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ALIF Surgery - Need more info.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I have been dealing with low back pain for 20+ yeaars & was able to maintain my pain up until the last year. I have been an active individual my entire life & have finally made it to the point of not being able to walk, sit or stand without pain. Needless to say, I am scheduled for ALIF surgery in March 2009. I waiver everyday on deciding if I am really to that point. I have read several comments & it makes me want to chicken out & continue living with the pain. I am most concerned with the recovery & not knowing if I'll be better off in the long run. I read that constipation & nausea are pretty common after surgery. I already suffer from IBS & am constipated to begin with so I can't imagine what ALIF will do to my system. Is it really worth it? Any advise you have would be much appreciated.
~X( ~X-( :frustrated:


  • at a big crossroads with making your decision. My thoughts are if you are in so much pain you don't have much of a choice. I too have the IBS issues and made it through the ALIF surgery with the help of enemas, senna, and magnesium citrate. The bowels have issues because of being pushed aside during the surgery plus all the heavy medications. I wouldn't let this effect your decision in exchange for the chance to be pain free and to get your life back. I never had the nausea at all in any of my 4 surgeries, thank goodness. I hope you get help.
  • If you had a different type of fusion, such as PLIF, the only problem with the bowels would be from the pain medications causing constipation. I don't think nausea is much of a problem as they can give you a medication in your IV that will prevent it.

    Regarding whether to have surgery or not ... that is the big question we all face. I waited over 3 years but finally felt I needed to do something or risk becoming a shut-in.

    Since yours is not an emergency situation, take your time in selecting a spinal specialist. It is really important to find the best surgeon that is available to you...one you feel comfortable with. I consulted with 8 different doctors and there were variations in what was recommended to me -- everything from a laminectomy to a 5 level fusion!! Do as much research as you can about your condition so you can make a well-informed decision. Have realistic expectations.
    Surgery will not restore you to the way you were prior to your injury or onset of back pain.

    If you are ultimately going to end up having surgery, I would suggest doing it before your physical conditioning gets worse and worse due to inactivity.

    Good luck with your decision. It is a difficult one to make!
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