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Having a two level possible three lumbar fusion

lizzyboollizzyboo Posts: 25
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my discogram last week which was markedly positive. I will be having surgery next month. I am definitely having a two level fusion of L3-4 and L4-5, possibly L5-S1. A orthopaedic and neurosurgeon will be performing the surery as a team. I am wondering if anyone else has had this and what I can expect. I am 34 years old and have a two year old daughter, I don't have any type of disability insurance through my work. My doctor said that sometimes your off work for only 1 month up to 3 months. I do have a sedentary type job with minimal lifting, i am just trying to gather as much inforamtion as I possibly can, so I can figure things out, especially with work. Any replys will be most appreciated. Thanks


  • Hi Tammy,

    I know I can't add much as far as what to expect after surgery. I am having fusion surgery done on L4-S1 June 17th. I was asking the same questions you are asking. I had the same test done and I have been dealing with the pain for years, I am 44 yrs. old. My youngest kids are 14, 10, 3, & 17 months. I am looking forward to this surgery being a success so I can get my life back and enjoy doing things with them again.

    I know this wasn't much help with your questions but it is nice to talk to others that are going through the same things I am. I have gotten a lot of info from others in this group that have had these surgery's done and it was very helpful.

    I hope you get the answers you are looking for and I hope to talk with you agian.

    Have a nice Day!
  • Just a comment for you two. I had 2 level PLIF (fusion from the back) of L4, L5 and S1. I am 3 and a half months post op. There is NO WAY I could have gone back to work in a month. I feel good now but terrible foot and leg pain if I do too much. I am going the 19th to the doc to see if I am fusing. I did have shoulder surgery in October so I suppose its been rougher. Best of luck to you and if you have any questions please feel free to email me...anno824@yahoo.com

    Psalm 91~
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  • I had a three level lumbar fusion in November. Is there any way you can do some telecommuting from home? I work at a University and, while I was in no shape to come in and sit at my desk for any length of time, I started back to work a few hours a day after a month off. I'd take the bus into the office and pick up paperwork, then go home and lie on the couch with my laptop on my knees/lap and do the paperwork. I managed to keep pretty much up to speed until I could get back into the office for a few hours at a time and then finally build back up to full time. It took about 3 months in all to get back here, and I still have to get up and take frequent breaks, walk around, stretch, and take things easy. I had a few complications in that I had to have surgery from the front after they did the surgery from the back, since they couldn't get my damaged discs out from the back. So, I was in the hospital for a week and I had to recover from two surgeries instead of one. It was a bit of a rough recovery, but I'm really glad I had the surgery. My pain levels are tremendously lower than they were before. Life is good again!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I had L 4/5 fusion last July and was truly amazed at how long and slow the recovery process is. I, of course, am quite a bit older than you but there are some things that are true for lumbar fusion surgery regardless of age. One is that you will have a "no bending, lifting or twisting" restriction for some time after surgery. I think it was 6 months before my surgeon OKed lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. If you have a young child you will want to talk with your surgeon about these restrictions and plan accordingly. Another thing about lumbar fusion is that it makes sitting for any length of time difficult for quite a while. While walking and reclining may be pretty comfortable, sitting with any degree of comfort is problematic. Things like vacuuming, sweeping, raking will likely be "no-nos" for some time. I think it was 4 to 6 weeks before I was Oked to drive but that may differ depending on the surgeon and your pain meds.

    There are many posts on this site that address the recovery from lumbar fusion. There is also a list of "post-op must-haves" that is very, very good. I really did not expect to need most of those things - but I did. One thing I did not prepare adequately for was the "no bending" restriction. I really did not realize how many things around the house required me to bend to get to them. Things in lower dresser drawers, on the closet floor, on lower shelves of the refrigerator, etc. etc. It was really frustrating. A "grabber" helps a lot but it does have its limitations.

    Do prepare to have help at home for some time. Most people say that for the first week or two you will want someone there with you.

    On a much more positive note - I was very fortunate that I did not find the recovery to be terribly painful and discontinued pain meds after about 2 weeks at home.

    Best of luck with your surgery! Prepare your home and family for your recovery process - that will make it so much easier.

  • I had a two level PLIF Dec 11,2008. I had a discectomey as well, with cadavar bone. My reocvery has been long. But I have had many set backs. I have had pneumonia for the past month, which put me back as far as recovery one month. I will not be able to start PT until July. But I had a friend that had her one level in Sept with my Dr,(I sent her to him) and she is golfing. But I think anything before 3 months for work is no probable.Good Luck and if I can help, PM me.
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