing you all the best!!!
    terri O:) O:)
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  • My surgery was only 2 months ago. I had removal of hardware at L5-S1 then they replaced that hardware and fused L4 to it. I remember for both of my surgeries waking up in pain. The first one I didn't have a pain pump the 2nd one I did, so it was more comfortable coming out of the 2nd one. I was in recovery for 4 hours the first time because they didn't have my room ready, but only 1 1/2 hours the 2nd one. I slept through most of both of the recoveries. I stayed on my back the entire time. They wouldn't let me eat anything other than jello till the next day, to make sure my stomach was ok from the anesthesia. As long as you keep pressing the pain pump you shouldn't feel much of anything, and should be able to sleep pretty well. They will get you up and moving as soon as possible, which is a good thing. It will be painful, and it will feel like your back is being ripped open again. I know it sounds rough but i'm just being honest lol. They left my catheter in for a day after surgery, I actually asked them to take it out sooner though after my 2nd one. Keep yourself moving as much as you can, move your legs some while laying in bed. That will help keep you from getting blood clots in your legs. Every once in awhile, try to sit up with your legs over the edge of the bed. That will get you used to ways of moving around and getting out of bed when the time comes. Once they get you up and moving that first time, try to get up again a few hours later, just to try to move around. Make sure you have someone there to help you. The more you move yourself around after surgery the sooner you'll feel better. After my first one I didn't move much at all. After my 2nd one I moved as much as I could. For each of my surgeries I was sent home with a script for percocet...that't it. But that was enough for me. It will be hard, and painful. I won't lie there. But you can, and will get through it. Good Luck!
  • I had my ACDF with hardware on 10/8/08,I was totally amazed at how little
    Pain I had. My throat was sore and my hip hurt from the bone removal but
    no pain that was not tolerable. A pain pump was available but I never needed
    to use it.
  • Have they told you how long you will be in the hospital? My surgeon said that I would probably be in for two nights. I know we are having the same surgery (also minimally invasive TLIF) so I was curious. One thing I remember disliking with my Lamenectomy was the stockings that they have you wear to avoid blood clots. I know a fusion is quite a bit different, but I was in the hospital overnight for it since my surgery was in the evening and I remember not being able to get a lot of sleep because they kept having people come in to check you out. I did have a pain pump then and thought it was great. I am hoping that I have one again. I know that I have issues with getting naucious from anesthesia so I am definately going to let them know that ahead of time. For my last surgery (sinus surgery) they gave me some liquid right beforehand and it really helped!

    The hospital called me this week to schedule my pre-op testing appointment. It made the surgery feel so much more real. It really is getting closer for us now. :S
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  • Nice to hear from you again. The doctor said 2 to 7 days in the hospital. He said its such a wide range because everyone heals differently. Your right, it sure is getting closer. I go for my pre-op this next Wednesday. To be honest, this surgery can't come soon enough, the pain has been pretty bad lately. We went out tonight to a wine tasting party so I didn't take any meds because I thought I would be having a few glasses of wine. Needless to say I lasted about a hour and then I had to sit on a couch in a weird position because the pain was really bad. I guess you can say I wasn't a fun date tonight. :(
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