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weight control after surgery

lynettellynette Posts: 217
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Was wondering what everyone experienced in reguards to weight flux after lumbar fusion...weight loss..weight gain or did you stay stable. I see alot of people don't have much appetite.Thanks Lynette


  • Hi Lynette-after my first fusion I lost 40 lbs-but I had a terrible recovery--this time I have gained 2 lbs!I'm not even drinking beer yet!I don't have much appetite,its true---and I don't eat junk during normal times---except Mexican food,which we Texans consider one of the major food groups.I have been eating more winter-type cassaroles,which my husband has been making.I am usually a fruit,cheese,crackers,chicken,type of eater.I would say with the relative inactivity after surgery,it would be very important not to include much"comfort"food!Chocolate,ice cream,etc.
  • Again, a question with myriad answers!! I might have lost a couple pounds after my fusion, but I regained it all and then some...like about 15 pounds when I started in with the Medrol packs and steroid injections, nerve blocks, etc. to try to figure out why I had so much nerve pain.

    It really just all depends on whether the meds cause you to lose your appetite...or if you're put on Lyrica or neurontin, if it makes your appetite go crazy and you gain 20 pounds in a month before you realize what is going on...and what is causing it!!

    If you are hungry, if you eat sensibly, you'll be fine. I gained weight because I gave into my cravings for sweets. Whenever I didn't feel like leaving the house, which was frequently, I would bake something. Then, of course, I had to eat it since there was no one else around who would!!

    There's nothing magical about this...except not knowing how you'll react to the medications and anesthesia. You will not be able to burn off many calories while in early recovery. So you have to watch how much you put in your mouth!!

    If you're put on Lyrica or Neurontin (gabapentin), know ahead of time that they cause weight gain in many people -- or should I say, they cause an increase in appetite. You will not magically gain weight by taking one of them unless you are eating more than you're able to burn off. Just keep this in mind.

    If your concern is losing too much weight, I can't help you with that one!!

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  • Thats what I think. I gained about 20 lbs in 4 months on neurontin before surgery. Now I am weaning off of it and I am losing. My appetite after surgery was so-so. I still don't get that hungry but I am doing alot of sweets and junk-food.

    I was lucky in a way because my husband went upstate on day 4 of my recovery so I didn't have to cook or order take out for him. I'm fine with a sandwich or pizze. It was better for me to be with just the kids because they don't care if the house is a mess but my husband does. Too bad he can't clean anything by himself!!

    I would suggest having healthy small serving items. Like yogurt or fruit and cheese. Slim Fast before they recalled it was good too because it's packed with vitamins and is high fiber. Walmart has their brand which is pretty good too.
  • There is nothing magic about the weight gain or loss. Typically drastic losses are like tex mentions. Having a bad recovery. Most typical is weight gain from eating too much of the wrong food and doing no exercise.

    The comfort foods and such will get you every time. Watch your consumption of dairy products, especially cheese. Besides it binds you too and with meds that is not good at all. Back of the fried stuff, etc... A basic nutrition handbook is all you need. Try eating more fruit and vegetables and less of the other stuff.

    Basic exercise tends to consist of mainly walking. If you can walk for 10 minutes or more then you burn some calories. It's also the staple exercise for lumbar surgery folks.

    The pills, like Lyrica, are horrible for weight gain. I'm a small frame and usually burned off most of what I ate. I took Lyrica for a few months before surgery to stave off the pain. I gained almost 30 pounds, of fat!!! Needless to say in all the places you expect it to happen on a guy. Now I have to get rid of that and it will be slow going.

    Please ignore tex on the chocolate remark. That's just blasphemy!!! She'll burn for that one... ;-)

  • for probably the first 3-5 weeks after surgery. At first I could attribute it to the meds...or lack there of as I began weaning myself off all meds as soon as I got home from the hospital. After that it was mostly emotional stress and such. But I forced myself to at least have 2-3 protein shakes a day, plus some fruit and whatever other good things I could force down because I knew my body needed the protein and other vitamins and nutrients to heal.

    I'm now about 4 months post-op and have lost a total of 28 lbs. I lost the first 20 within the first 2 1/2 mo., and then after that the weight loss slowed. I'm still doing the protein shake thing 1-2 times a day, and am also walking, hiking, and/or going to the gym fairly regularly.

    I gained a good 30 lbs during my year and a half of meds, inactivity, etc. So I have a little more to go before I "break even", but hopefully if I can continue to eat well and get more and more active I will lose the remainder of that weight and then some!
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  • for all your input. I am not on any meds for nerve pain presently so I hope that means I won't need any post op. I have been lucky enough that the disc backed off the nerve in november so I have only been taking about 4-5 advil a day to keep things at bay. I will have to stop the advil shortly cuz my surgery is in 1 month. I tried going without for 3 days and last night I had to give in and took 3 advil. I guess I will have to take my vicodin if needed the last couple weeks before surgery. I put on 8 lbs since july with my reherniation and didn't know if I should concentrate on losing it now or not. I know when I carry just a heavy bag of grocceries it's amazing how I feel it in my spine so the more off my spine the better! lynette
  • eeeeeek!o.k. I retract the chocolate statement--eat chocolate!---there is chocolate flavored yogurt-but that yogurt will get you too!----angelfood cake is supposed to have no fat,and little calories--
  • If i am totally honest - I have gained weight since my Micro-D (27/01/2010) and this is down only to me being soooo Bored at home!
    After surgery, I didn't eat much, but it was when I got home.
    I am so frustrated and bored that all I do is eat or smoke! I can't drive or walk far and all the visitors have now dried up!

    Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear!
  • I did not eat much the first couple of weeks, also did not weigh, did not care. mostly slept and took meds. since then I have gained about 25 lbs, but I am having a very slow and difficult recovery, my 1st surgery was over 5 months ago now. Not being able to walk much or any exercise makes it difficult, my appetite waxes and wanes, cooking is difficult so we do a lot of quickie foods, usually not the most healthy. I try to provide a salad with each dinner. late night cravings are the worst for me, when I cant sleep and just "want a little snack". I am on gabapentin so that is probably not helping.
    Good luck to you. Keep us posted.
    God bless and keep you,
  • I didn't have a fusion but I have gained since my microdiscectomy and headed in for a revision on Monday. I did well at holding steady for 3 months. But winter, pain, and stress, and holidays had me put on 5 lbs.

    But I stopped walking as much the last 2 months too. I'm starting to cook healthier and can't wait to start walking again. I am carrying it around my middle so I'm able to hide it but my goal is to get rid of it.
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