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4 month PO from 4 level lumbar fusion

xMARxxMAR Posts: 125
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone, I haven't been on the site for a while and thought I'd check in. I know there are some people out there that had questions about what to expect and mobility after a 4 level fusion. I had surgery on Sept.8 for a L2-S1 fusion and would like to give anyone that has questions what it was like for me and still have a long road. I was not (I'll admit it)prepsred on what to expect, but can now relate to people what to expect after surgery and 4 months out. Of course everyone heals differently, some quicker and longer than others, but I can tell you how it is for me. This is such a GREAT site for help and encuragement There's been many that helped me through and I would like to do the same. I am not a physician and can't give any medical advise. I'm just like all of you looking for help and helping others. Kevin


  • good to hear from you, glad you are back and healing. You are so right, I don't think there is any way to truly explain the fusion experience, especially given the fact that we all heal differently, and all the different factors that can come into play from pre-op status, to post-op complications.
    May God Bless and Keep you,
  • First -- Shirley...How are you doing?? I haven't seen a word on how you are feeling...if things got better and you are in less pain??

    And xMar, I would love to know how limited in mobility you feel after your 4-level fusion. I've been told that any twisting activity is out (like forget playing golf or tennis), but otherwise you don't notice it that much. What has been your experience, if you're far enough into your recovery to know....

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  • Thanks Shirley, you are so right when it comes to healing and aches and pains we all have. Were all different, but at least it's some sort of starting point for others that have no idea. Thanks so much. Gwennie17, For me I can tell you my mobility limits. It's at least a start for others. I can been forward at the waist about 60degrees, twisting with you back or arching your back is impossible for me. Not that it's painful, you are just locked out of moving like that. I have to tell you you will re learn ways to do every day things to compensate. For me putting on socks and shoes is very difficult. So for that reason I wear slip ons. My biggest mobility problem so far need to be addressed . When you are driving and want to make a right hand turn on a lane that curves with a yield sign, if there is no merge lane is impossible for me. I can twist at the neck with no problem on a normal right hand turn. Thanks and the best of luck to you. Kevin
  • Hi X! I am new to the site since you have been on here last--I am 2 weeks post op--ant/pos spinal fusion--my second fusion--I would love to hear what you have to share--and I am glad to hear that you sound very positve! Jeannie
  • Hi Jeannie, welcome to the best site for encouragement and help. I'm not sure which levels you had fused, but second fusion, WOW!!! I think for being 2 weeks out you are doing GREAT!! Walk, walk,walk, plenty of rest, take you medicine,and do your stretches if given, I can tell you at 4 months out I am still very sore from the anterior incision. Everythings ok, just healing and a lot of scar tissue I was told. My job is pretty simple, sitting,standing,and walking so I was able to go back to work 2 months PO. It was very rough at first but now getting a little better. It's a long healing process and I'm off the MS Contin but still have to take 4-6 Norc 10s a day. There are still times I'll put my brace on for a few hours. I had a rough surgery with a lot of blood loss and then kidney problems. Spent the first 4 days in ICU getting transfussions and what else I don't know. I don't remember those days at all. Please keep us posted in your recovery and feel free to write any time. God bless you and take care, Kevin
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  • I have a couple posts under "depression and anemia"
    My pain has not improved, but after a blood transfusion, I feel better,I can think clearly again. Oxygen is good lol.
  • Have you had X-rays since your surgery? How are your fusions coming along? I work with someone who is having a 4 level next month, and would like to be able to tell him about your recovery? He went to Germany to haved those artificial discs which failed to work for him. He has sought out a surgeon out of state who has had great success with these multi-level fusions. I'm so glad that you seem to be doing ok!!!

    Shirley...since you have had a gastric bypass, I'm sure you realize that you probably will never be able to absorb your iron/B12 and other vitamins, especially Vitamin D. I am going to take B12 injections every week for the rest of my life, since I for some reason have low iron storage and B12. I also have my ferritin checked every 4 months. Ferritin is Iron storage, and mine is low quite frequently. When it starts to get low, I take iron supplements. Keeping a close check is the only way to maintain your oxygen carrying capacity. My vitamin D was low, so I take a supplement as well, to prevent osteoporosis.

    Just as a side note; it is important to take these supplements only after being diagnosis deficient via blood levels, as well as having careful follow up labs to prevent excess.

  • I have had xrays taken at 2 months PO. They said they could see a little cloudiness which meant a fusion was starting. They couldn't see anything at L2-L3, but said not to be concerned at only 2 months. I go back to my OR on Feb 3rd and have xrays again. I should be able to tell you more at that time. MY OR said he doesn't expect to see much until 5-6 months PO. Thanks, Kevin
  • Hi Kevin-----I am sure you are celebrating your big win right now (sigh)--just wanted to tell you about my stuff.2 years ago I had posterior lumbar fusion at L3-4.The surgery 2 weeks ago was anterior posterior lumbar at L3-4 with restabilization of L3-4.The first surgery was a nightmare-11 days in the hospital--bleeding issues----.My surgery 2 weeks ago has gone so much better!Different surgeon,different care,plus I guess I was just more prepared this time. I am 59,and very active,so as you know the emotional healing can be harder than the physical.It sounds like you had a really rough time in the hospital as well,and I am glad you are doing so well. It is great to meet you,and if there are any questions I can answer please let me know! Jeannie
  • Wow! It's remarkable that you went back to work only 2 mo. after such a fusion! You mentioned your job is easy but your dr must have thought it was safe for you to do so. As you said, everyone recovers at different rates but there is no way my dr would let me nor could I have gone to work at 2 mo after my fusion, which was L-2/3/4. I hope you continue to do well and that your strength and mobility improve daily. My dr told me that it takes 1-2 years to heal. The 2nd half of the 1st year would be better than the first few months and that by the year mark I'd see a big difference in body mechanics, etc. and he was right! 15 mo post fusion I look back and can't believe how much progress I've made.

    Keep up the good work!
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