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One week out of a L4-S1 Fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all...

New to this forum, but hoping someone might be able to give me some info regarding recoup time.

I had a L4-S1 fusion last Monday (after 2 failed lamis) and had been getting better and better everyday. Yesterday I drove myself to the docs for staple removal and a bone stimulator thingee. I was literally feeling like a whole new person with not even a sensation of my previous leg/foot pain that had left me practically disabled for the past year.

This morning I woke up and my foot had that weird sensation...before I knew it my foot, knee, and hamstring pain is already back to 60% of what it was pre-surg...and this all happened today.

Is this normal? Can I expect some ups and downs? or is something wrong? Was the surgery a failure?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.




  • I had a fusion at L4-L5 on Feb 27. I am still recovering from it. I still have the nerve pain that I had before with some new sensations that were not there before. I was told by my doctor that this was the nerve healing and could take several months. I have some days that this is not there but for the most part it is there everyday. I recently was given Lyrica and it seems to help somewhat so you may need to try that. I know this doesn't sound promising to you but I am sure this is all part of the healing process and that it will all get better.
    i have been told that this takes a long time to heal and that we just need to be patient.
    Good Luck with your healing and let me know how you are doing
  • Did your Dr tell you that you could drive already? I wasnt able to drive for three months. Make sure you find out your Dos and Donts and follw them carefulluy, you dont want to have problems. You are so new out of surgery, you will feel lots of different things for a long time. I had my surgery in Dec. Be careful and keep us posted.
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  • Thanks for the advice guys! I was told driving was okay after a week as long as I wore my brace, which I am almost never without. The doctor did a pretty fantastic job of keeping this surgery as minimally invasive as possible...which says quite a bit since he had to clean up after two previous docs attempted a pair of laminectomys.

    I did put in a call today as I woke up with the same foot pain again this AM...I'd say it's around 50% of what it was pre-surg right now. I don't want to whine and complain since before the surgery 50% relief would have been more than adaquate for me to move forward with it. My only concern in that I was 100% pain free for several days and then the pain returned. I also have a history of dveloping scar tissue, and lots of it.

    Anyhow, I'll let ya know what the doc says when I hear back, and thanks for all your kind words and advice.
  • I too am amazed that you can drive already. I was told I could at 6 weeks but really didn't until about 8 weeks. I still feel nervous about it. Please don't feel like you are whining or complaining. That is what this place is for. We all need to vent and express our pain sometimes. I understand your worry because I too was nerve pain free right after my surgery and almost for 2 weeks after. Then one day out of the blue it returned and is still there.
    I can only hope it is temporary for both of us.
    Keep us posted
  • I think you're doing great right now. I never felt the way you did, and it's been a year since my fusion. Anyway, it is common to have pain flares but if it becomes severe, you need to call your surgeon ASAP. Take things slowly and don't overdo it- no matter how well you may feel because fusions are major surgery and it takes a long time to completely heal, esp the nerves which may take up to 2 years.
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  • You are crazy for driving so soon. Geez! I am happy you feel better but perhaps the driving set off some nerves and swelling. Please be careful when you twist and turn when manuevering the car.
  • Wow...surprised to hear everyone is freaked about the driving. The doc really didn't harp on it. My main concern, just to clarify, is that after being 100% pain free (excepting incision and staples) my pain made a return appearance which is really freaking me out. Getting ready to marry my g/f and want to be sure I'm not sentencing her to a life of heavy narcotics and disability checks.

    Just put in another call to the doc, although he is away at a conference, I am hopeful his PA who was present at the surgery and actually sewed me up, i'm told, will call back shortly with reassurances or further instructions.

    Overall I'm amazed at how quickly I have recovered, so to speak, but need some solid info on the return of the foot pain. I purposely asked for a decrease in my narcotics and cut everything in 1/2 (this did not precipitate the return of the pain as I've tried the stronger stuff since to be sure) as I was working towards a drug-free existence, but now I feel sidelined again and may have to ask for my old pills back.

    Current meds are Opana 10mg/12hrs, Percocet 5mg/8 hrs, flexeril 10mg/8hrs

    This is half of what I took before the surgery and was really just an effort to taper-off the narcs rather than to control any pain.

    anyhow...thats a lot of info, so I'll be done for now I think
  • I had the same surgery from what I can tell from your post - S1-L4 fusion.

    I had some fairly good restrictions too - I worry that with your recurrence of pain (and feeling good enough to be out and doing a lot - comparitively) you may have re-injured yourself. Just my humble opinion, but I've seen your story quite a few times on here - feeling great/do too much/re-injured.

    I would lay low for a bit, at least until you hear from the dr. Ice your back, don't bend, lift or twist for anything.

    My dr. didn't have a strict no-driving policy, he just said that he would really hate to have done all the work just for me to get in an accident and have it all for nothing. Everytime you drive you are putting yourself at risk.

    Best of luck -
  • I had a three-level fusion and I was allowed to drive after just a couple of weeks. Actually, I had to drive myself to my post-op appointment three weeks after surgery and my surgeon is 2 hours from my house! That said, I'll bet getting out of the house, into the car, driving to the doc, etc., was probably a bit more than you've been doing lately, especially the being in the car, going over even little bumps, etc. Yes, you will have ups and downs. Yes, your nerves are probably freaked out and will flare up and cool down every now and then. Keep following doctor's orders. Take your meds, ice your back. I think you'll do okay.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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