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New & Questions on Fusion...Will I be able to dance????

TatiyanaTTatiyana Posts: 194
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am new here & finding this site has been quite helpful but I do have some questions for some of you who have been through this surgery...I am 41 and quite active for my condition. I am having a diskectomy, decompression & fusion at L4/5 next month.
Here's my questions...
Will I be able to continue dancing post fusion? I dance on an International Dance troupe & the thought of giving up dance or not being able to move my body makes me sad. :''(

What is the incison like when it is anterior? vertical/horizontal, size??( I know I should have asked my surgeon but I had just had the discogram and a little distracted)

What can I be doing now - 5 weeks pre op to condition my body for this surgery? vitamins, clacium, excersises???

Thanks in advance!


  • What kind of dance do you do? Have you asked your surgeon if he anticipates that you will be able to continue your dance? Many people are able to continue with most of their regular activities at some point post-fusion. Be sure to talk to your doc about his expectations, PT post surgery, etc.

    As for conditioning before surgery walking, walking, walking is always good. In addition, I have one friend who did lots of PT pre-surgery to get her abs, etc in as good condition as possible going into surgery. I continued with Pilates as long as I could before surgery but had to give it up about a month before unfortunately.

    I had anterior/posterior fusion at L4/5. My posterior incision is about 6 inches, I think and the anterior incision is maybe 4 inches (vertical).

    A biggie in terms of preparation for this surgery is mental preparation. Going in, I did not really appreciate how long and slow the recovery is. Somehow, despite what everyone (except my surgeon) told me, I expected to be back to "normal" in 6 to 8 weeks and planned accordingly. I was so unprepared for how much help I would really need and how little I could do. (Fortunately, my husband and friends were smarter than I and had planned well for the help I would need). But it was really disappointing and discouraging to have to change travel and other plans because I simply could not do those things. I felt like I was letting a lot of people down. Anyway, prepare for the long recovery by getting lots of "diversions" ready - there is a great list somewhere on this site of things to do while recovering - preparing your family for doing all the stuff you usually do at home, and also for helping you with the things you will need post-surgery.

    Keep us posted on your surgery and recovery!

  • Tatiyana said:
    I am new here & finding this site has been quite helpful but I do have some questions for some of you who have been through this surgery...
    Welcome to Spine Health :H , I have found this a great site to speak to others in similar situations. I am sure you will love it.

    You may get more of a response in the back/neck surgery area. Everyone is different and heals at different rates. Some people feel good in a few weeks others it takes months or years. Some doctors use a TSLO brace as well to help you follow your bending, twisting and lifting restrictions. I still have mine at 11 weeks.

    As for dancing, hhmmnnn, I wish I knew. Many people return to activities such as physical sports, others do not. I was told with my fusion at the L5-S1, I wouldnt lose much movement or flexibility.

    My surgery was posterior and about 6 inches long on the spine. I dont know for sure about the anterior approach, but I think it is vertical.

    It is very important to go in with good health. You sound like you are doing everything you can for yourself. Having strong core muscles are very helpful. Dont do anything your doctor doesnt want you to do though.

    Check out the "stickeys" in the surgery section. There is a list of must haves for home, reaches, shower chairs etc....There is also a recovery/surgery post that many people share their progress. Here you can get an idea of how poeple are doing. I have seen that some people get discouraged that there arent ALOT of positive posts in the surgery section, the thing is that people who do well, typically move on and stop posting.

    I am sure you will do very well!

    Take Care >:D< ,

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  • I do Latin & Bellydance, so I move my core alot. I decided to have the surgery because up until now, I was able to push through the pain.
    I didn't think to ask the surgeon these questions..isn't it funny how your mind goes blank when you are asked if you have any more questions!!!
    I love the list on the surgery topic! this helps greatly as I find it hard to think straight the closer I get to surgery day.
  • I would think you could dance -- a one level fusion usually doesn't change your range of motion too much. Its great that your dancing works your core -- a strong core helps a lot with back pain. You probably shouldn't go back to alot of dancing until your MD has given you the go ahead with a solid fusion.

    Anterior approach incisions that I have seen have been vertical.
  • Welcome to S-H.I personaly get alot of info browsing through the post and finding ones that apply to me.I have read the incision is verticle and about 6-9 inches,and like the others have said there is a real good list of esentials post-op in the stickys I think in back/neck surgery,as for if you can dance again it probally depends on your overall spine health I for instence am having a fusion at l5-s1 also but my disc at l4 is also buldging so even after my fusion I will need to protect that disc if you only have the one problem and are in good health (which it sounds like ) you have a better chance at a full restriction free recovery.good luck and I hope you find the answers you are looking for just remember we are not doctors just people who are in the same boat as eachother.
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