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I was wondering about lifting after fusion

susiessusie Posts: 154
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have only had 2 appts. with my Surgeon and I didn't understand when I was at my last appt. with him, I am having fusion surgery in 2 separate operations the first anterior with a discectomy also and then about 5 or 6 days later the posterior fusion. He told me that he couldn't correct my entire problem (scoliosis) and that I would always have some pain. He said that the only work I would be able to do would be with my hands and my mind. This is what I wished I would have asked - and won't see him again until February - after fusion surgery - and the fusion is complete - is there always a restriction on lifting? And bending? I didn't catch if you can't lift only right after surgery and during recovery or it it's a life time thing.
I know every situation would be different - but is there a common - like - lifetime restriction on lifting anything except very light amounts? Next time I go in for my pre op appt. I am taking a list of questions. I get so overwhelmed by the situation - I lose my train of thought. Thanks if anyone has an answer - Susie


  • I had restrictions and stuff about lifting after my fusion...i didn't listen very well #o ...needless to say a year after my fusion I busted 2 screws...having them removed jan. 7th! so whatever they say follow the advice. >:D<
  • I didn't have a fusion, but I would guess that you'll always have to be somewhat "careful." I'm a nurse and I review cases where there have been complications or re-dos of surgeries, and I can't tell you how often I come across a fusion that was done many years ago where the hardware has failed for some reason. Either the patient has taken a fall or lifted something too heavy or whatever.

    Best of luck to you in your upcoming surgeries! ;)
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  • I haven't had a fusion YET but probaly will more sooner then later and my surgeon has said that I will probaly be limited to a desk job he didn't give exact pound numbers as of yet.
  • My surgeon's PA told me that immediately after the surgery, I wouldn't be able to lift more than a gallon of milk. She said that once the fusion is complete, I'll be permanently restricted from lifting more than 45 pounds above the fusion site. Hope that helps.
  • You will always have to be careful but especially after your surgery you will be given a max limit. After you are fused the Dr may so go ahead but you will probably find you will be unable to lift too much (and he knows that).
    If you are not sure about what is going on then make another appointment and see him before surgery with your list og questions. This is major surgery and really important for you to understand what is going to happen during surgery and during your recovery.
    Some Drs do both those surgeries at the same time so I would ask him about that as well. I did read here that some Drs do it seperately because of billing purposes.
    Also the PA should be able to answer some of your questions.

    Blessings Sara O:)
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  • First off, I would press very hard to have the surgery all at once. Your body is going through a tremedous shock having two procedures in a week. maybe he has a specific reason due to the complexity of the first procedure, but I would certainly ask.

    If your doctor is doing that for billing purposes, I would switch doctors in a second. Your well being comes way before his profit margin.

    Each person needs to be evaluated for lifting restrictions. Some folks are able to go back to lifting weights and doing strenuous jobs. Others are not. At the end of rehab (six months after surgery) my surgeon had an FCE done which was a 3 hour evaluation to determine restrictions, if any, I would have on a permenent basis.

    Right after surgery, you will most likely be limited to 10 lbs for several weeks. They will gradually increase that as time goes on. Insist on rehab. Aqua therapy is wonderful.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • The Surgeon said that both surgeries would be very long,
    6 - 8 hours at a minimum and that is with another surgeon working on me also and
    his assistant doing the discectomy.

    He did say that if all conditions were just right and everything happened to be going along really well, he
    might be able to do it all in one surgery. I can hardly
    imagine going back in the 2nd time and starting over
    in recovery twice in one week. I was so overcome with
    all of the information - I couldn't think. I will take
    Sara's suggestion and get back in for some information
    instead of waiting for the scheduled pre op appt. on 2-16

    I find the nurses at the surgeons office so intimidating
    and I know that is ridiculous because I am a patient and I am also an adult. I will take my husband with me so I
    don't phase out and will take a list of questions too.

    Thanks sara, that's a sensible suggestion
  • Hi Susie, there are patients here on SH who had that same surgery done all at once and were discharged only one day later! Crazy, but they seem to do good. Definitely make that list and get in to see him. Take notes, or have someone else take notes when he answers the questions. Does he plan for you to stay hospitalized between the two surgeries? Have you gotten a second opinion? Good-luck, Sue
  • From my understanding, right after surgery you will be given spevific restrictions and it will increase every time your doctor sees you and feels in his expertise opinion that you are capable of lifting more and then he will add on every time until your strong enough to where you use to be. Hope this helps just had surgery on 12-11-08, anmd feel great.

    L5/S1 injury 8/18/07
    Epidural Injection-no relief
    Sacrial Injections-no relief
    PT-no relief
    PLIF with decompression- 12/11/08- Still recovering so far so good
  • Yes, he said the first surgery and then about 5 days later (still at the hospital) the 2nd surgery and then go home about 4 or 5 days later. 1st the anterior and discectomy, then the posterior fusion is the 2nd surgery. He is a neurosugeon and an orthopedic surgeon - I have scoliosis with 2 bad curves
    and then the disc problems. My spine is pressing on my
    diaphram and he said this is not an optional surgery - I am 49, waited too long, just never felt like I could check out of my life long enough for surgery and recovery - my own fault but that's what I did. I had a little babysitting business that I had to give up and filed for social security disability when my regular dr. told me no more working and to quit immediately, in Oct. I did. The surgeon said I will have a better quality of life later but always some pain. I guess I was so overwhelmed I just couldn't concentrate but am going to call today and make arrangements for an appt. with more information - I feel ridiculous, I don't even remember what parts he is fusing.
    I was going to wait until my 2-16 pre op appt. but will call to go in for the basic details I should already have.
    I am so embarrassed - it all happened so fast. I had a bone scan, all of the xrays and over 2 hours of an MRI - I know he's a good dr. - I just wasn't good at finding out the details I needed. If it weren't for all of the message board information I don't think I would have known about the fusion process and how it works, he asked me if I had questions both times but I guess I didn't know what to ask.
    Well, I'll fix it, I'll find out. Thanks for all of the good advice. The surgery is 2-24
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