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Could you please tell me something good about your fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know this might sound silly, but I would really like to hear how a fusion has helped you because it seems as though there are a lot of negative responses to it and it just might be because people tend to write when they have a problem going on, me included, but don't write when things are going good, so I thought it would be a good idea if those of you who are past the beginning of recovery, could help us who are new in recovery, see down the road a bit through your experience.


  • Hi Kim....sure there are lots of successful fusion surgeries out there - please see the following forum:


    In my case I am now back-pain free after a laminectomy and fusion 2 years ago. It took a a lot of PT rehab, commitment to exercising and continual positive thinking, and my recovery was not without problems - I had a major hardware issue and had my hardware removed after 7 months. But, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel for most of us.

    Biggest thing is that recovery takes longer than most of us ever imagined. I did not start feeling much better until about 9 months. At a year I was feeling really good and now at 2 years I am still feeling really good. I would never say 100% normal as I can still have sore back days if I overdo things but in my normal day to day life I have no back pain.

    I see that your surgery was a little over 2 months ago, which is still considered quite early in the recovery phase.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • HiKim,

    It IS hard wading through all of us here, having problems and pain while you're in the healing process! Having a longer than normal surgery and recovery process I can tell you that it was hard for me to count my blessing for a long time.

    I know now that my spinal cord problems will not continue. I can still walk and don't poo my pants! I know it sounds silly but I was on the downhil slope for a long time and now have some faith that my issues will not continue to accelerate.

    So many people who start on this board stop coming when they feel better. They get on with their lives, never to be heard from again. We, the ones 2 years down the road who continue to suffer, are NOT the majority.

    Keep doing what the doc tells you and walk, walk, walk! You'll have this behind you before you know it.

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  • Good Morning Kim,

    AHHhhhh, you have started an excellent topic. I will be following it closely. I have not had spinal surgery, but may need to in the future.


  • I was just talking to my husband yesterday about this very thing. All of these horror stories about failing this and failing that, it can be intimidating for those of us (including me almost four weeks out) who are so early in the process. It is a great sight for all things good or bad, a place to vent or to have someone relate so we dont feel alone in the process or progress. It seems the holidays have taken their toll on a lot of people as well as cold weather. I was going to post the same thread yesterday, but never did and now here it is posted by you. Thanks for posting and I too will be checking in on it to see how other people have done and how positive this surgery can actually be with time under the belt.
  • As Bruce said, its hard to imagine how long it takes to recover from a spinal fusion, but you do recover. I spent a year after my surgery in pain, depressed, and still having my life compromised. I thought I was one of those failed back syndrome. I was so use to being in pain prior to the surgery that I thought after the surgery I'd wake up pain free and be able to do all the things I could do prior to surgery. A spinal fusion stops you from further damaging your back but its not a "magic bullet". You still have to do the hard work to get your life back. It took me 13 months to realize this. Once I knew my spine was solid and I couldn't blame that for my life, I took control. I pushed myself, pushing through the pain until I have no pain. I walk 4 miles a day now and there is nothing I can't do.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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  • Great replies by Bruce, Dick & others re the ups/downs of recovery from a fusion. At 11 months now, things ARE better in some ways, worse/neutral in others...things come & go, flare up & abate...but as my NS said, fusion is "salvage surgery"--the last resort--and to figure 2 years for total recovery & to expect some lingering pain, etc...once I know (as Dick said) that it's safe to "push" myself (I see my NS in January) I certainly will, as I want to regain as much of my former mobility & flexibility as I can w/o doing damage, of course. So next month's x-rays MAY give me "permission" to increase my activity, etc.

    Meantime, Kim, get your rest & settle in for a long ride--do what your doc says, take your meds & other palatives & go w/ the flow of your recovery. I've had to "re-frame" a lot of my expectations & that has also helped w/ the acceptance issues. No more Yoga, but longer walks! Can't lift my granddaughter, but spend hours reading to her, playing gentle games, swimming (in the summer) etc...you learn to focus on the present, do what you can do at the moment w/in the confines of whatever your pain level is & not ruminate on the memories of what was. Just takes TIME.

    Thanks for starting this thread! I, seriously, do love my fusion itself. It has straighted & strengthend my spine, allows me to walk better, stand taller & as it continues to heal, I'm sure there will be other noticeable benefits, as Dick & Bruce etc. have said. Just hang in there...you are a survivor of a miraculous procedure that 100 years ago would have been impossible. We CAN do this! :)

  • My 2-level cervical fusion was 11/17/2008 . . . cadaver bone, titanium plates and screws. I'm back to work full-time tomorrow. Haven't taken pain meds in weeks and I feel great!!! I no longer have left arm weakness and can fold clothes, and use my left arm without pain. I do not live in constant fear of another "pain flare" -- and that, of itself, ROCKS!!!!!!
  • Hi there. I personally consider my surgery a success. As you can see, I'm about two months out from a 3-lvl ACDF w/hardware (and a whopping 8 screws). I am still on pain meds and muscle relaxants, but my surgeon says the pain I have is normal and not to expect it to go away very soon. I have sharp pains in my neck and muscle spasms in my shoulder and back. I'm still wearing a soft collar and will be going through PT the end of January.

    Having said all that, I still consider my surgery a success because, although I have pain, I know it will go away in the not too distant future and I've regained the use of my left arm and no more tingling in my right arm.

    I think that things, at least for me, got harder before they'll get better, but my doc promised me he'd have me back on the golf course by April. That's 6 months out, so I'll be patient until then.

    Take care.

  • I am 9 days out and realized today that my left foot drop is totally resolved!!

  • I am 18 days post Laminectomy and PLIF with cage at L4/L5. I take one Tramadol and one Valium every 8 to 12 hours. I went to the health club Friday and walked the track for an hour. I went to the shopping mall yesterday. I think there is a tendency for people who are hurting badly to write more than people who are not. Think positive. For me: Tennis in July is my motto.
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