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Any had ALIF L5-S1

bedawgsbbedawgs Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Anyone who has had Alif l5 s1 please describe post opp and what to expect when waking up and the folling days after?Any reply would be much appreciated.


  • I had 2 levels fused. I was on a dilaudid pump after surgery, and honestly it wasn't bad until they took it away and I depended on the nurses for medicine. I was supposed to get oxy contin every twelve hours and oxycodone every six.

    The nurses decided upon themselves to only give me the oxycontin every 12, and on the 2nd day after surgery I had to call the doc and insist he release me because of the nurses lack of care, and my intense pain. Once I was home and able to take his meds as prescribed, it was alright again.

    Didn't do much but walk around the house a little and lay in bed for 2 weeks, but have gradually been getting more active ever since. The more I do, the more sore I get, but sitting makes the soreness even worse, so I do a little of everything in moderation, including laying in bed. I'm 5 weeks out right now and laying in bed typing this with burning hips. So far I have been useless for taking care of the kids and family watch them when my wife can't.

    Oh yeah, I now have the retrograde ejaculation that the doctors claim only happen in 1% of patients. I guess I'm just lucky.

    any other questions, ask. Kevin
  • I had 2 levels fused.
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  • will the ejackulation fix itself?
  • Hi Bedawgs

    I had a successful L4-5 ALIF 14 months ago.

    I was in hospital for 5 days and the pain was controlled well. I was sent home with medication which helped (oxycontin, oxycodone and neurontin). I was surprised at how well I could walk post-op and I haven't had any major leg pain since. It took a while for the nerves in the leg to settle down but it was more like a super restless leg, and walking helped to make it feel better.

    Prior to surgery, I had to do a bowel cleanse and I think that helped make me more comfortable because the drugs can make you constipate.

    I had quite a bit of nausea with this surgery but the nurses gave me medication which helped. The ride home in the car wasn't too comfortable and I was very happy to be able to get into bed.

    The physio came round the day after surgery and helped me with gentle stretching and strengthening exercises.

    Recovery takes a long time and can be very boring and tedious. Sometimes you think that you'll never feel normal again, but that day does come. For me, it was around the 6-7 months mark. After this surgery, you'll need to take care of your back for life. We don't go back to what we were before the onset of back pain. My surgeon aims for 80% - 90% reduction in pain.

    When you get home, all you need to do is rest, walk, rest, walk. It's very important to observe the bending-lifting-twisting restrictions until the surgeon gives you the ok to do more. Once you're able to, you can gradually increase the walking. Walking improves the circulation and I understand helps with the fusing process. I had a good solid fusion at 6 months.

    You shouldn't sit for more than 15-30 minutes in the early healing stage. I couldn't sit still comfortably for 6-7 months. I'm up to an hour to an hour and a half now.

    At 7 months out, I was able to start doing some simple Tai Chi exercises at home and this is very relaxing and is very good for core strengthening.

    Good preparation prior to surgery is essential. Have a look at the sticky at the top of the page for the Post Op Must Haves.

    Being female, I didn't have the problem of retrograde ejaculation. If you type those words in the search section of this site, I'm sure you'll find more info. Quite a while ago, I read that this is a temporary situation and will right itself.

    Keep in touch and hope all goes well with your surgery.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Doc said it may heal over time. I have 2 kids already, so it just ruined my sex life and not my future plans. If you plan on having kids yet, be sure to talk to your doctor about preserving some semen for later. When the doc told me this advice, it leads me to believe that not every case is temporary.

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  • I sure will and im curious cause me and the wife are still trying for kids,so i will look in to having some froze,and weaver man i sent you a pm asking you a certin question i didnt want to post.

  • If you had prostate issues prior to the surgery. Check with your urologist about the meds you are on. Some if not many of the prostate meds can cause retrograde ejaculation. Simply getting off the med or swapping it will cure it.

    I ran into that problem when I got put on Rapaflo 8mg. Very weird feeling indeed. It doesn't or at least shouldn't affect your sex life at all. It just affects reproduction. Having semen back flow into your bladder is not a big problem. It just leaves when you urinate. My urologist forgot to mention that to me when he put me on that stuff. Quite the surprise. At least 3 of the other typical meds for prostate/bladder issues did not cause that, they just don't work for me.

    If this happened due to the surgery. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But most of what I read from well respected medical journals and sites says this is not correctable. I hope that is wrong.

    Good luck guys.

  • At noon on Friday and was discharged at 930 am on Saturday.
    I live two hours from the hospital, and in my opinion, that was too soon to be discharged. Saturday evening, I had a terrible problem with nausea and violent vomiting, and honestly thought I was dying.
    I have had a lot of problems since the surgery, and I fell that some of the problems may have been avoided if I had not been discharged so soon.
    My NS had me convinced that it was a very simple procedure, frequently done as an outpatient procedure, with minimal post op restrictions. He told me that he has no idea what caused the prolems I experienced and basically, passed me on to PM. He was a great doc pre-op, but extremely rude, arrogant and uncaring post op.
    Actually, this surgery is a big deal Do not let anyone rush you. Be prepared for the worst so that you can be pleasantly suprised when things go well for you.
    Hope all goes well with you surgery.
  • My Doctor said i will be there 3 days,and he done my microdiscectomy and was very good at listing to my problems afterward so maybe he will be the same,ive got dull pain always in my low back and ive been this way for over a year when i messed my l5 s1 disc up.
  • Keep in mind any fusion is major surgery. There are a number of things to prepare yourself for when deciding on surgery. As Kevin posted earlier, he was in the 1% risk group for his complication. When I had my procedure done, there wasnt any documented cases of male issues (other than retrograde) arising from an ALIF. Now that I'm four years post op and still have a male issue after surgery (now they say there is a 20% risk of this problem with ALIF) I must take medication to be intimate with my wife.

    I'm not saying this to scare you or anything, but be sure to discuss in depth risks vs. benefits of the surgery with your surgeon.

    I found recovery was much more difficult than the surgeon said it would be. There are also the small yet subtle things that they don't tell you such as when the weather changes abruptly, you may feel more pain (due to hardware in your back) or that something as simple as shivering (cold) can almost put you on your knees.

    Again, not trying to scare you, but talk about this surgery in depth with your surgeon (and family).

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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