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1 week Post Op Update L5/S1 fusion

LumbarLynneLLumbarLynne Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all - I thought I would post an update to my surgery. First a refresher...

Went in Monday 6/22/09 to Duke Univ. Hospital for a L5/S1 fusion. The n-surg did two 2.5 inch cuts in my back and did a minimally invasive fusion. He cut off 1 facet and ground it up to use as an autograft. It was put in a cage and put in where the L5/S1 disc had been. He then secured it with rods and screws. They used glue, no stitches.

The first few days were HELL! It would have been a lot better if I had some nurses to help in the hospital but I got no help and no pain relief (see other posts for details on how that got screwed up).

I spent just 1 night in the hospital and welcomed coming home so that I could get my pain under control and get some help.

Once home, I went to see my primary care doctor to get a good routine for pain meds. I am on Oxycontin 30 mg, twice per day for long term pain control. I have Percocet (10 mg) for breakthrough pain and Tramadol as well. Yesterday, I made it through with just the Oxycontin and tramodal without needing any extra Percocets.

I also had arm pain (near my bicep) - a big red splotch, very sore when I moved my arm, and kind of hard. I went to the doctor who sent me to the hospital for a sonogram. They found superficial blood clot and inflamed vein. I was given antibiotics for infection, told to take 600 mg. of Motrin 3X per day (even though normally I would not be allowed to because of the fusion), and told to put heat on it. It is somewhat better today.

The one week mark came with a definite improvement in overall pain. My incisions look great and I am moving more easily. My back is sore but overall - I feel so much improved. I still can't tell if the surgery was successful at reducing my pre-surgery pain for severe Degenerative Disc Disease or not.

I am walking every day. Yesterday was my first walk of any significant length, I went about 1/2 + mile. Today, I am going to the gym and trying the treadmill so that I can see how much I can tolerate. My legs are sore but I have a massage chair at home that will massage my legs and that has been very helpful to get the blood flowing better through my legs.

It did take me 7 days before I had my first BM post surgery and it was very difficult. I feel like I didn't have any muscle strength in that area. I am still a far way away from being back to normal in that area but I am happy that at least I started feeling the need to go again!

If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them!

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Comments

  • That is great news - glad you are feeling better and slowly getting back to normal. I know the feeling - I have not had surgery yet and right now my family (wife and 3 kids) are at the YMCA - I decided to stay home - after working all day just don't have the energy. I am scheduled for a TLIF on 24 Aug for a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis.

    Are you still taking the NSAID? My surgeon was very passionate in stating that I should not take any NSAIDs during the fusion process - as that is the part of surgery you really want to work. You might want to discuss with your surgeon. I hope you continue to feel better and better each day - please keep posting. Atb, Mike
  • That is great news - glad you are feeling better and slowly getting back to normal. I know the feeling - I have not had surgery yet and right now my family (wife and 3 kids) are at the YMCA - I decided to stay home - after working all day just don't have the energy. I am scheduled for a TLIF on 24 Aug for a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis.

    Are you still taking the NSAID? My surgeon was very passionate in stating that I should not take any NSAIDs during the fusion process - as that is the part of surgery you really want to work. You might want to discuss with your surgeon. I hope you continue to feel better and better each day - please keep posting. Atb, Mike
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  • That is great news - glad you are feeling better and slowly getting back to normal. I know the feeling - I have not had surgery yet and right now my family (wife and 3 kids) are at the YMCA - I decided to stay home - after working all day just don't have the energy. I am scheduled for a TLIF on 24 Aug for a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis.

    Are you still taking the NSAID? My surgeon was very passionate in stating that I should not take any NSAIDs during the fusion process - as that is the part of surgery you really want to work. You might want to discuss with your surgeon. I hope you continue to feel better and better each day - please keep posting. Atb, Mike
  • for being on the road to recovery. It is a long slow process. I had surgery 8 months ago and I'm still in the recovery process. I do have to say that I am so much better than I was before surgery now. There were times before that I really didn't know if I could go on anymore. Now there is no question. Life is, for the most part, very good.

    Linda


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Normally, one wouldn't take an NSAID's after surgery but because of the blood clot in my arm, my n-surg said I should take them for 4 days so that my blood clot inflammation will go down. I wish I didn't have to but I have to get this blood clot taken care of since if it got worse it could be life-threatening.
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  • Way to go! =D> Keep it up and please keep us posted. Although a bit jealous ;) , my wife is "using" your progress as incentive and motivation.


  • Hi,

    Sounds like you are on the road to recovery. I know what you mean about the nurses in the hospital. I had the same problem. I couldn't pay for some good pain drugs. I never did get my pain under control. I came home on Sat and was in tears I was in so much pain. I called the Dr on Monday and he upped my meds a smidge.

    I was in bad shape until about Wednesday when the pain started to ease up enough for me to breath. I am getting around OK now. I am looking forward to getting outside tomorrow, I have my follow-up DR's visit. I have a few questions for him!

    Well good luck with your recovery, Keep us posted.
    Deb
  • You are doing fantastically well. It's still very early days for you and Deb too, so girls, please don't expect too much of yourselves for a few weeks. This is not a race. Take it easy and let others take care of everything for you. In the scheme of things, it's not for long, so relax and let your bodies heal at their own pace. Your backs will serve you well for a long time to come!
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