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Be honest tell me how you feel after your fusion and what to except

ellineellin Posts: 188
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all first, hope you are all doing well. I am going to go to another Dr. just for my sake. I am going to have a 3level fusion with plates and screws i have lots of quesions for my Dr. after looking at the quesions for Dr before surgery site here but, really would like all your info like how did you feel before surgery and after and what are all the things i am looking at after the surgery. My Dr. also is going to fuse the lower back when I heal do not know how long. I am a slow healer and very low tolerant of pain. Thx and look forward to hear from you all.


  • I'm not sure I understand your fusion - are you having your neck fused (3 level) and then sometime in the future also having a lumbar fusion?

    I had a 2-level lumbar fusion in July 2008. It's been a long road and it took 3 surgeries. Now, finally I am starting to feel like the old me is coming back. It's been a long 4 1/2 years since my accident, but for the first time I am finally going for days without back pain!

    I have a high pain tolerance level. I hate taking medication, particularly narcotics. I don't smoke (never have) and I exercise regularly. I think all these things helped me in my recovery. Not that I didn't have some extreme down times!

    Tell us more about your situation and I am sure more people can jump in here and comment.

    I would do my surgery again in a heartbeat - it saved me. I cannot imagine where I'd be right now if I'd not had a successful surgery.
  • It has been 11 months since my 3 level fusion of my mid/lower back. I had a great deal of pain before my surgery. I am a teacher and found that I was almost completely disabled after a long day at work. Cooking and cleaning at home made me miserable with a severe pain in my buttock and leg. The surgery I had last June was a major ordeal. I had a lot of pain, but the pain killers took care of them for the most part. I wore a large back brace for 4 months. I didn't clean house or cook for about 12 weeks. Since that time, however, I am feeling much better. The pain in my buttock and leg has disappeared. I am able to walk 3-4 miles with no pain at all. I have dropped 30 lbs. I feel human again. This is not a surgery to take lightly. Enter into it with all seriousness and full expectation that it will take some time to recover from. If your surgeon does a good job, you will be glad you went through it all. It did vastly improve my situation. I wish you a lot of luck.
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  • told me that recovery would be THREE years AND he also said that with a multi level fusion yes it would stabilise the spine BUT i would still have some pain and would almost spend my life on pain medication ..so as you can imagine i am reluctant to go ahead with the surgery {three other surgeons have told me NOT to have the surgery as it would be a big mistake ..so that's my input
  • I had a lumbar decompression and fusion with interbody cage and screws and rods 6 weeks ago.
    I was expecting it to be horrendous pain wise, but it hasn't been nearly as bad as I thought. I have had some complications though. I needed a transfusion straight after surgery and then my incision didn't heal properly and then developed an infection. I have only just been able to take the dressing off. I have also had a TIA (mini stroke) scare last week, but was given the all clear after CT scan of brain plus lots of other tests. I still feel that I am doing very well and am feeling much better than before surgery.

    There are so many elements to recovering from this big surgery, that there are lots of areas where things can develop problems, but the medical team generally know what to do to deal with them, then you can get under way again.

    The recovery will take a long time (especially lumbar) and you need to have lots of patience.

    I wish you well. Let us know how you get on :-)
  • Ellin, good morning! I only had the L5S1 level fused, but I feel I can comment anyhow. Like Saltzworks, I would do the surgery again. However, and I know you've already heard this a lot, this is a real big deal surgery and the seriousness of the recovery really cannot be overstated. In the hospital, for me, the pain was really stunning! I've never experienced anything like that..not to scare ya, but you asked. Eight days in hospital totally unable to get out of the bed or even move about in bed. However, once I got home the pain became manageable more quickly than I would have expected. I only occasionally took any pain meds and never refilled the pain prescriptions they gave me.

    Now here I am almost six months after surgery. In that time, I feel a ton better than before surgery. I still have a tender back, can't lift anything heavy at all and I am still not able to go back to work. I guess my biggest advice about this whole fusion would be to know that it can be a total life changing event. Not all for the bad..in my case the life change has been almost as good as the physical benefits from surgery. Just be aware that you're jumping into the deep end of the pool, so ya better know how to swim!! Hey, if I could handle it, surely anyone can.

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  • Hi Ellin. Hope you are managing well. It's been 5 weeks since my op ACDF C4/5 C5/6. I woke up in recovery and rated the pain about 8/10 and was put on percocet for pain.I have to wear a hard collar for 6 wks. Less than an hr. after surgery I was on my feet walking around the ICU. It totally depends on you and the type of surgery you are having. I myself can tolerate pain and only take the pain meds when I really feel the need for them.
    I have numbness in my hands due to nerve damage from the discs pinching the spinal cord and nerves. The surgeon told me they can't tell how much damage there is and if the operation will make this any better. The only thing he guaranteed was that this would keep me out of a wheelchair.
    I have had no improvement in my hands and my neck feels uncomfortable and tence at times but for the most part I feel pretty good. Just think positive. My thoughts are with you.
  • Like others have mentioned everyone is different. I was in a lot of pain before I had surgery and did all the non-surgical treatments with no success. I had an L4-S1 fusion, so I have 6 screws, 2 rods, and two cages. I feel great! Not 100% pain free...but way better than I did before the surgery! My pain is now down to about a 2-3. I went back to work half-days 5 weeks ago and am now back to work full-time. My job is not physically demanding, a lot of sitting, but I get up and move around as much as possible. I still can't do any heavy lifting, but I can take care of most household chores. I just make sure that I am careful with everything I do. I stopped taking pain meds a couple of days ago and so far so good. I wish you the best of luck...this was the best decision I ever made!

    Take care,

  • Greetings,
    Im 7 weeks post op from a discetomy and TILF with instrumentation of L5/S1.

    Being honest my hospital stay was horrible. I have a high pain tolerance and the pain when moving and the first few times having to get up for PT and walking..I was moaning the entiring time. Come day 3 I could get up and walk with minimal moaning and was able to deal. I think the pain initally takes you off guard.

    Once I got home the first week was home because you dont have people waiting on you hand and foot like you do in the hospital. Family is great but...But being home I felt more at ease to recover and heal. I was in comfotable surroundings that really helped.

    I went back to work PT week 6 and being who I am I pushed it a little too much so I have cut my PT hrs this week even more. I wasnt able to drive until 6 weeks but no more then 30 mins. But it wasnt until then that I was a good passenger. you feel every bump.

    My advice....You have to take baby steps and remember that each day is a new day. Its a huge ordeal and you have to take care of yourself.
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,789
    any intelliegent answers:

    What are your symptoms (both cervical and lumbar).

    What medications are you on - have you tried?

    What conservitive treatments have you attempted (P.T.- T.E.N.S.- etc).

    What were the cause(s)of your condition(s)(age - Auto accident)?

    What kind of diagnostic tests have been done and what did they say.

    What is your general state of health (both physical and mental - do you have any concurrent medical conditions).

    Me? I could not stand the pain or arm problems (pain - weakness - parathesia) before my first 3 level ACDF - but it failed. I again could not stand the pain or arm problems before my second 4 level ACDF with vertebrectomies - cage - and posterior rods - bone harvested from hip. Today I still have pain and arm problems - managed by medication - have some really cool scars and some great stories to tell. I can still walk, control my bladder and bowels, and move my arms at will. The previous four listed items were in jepordy had I not had the above mentioned surgeries. I am just short of two years since my last set of surgeries.

    Keep asking questions! So will I - as the more we know - the more we know.


  • Thanks for the information, My story well, do not know how all this happend i can blame it tho on lots of differnt things, I just had back pain for years and it got so bad I went to have the injections epiderals, facet, nerve burns, only for them not to work. I even went to other pm Dr's and did not tell them i had the shots thinking maybe the one Dr, did not do the right spot only for me to be to have thin skin and brusing from all the steriods, my ins has been great no denial. I have even gone for the non steriod treatment which they inject tramel which also did nada i have tried tens unit i have one i bourhgt a back to life machine did nada massage every wk which helps for a day or ttwo physical therpay did nada I now started getting pain in my trap area and only got worse dr told me just a mussle pull well that was in 2001 now my neck is worse than my back on oxycontin 20mg taking 80-100mg a day yes lots of mg this is the only way i can live work or anything it does not get me high just out of pain. I never wanted surgery for my back was to scared thought i would be in a wheel chair first well, my mind is so full of dealing with this pain I went to a nuro dr fist he told me i needed surgery i left in tears went to mayo and spoke to a nuro surgon and he said well we could see if a spinal cord stim will help but for the back but neck needs surgery still not wanting this another ? time goes by and i am tired of living like this so went to another nurosurgon and he told me i am a mess need 3 level fusion with spacer and plates and screws in my neck and after i heal he want to do the lower back. I have a date of May 21st for my neck and i am going to cancel it. I feel i need one more opinion and think i found a really good Dr. come to find out my massage lady told me of this dr. A spine health yes one of you who live here had her surgery done by him and one of my coworkers who i do not talk to had her surgery done by him. Wish i could talk to this coworker about her outcome but that is not an option So my friend here is my short story Lol
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