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ALIF surgery last friday 4/23/10

joels1917jjoels1917 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:43 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I am a 33yr old male who just had ALIf surgery. I am in some pain, allot with the stomach incision, I every now and then feel a sharp pain in my back....its one you really cant even explain. Have any of you had pain in your testicles due to ALIF? My main goal is t get to be half what i was before, prior to the accident that caused all this pain I worked out religously, I did MMA, boxing and I had previously competed in bodybuilding competions. I get that I am 33 but my goals are pretty simple i want to be able to live an active life style, working out is my stress relief. I also have 2 young girls, I want to be able to play with them, run kick the ball all that stuff and when they are old enough to date i want the youngman coming to my door to think whoa her daddy is a big guy she will def. be home by curfew!

Am I asking too much, what should I expect? On a side note did any of your doctors give you restrictions on sex? I might have been high when I asked but I think he said a week and thne nothing crazy, preferbly her on top or me from behind....or I am I just dreaming all of this. Here it is 3 - 4 days after and I awake in the middle of the night....

any of you feel like you were just filetted?

any feedback would be appreciated, I dont see my doctor for another 6 weeks


  • I'm guessing the pain you are feeling in your groin is from the ilio inguinal nerve. I'm female, I have pain very similiar to yours (except for the testicle :)). I had a 360 L4-5 fusion which is both anterior and posterior fusions. My abdominal incision is horizontal, I'm guessing yours is vertical.

    At my 6 week follow up, my surgeon explained that the nerve is cut, so the pain is from that nerve.

    Initially they were going to do a nerve block. But he feels there is still a lot of soft tissue swelling and the risk of infection is just too high...

    Hopefully it will get better.

    As far as sex, I'm guessing he didn't say wait 1 week. I would think you would want to wait until your incision has healed, sterri strips or staples are out and the risk of infection has been lowered. There have been several threads on that recently. If you type it in the blue box on the top of the page, it will pop up.

    Hang in there, you are so early in your recovery phase. Back recovery isn't like recovering from general surgery. It is a marathon and you have to just keep the pace.....
  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of information on this site and the members of the forum are wonderful and very supportive.

    I had a TLIF in early January and am feeling pretty good, still some deep pain and some shooting pains, but overall, I consider my surgery a success.

    You said you "recently" had surgery - how recently? Spine surgery is a very big surgery and you should expect the recovery to take quite a while. You're young and I expect you'll heal nicely in time. But be sure to take it easy, follow your doctor's orders and restrictions, and before you know it you'll be kicking the ball around with your kids.

    I know of a man in his late 70s that had lumbar surgery and he said it took him six months to feel good again and a year before he felt back to normal. So, I suspect that if a 70-year-old man can recovery and get back to life, so can we. And you have the added motivation of having two beautiful little girls.

    I just want to reiterate that you need to take care of yourself during your recovery. So many of us have a good day and do too much and it sets us back another day or two. That's a common occurance, but try not to let that happen.

    Take care, Joel. We'll be here to support you along the way.

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  • Thanks so much for the feed back...I was nervous my wife went ahead and told them to go ahead why they were close and give me a vasectomy---she is quite the character and was making some jokes before the surgery.

    Ya I guess i need to get it thru my head that this was pretty serious thing here.

    To be honest I knew it would hurt, but I really kinda just went with it, I wanted to know what they were doing why they were doing it, and If i would be better, and I found a nuerosurgeon I liked and felt was best for me. but other than that I really did not want to know too much more.

    considering what they did, I am doing pretty good. I had an ALIF at L5-S1. I hurt, but then again I do have my good moments. I have questioned if it is or was worth it so many times. And I am not too proud to admit I have been reduced to tears on a couple occassions. I am not sure what really hurts worse the inscision, with out having one I would kinda liken it to a C section, would i be correct in saying that? And my back/ pelvic him region feels like I have broken bone there. I cant make any sudden movements or i get this pain that kills me, and say I get a little too confident and over do it, I sure know it as that pain just magnifies.

    If anyone out there was like me and is looking to see if this ALIF surgery hurts, the answer is yes, as
    Jayhawk said: its not like general surgery - so expect that, I have been thru allot of things one would consider painfull, and my tolerence is really high - but this is by far the toughest thing I have been and I am going thru physically and mentally.

    If anyone out there, possibly you Jayhawk- I am vain i guess and i wonder if my stomach will ever be flat again?

    I really appreaciate all of you that have read my post, and I would like any and all advice you guys can give. I am really struggling with a the physicall aspects such as the pain but the mental aspects that i will never be the same again, or if I will ever get better and when? Any advice is greatly appreciated..

    ps oh have any of you noticed a coorelation of bowel movements and having some lessing of the pain. oh and sleeping, God do I want to sleep, is there a position that is better, a pillow here or there. I am really just not sleeping

    thanks again
  • I had an ALIF 6 months ago and initially, it felt more like I'd had a hysterectomy !! My tummy is still a bit tender, especially near my navel.

    I've still got back pain (coming from L5-S1), but at a much lower level than pre-op, and I can walk again without pain and enjoy life. My neurosurgeon aims for 80% - 90% pain reduction, and I fall into that category.

    I'm only just starting to sleep better and have had to put a pillow between my legs, one at my back and one to cuddle. It's not been so much pain as aching with a very restless left leg, and not being able to get comfortable. I take a couple of herbal sleeping tablets at night to settle me down and sometimes listen to music. During the early days, like you're in, there were nights when none of this worked and I had to get out of bed a few times and walk up and down the patio several times - not sure what my neighbours thought was going on!

    Keep taking your pain meds as prescribed and walk as much as you're able to. Do some gentle stretching using your core muscles - that should help your tummy.

    For my scar, I used Bio-Oil and it has healed up so fine. If you feel like it, you could use any of the oils or creams that are for scar healing and stretch marks.

    It's so hard to be patient, especially when you're young, but keep looking ahead to better days.

    Hoping the rest of your recovery goes well.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hey Joel, checking in on you! Sorry, I keep forgetting to check for posts over here!

    My stomach still is swollen. It has come a long way, but has a long way to go. After surgery, I looked 7 months pregnant only shifted to the side. By the time I went home 6 days later, I could just barely get my brace on. I get/am discouraged.

    My pain management doc and PT know me from before my fusion. Both tell me to be patient, that it is still early. Both reassure me that I can get to my prefusion fitness level, but I have to say, I am discouraged. Especially since I live in the coastal south and it is pool time......:(
    I don't have to have a 6 pack, heck I'll take a 2 pack!

    Just this week in PT we started to slightly "wake up" the oblequics and gluts.....I'm sure mine have been in hibernation! Too bad I wasn't born in the generation that appreciated curves! :)

    As far as sleep, during the early weeks ie first 4-5, I just looked at life in 4-6 hours windows. Tried to nap a little, walk a little and just get through them.

    It wasn't until 6-8 weeks before I slept thorugh the night and that was with the use of benedryl.

    I sleep on my side, alternating sides with a pillow between my knees, arms to help keep my arms down so I don't get neck spasms, and a pillow behind my back.

    Hope you are doing well. Resting and walking and walking and resting. Take care and let us know how you are doing!
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  • well since my post I must have over did it a bit, I was really sore for about 2 days. but I am not one to really let that affect me nor is my 3yr old.

    I like you am so swollen its like i am homer simpson but like you said the swelling is on the left side. Actually when i have pain or numbness its always on my left side, left stomach, left butt cheek everything is on the left side.

    as far as sleeping i have started to sleep more at night but i noticed if i sleep for like 6hrs or longer i hurt like hell when i wake up.

    overall i think i am doing pretty good just really frustrated....to me I want to be doing so much, feel like i am missing things, I called my doc about returning to work and they basically told me I am way ahead of myself...so I guess i will go back to pushing the swing for my daughter.

    I really just want my stomach to go back to normal. I litterally dream of the day I can work out again. Like i said that was my stress relief, my thing if you will. Do you guys got any hobbies you have found thru all this, I can see myself knitting or anything but I got to do something, I dont know what i will do when my baby decides swinging is boring.

  • I'm facing (I think) a TLIF (Orthosurgeon said he will go in "from both sides" & I know that PLIF is posterior, which is the back side, ALIF is anterior which is front, so that's how I guessed TLIF-my medical terminology is rusty) at L4/5 & possibly more levels-won't know until the he reviews the latest MRI's, but for sure L4/5. (I have tears at L3/4, L4/5 & L5/S1...a total of 8 herniated discs of various levels from Mild to Severe-3 of which are cervical & mostly mild; the rest Lumbar, plus the added 'bonus' of stenosis, osteopenia, osteoarthritis, facet arthritis....yea, my whole spine is a mess-yada yada yada *grin*).

    Being that you just had your surgery on 4/23, you are DEFINITELY too early to be wanting to push yourself so hard (tho I definitely understand it!). I'm 35 so close to your same age and my surgeon said that "being so young" will aid in a quicker recovery but that we have to put our mind to it and be prepared to work hard to "push past the pain" and not let it defeat us. I know...easier said that done, and I worry about it a lot (especially after reading recovery stories such as yours), but also being a parent, I think I know that you will definitely push yourself for the sake of your daughter (just don't do it too soon...LISTEN TO YOUR DR! ;-) K?)!!

    Look, anytime one has surgery, there has to be a period of time to allow the body to heal. Your abdomen is distended because things got all 'stirred up' in there, therefore causing swelling. It WILL go back down. Your 'nether regions' are sore because things were nipped & tucked; sliced & diced; poked & prodded....face it, your body is all bruised and swollen inside because someone was in there digging around with various instruments-so don't feel bad for allowing yourself to heal...take it easy & listen to your body! When we have pain, it means there's a REASON for it...in this case, the reason is that you've been through a major surgery that was traumatic on your body and your body is now fighting to get back to 'normal'. The more you over-do it and push beyond the limits you should be, the more it will set you back and the more you will be in pain that you wouldn't have been in had you listened to the restrictions your Dr placed on you. (trust me, once you start PT, you'll have PLENTY of time to hurt...enjoy just doing what you can & resting/allowing your body to heal for right now, OK?)

    I will continue to follow your progress until I have my own fusion because, quite frankly, I'm scared to death about! (if it was merely another abdominal surgery I likely wouldn't even break a sweat, but since this is my first "bone" surgery, and considering the numerous outcomes of fusions I've read about here, I'm absolutely terrified!) I do want to feel better though, because I have a future that I need to get going on and also 3 sons that I'd like to be active with again, but I will be SO GLAD when the surgery is over (and the recovery!!!!).

    You take care of yourself, OK? Take it easy-give yourself the permission to allow the time for proper healing (last thing you want to do is to push it too far & end up back in surgery getting it re-done, or another level done, right?)...I'm absolutely certain that your daughter won't get sick of having daddy push her in her swing anytime soon (speaking as a daughter-sometimes I STILL wish my daddy could push me in a swing *wink*) :)

    All the best...
  • thanks for the advice. as far as being scared to death and reading everything on these boards. DONT- if I would have done all that I would not of even had it done. I put this off for 3.5yrs, all I did is deteroriate.

    The stomach thing is a nusiance at this point, its just there to remind me i think, if i looked normal or felt normal there i am sure with out a doubt i would def be over doing it.

    Right now one of the main complaints is laying down or sleeping, when i do wake up I feel like I just had the damn surgery! Seriously, its like when i first move to get up I have just been shot, its insruciating. I am assuming it will lesson of time. I can tell you this sneezing or coughing or even yawning to deep is seriously like being shot in the back- but I think God likes me cause i used to sneeze 3 - 5 times in a row and my cough was always so deep, but now i might sneeze once...so i got that going for me- but this sleeping thing not working

    anyway after all that - my advice is dont believe everything you read- our mind has allot more control than we even give it credit for- if you believe your surgery will go well then 98% chance it will.

    Randy Couture is a UFC fighter- and the phrase he uses allot "impose your will on your opponent"
  • so I am what 7 weeks out. I went back for my follow up and I have started to grow some bone! I think i am doing okay, I hurt, its certain steps, or movements and I dont sleep well at all, hell i dont lay down well at all, I kinda describe it as if I have a broken back, it feels like a broken bone, I am praying this eventually goes away. I am walking like 2-3 miles a day on a treadmill. I even lifted some light weights, as the doctor put it you need to have your back fully supported or lying on a bench. I think just going is good for my self esteem.

    I really just want to make up for lost time, and I am not so patiently waiting for the doctors and my body to give me the green light to be me again.

    Oh my stomach is better, its not what or how I want it to look but its better
  • Thanks for the update. I think you're doing great for 7 weeks out, so keep up the good work. I'm just over 5 months out and still have pain, but it's getting better all the time and I finally believe that my lumbar spine will be back to normal by a year out, if not sooner.

    The not sleeping well sucks, though, I understand that, but I'm happy to hear how well you're doing. Keep up the good healing and fusion!

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