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Anterior/Posterior Level 2 Lumber Fusion??

good2bsusieqggood2bsusieq Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm scared. Totally terrified of my upcoming Oct 21st surgery. Any messages of encouragement will be most appreciated.

I'm having the global or 360 lumbar fusion - L3/4 & 5.

Actually, I'll take the comments that tell the truth about the pain as well.

How long do most people get back to desk jobs? I'm out of vaca/personal time, well I have 8 days but the rest is uncovered. That alone is scary.

And the brace...how uncomfortable is it? Any tips?

THANKS!!! :)


  • Welcome to SH. You will find lots of support from the members here. We understand your nervousness and concerns. While I did not have the same surgery you're going to have, I did have lumbar fusion 9 weeks ago. It was not easy at first and yes it was painful, but with patience, support from family and friends, and meds I got through the worst of it and am doing quite well. The staff at the hospital should work to keep your pain levels under control. Be sure to take your medication and stay ahead of the pain. The sticky post at the top of this section of surgery post-op must-haves is very helpful. Walker, shower chair, grabber, satin fitted sheet, and prepping the house for easy reach were at the top of my list. Will you have help once you are home? You will need it. Some people never wear a brace and some wear them for a while. I wore a brace for 6 weeks which helped with support and gave me a sense of security. There are quite a few diferent types. Do you know what kind you'll be given? This is major surgery you are going to have and you will need time to recover, heal, and fuse. There are some people who are able to go back to work within a few weeks, but I think that is pretty rare. From what I've read here, most people need a minimum of 3 months. Ask your doctor lots of questions and keep in touch here. I'm sure you will get more advice and suggestions from the rest of the folks here. It's a great group!
  • I am scheduled for a 2-level 360 fusion L4-S1 on the 27th, and I can sure understand your situation.

    What I did was just research everything I could find on the surgery. Knowledge is a good thing. I also wrote a list of questions, and asked my doctor. The whole staff there are very helpful. I asked them about the brace, how long, average recovery time to normal activities. After that I just accepted that this is what is going to happen, and I was wasting good energy worrying. So, I am "relatively" calm now and just waiting. I have some tests next week which will take me into the city 3 days, so the time will go by quickly. I am going to the gym 3 times a week and doing whatever exercises I can do to help strengthen my legs and arms. I figure I will need those muscles the most after surgery. Laying on the couch is not exactly the best thing for muscles :).

    I am sure that I will be scared and worried again when I get to the hospital, but I am sure that is normal.

    The sticky post in this forum that Jan mentioned helped me immensely. I would never have thought of most of those things (of course not, we have never had to deal with this before). I have gotten most of the items that were suggested, and I am pretty confident that my house is ready for me when I come home from the hospital.

    Lastly, I look at it this way... I know I will be in a lot of pain right after surgery, but I am in a lot of pain now, and that pain (after surgery) will subside and get better. I know this is what I have to do to get back a somewhat normal life.

    Good luck with your surgery! Let us know how you are doing when you are up to it.

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  • When I woke up after a 7 hour surgery- I was not in pain. My pain was controlled very nicely. I did have a NG tube to drain the stomach. I had surgery on Tuesday and go the NG tube removed on Wednesday evening, once I had good bowel sounds. I was discharged on Friday. I did have blood transfusion only because I have blood issues to start with. You are about to have a MAJOR surgery- as of today I am still swollen from my tummy to my toes. It takes time to heal. The hospital I was at was AWESOME I can't say enough great things about my care. They provided me with a walker to take home. A grabber would be most helpful- I have a seat in my shower but didn't get a toilet extender which would have helped that first week home. I would say the first 2 weeks are the hardest but listen to your body, your doctor and make wise choices. Walk every chance you get and minimize your sitting. Stay ahead of your pain and you stool softners. I ended up in the emergency room impacted and had 20lbs of extra fluid on my body- it was painful and miserable. So eat lots of fiber, fruits and veggies- popcorn and granola help me ALOT!~ You will find that the mornings are better then evenings as you have (hopefully) rested through out the night. I am wiped out by 7PM but each and everyday it is getting better and better.
    I too have a desk job- 90% of my work is at my desk working on a computer- sitting is a huge NO NO- so I am not sure how long I will be out of work- probably the first of the year. However my NS said that after 9 months or so after I am fused, she will go back in and remove the hardware.
    You mentioned a brace- I don't have one- She put in a metal plate on one side and then rod and screws on the back side for stability. Each doctor has their own techique though.
    Keep a positive attitude! Be good to yourself! and keep us posted on your progress!
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