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Spinal Surgery, Please advise

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, I wrote a posting a few hrs. ago, stating I'm afraid to move forward with the surgeries. maybe if I can gain some awareness, I won't feel so afraid. The first surgery involves cutting into the front- my abdomen to reach levels L4-5 & L5-S1.

Then I'm turned over so my surgeon can make a small incison,(is it a small incision?)mid-line low back to get into L4-5 posteriorly. Laminectomy- what does Decompression mean? Do the muscles in your back hurt afterwards, when you're healing? He also has to do a surgery where he goes in on my side.

My surgeon says to read about: PLIF (lumbar fusion), Posterolateral lumbar fusion, Pedicle screw instrumentation, Decompression/laminectomy & XLIF- nuvasive.com.

Has anyone on this board had all 3 surgeries at one time? Please advise.

My conditions are spinal stenosis, Spondylolisthesis, & Scoliosis. I have herniated disks. I saw the mri's & couldn't believe what I was seeing- bone on bone, no cartiliage in between the disks, at least two of them.

Thank you for your help.



  • A-

    The surgery recovery is extremely painful. I only had one level done without the other issues you mentioned and the recovery has been one of the greatest challenges of my life (and I've had quite a few challenges). Weigh your options carefully. You'll find lots of information on this board.

  • Hi A,

    I had the the same diagnosis as you have and had the posterior surgery only, Yours sounds to me like the one called 360 deg., so maybe somebody who had that could give you more information. But as far as the surgery on the back, well, before I had my three-level fusion (L3-S1) I read lots of postings here saying how painful it is when the back muscles heal. I did not experience any post-operative pain, and when I asked my OS why , he explained that he did not cut the muscles only made an incision through the skin and fat then gently stripped the muscles off the spine, only as far as it was necessary to be able to insert the the rods and eight screws. Afterwards he rinsed the the area with morphine before closing the incision. So it is important to ask your surgeon, what he is planning to do in order to make it less painful for you. Also, ask about post-op pain control. Now as said, I can't tell you anything about the abdominal part of your surgery, as I did not have that. But maybe somebody else will.

    Whatever you do, don't freak out, even id you read some horror stories, many of us had less problems than we anticipated.

    By the way, decompression/laminectomy means that part of your lamina (the side of the vertebra) will be removed to take off the pressure from your nerves.

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  • PLIF which also included having a laminectomy and decompression. (decompression means they are adjusting your vertebrae so it is not compressing on your nerves. )
    As Kin said yours is the 360 fusion which is why they need to turn you over. It depends on where the problem is in your spine which surgery works best for you.
    I also had pretty severe scoliosis (bone on bone on one side)which is now though not perfectly straight so mauch better then it was.
    I had my muscles cut as it was necessary but it wasn't a real issue. In hospital they will givce you pain meds if needed and heat and ice packs work wonders as well.
    I am now 71/2 months post op and have just started at the gym. I am a lot better off then I was a year ago so even though I haven't fused fully yet I am on the way.
    Hope that helps you
    Blessings Sara O:)

    If you want to see my X-rays PM me with your email address and I will send you before and after pics.
  • 11 months ago I had 9 level, 3 entrances done all at once in a 12 hour succesful surgery. It is not to be taken lightly. I was in the hospital 12 days, 5 in intensive care, with many transfusions. I am very active, but still recovering. I also wore a fiberglass shell for 6 months. It was all life altering but I really had no choice,.I am 51 year old female. I had a lump on my back which is no longer there. I would seriously question if you absolutely need it. if there answer is yes, go to the best surgeon money or insurance can buy, and be brave! good luck :sick:
  • I also had a two level, first 4 procedures you mentioned. (all but the XLIF) I was scared, too, but I was more scared of staying the same or getting worse-- than the recovery. I dealt with over 10 years of pain. I'm 37 and my life has been greatly affected by pain. so! for me it was eventually a no-brainer. 3 opinions. too much pain... not a lifestyle I was content to live with.

    recovery for me was very difficult. but... I also ended up with somewhat of a worse-case scenerio-- an infection from the fusion itself. I got MRSA and that was a nasty infection. infections are quite rare, however.

    read all you can and ask lots of questions. it helped me.
    best of luck to you.
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