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ALIF/360 Surgery Scars

modc30mmodc30 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was just wondering what type of scars people had after the ALIF/360 surgery. The surgeon says the anterior part will look much like a hysterectomy scar but he hasn't said much about my back. I was just wondering what some of you guys had experienced in the scar department.

I am a 33 yr old female w/herniations at L4/L5 and L5/S1 from working on an ambulance. I fought surgery for 4 years and tried everything for pain management including multiple epidural/cortisone injections, oral pain medications and PT. My last round of epidurals and cortisone lasted 2 months and was comprised of 10 different injections. I decided that, after 4 years of injections, I couldn't keep pumping my body full of these drugs and I gave in to surgery. My surgeon is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. He has told me I will be having the ALIF surgery and that he will also be going through the back to put in the screws--I haven't found the terminology, but I think that's the 360 surgery. I am currently waiting for Worker's Comp approval for my surgery. My surgeon has already gone over the technicalities of it with me and I've done some research on my own. The one thing I can't find any information about is probably the vainest thing possible!

I knew going into this it was a major surgery, but after reading some of these posts I'm starting to get a little scared. Its good to know that there are other people out there who have experienced the surgery and are willing to share their stories.
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13

Comments

  • I have one 5" long below my belly button, and 2 5"long on each side of my spine. I'm pretty sure the only thing that will hide them is clothes. Quite frankly, that's at the bottom of my list of things I was and am worried about after the fusion. I take that back, it wasn't even on it. Keep doing your research, and you too will find alot more things to worry about with fusion than the size of the scars.
  • Thank you! I know scars aren't important, I was just wondering what they looked like. I'm more worried about the recovery than the scars.
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  • To give you an idea of what the scars should look like, my wife and I both look like we had C sections, but I have 2 more on my back to. After the pain of the last 3.5 years, I hope they are enough of a reminder to be careful with my back for the rest of my life. It took a month before I quit wearing my pajamas all day hiked up to my chest so they wouldn't touch the scars, but now I can rub the scars and wear pants and a belt with no problems.

    I was hurting the day I last posted to you, and I'm sorry about being so blunt in the post. But if it gives you any relief, the doctor glued my scars shut and the terapist said it should become very faint and that I will never have the zipper look like so many of these scars end up after surgery. Something to ask your doc about if you are worried about the look of the scar.
  • To give you an idea of what the scars should look like, my wife and I both look like we had C sections, but I have 2 more on my back to. After the pain of the last 3.5 years, I hope they are enough of a reminder to be careful with my back for the rest of my life. It took a month before I quit wearing my pajamas all day hiked up to my chest so they wouldn't touch the scars, but now I can rub the scars and wear pants and a belt with no problems.

    I was hurting the day I last posted to you, and I'm sorry about being so blunt in the post. But if it gives you any relief, the doctor glued my scars shut and the terapist said it should become very faint and that I will never have the zipper look like so many of these scars end up after surgery. Something to ask your doc about if you are worried about the look of the scar.
  • With both the Workers Comp and the Surgery! I was going to have an alif but they had to stop it due to bleeding risk and go to a PLIF - so I have a 5 inch scar running horizontally to the left of and under my belly button. I have four incisions in my back - 2 in the lower back on either side of my spine that are about 5 inches vertically and two inch long vertical ones higher on my back. The incisions are healing nicely and I am rubbing them with vitamin E oil but I will certainly have scars. You are right to be concerned about the recovery, it is rough but I am slowly getting better after about 4 1/2 weeks and I don't see anything strange at all about a 33 year old woman being worried about scars. I am a 51 year old Grandma so I find them less worrisome:)
    Patti
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  • Your scars also depend on if the surgeon uses staples, sutures or glue to close the incisions. It also depends on how the hardware is placed in your back. There are different ways to place the hardware. My surgeon used a Sextant system in which I have 8 - 1" incisions where he used punctures to place the screws and rods. Those were closed using glue and my front incision was closed with staples.

    I'm four years post op and you really have to be looking for the incisions to see them. They aren't as bad as I thought they would be.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • hi guys! Quick question my back pain is gone and the incision in the front and back do not hurt.

    My problem is pain, dull continuous pain more like spasms on my left buttock. It hurts to turn in bed, getting in and of the car. It hurts all the time. The pain rotates to the front of my hip.

    Is this just part of recovery?????
  • I complained to the doc jan.6 of pains in my butt and hips, but that the back was a dull ache. He put me in therapy for stretching and the first session took the burning and aching out of my butt and hips immediately. I don't recommend stretching unless a therapist or doc shows you how though. Kevin
  • You guys are awesome! Weaveman, I totally understand being in pain and now worries. =) I do hope you are feeling better!! I figure, if I want to get really really vain about it, I can always hide my scars in a tattoo...although, that might have to be a large tattoo!! But its a good excuse to add to the growing collection.

    Back surgery scares me and I fought the Dr for 4 years. My biggest concern really is recovery. I'm not an extreme sports enthusiast or anything, I just want my life back. I also need to get back to work. I am a 911 dispatcher now, so at least it isn't a very physical job! The chronic back pain really does take a lot out of you and I don't think that anyone who hasn't experienced it really understands. Its so nice to have people who are going through or went through the same thing I am going through. =)

    For those of you who have already braved the surgery, any words of wisdom?

    preese, vitamin E oil is a great idea! I might steal that!
    bebe_pain, hope you are doing better!!!
  • Be sure to ask your doctor when it's okay to start using oils and scar creames. If you start too soon, you run the risk of infection.

    You will most likely have weird pains for a while after surgery. I had different spasms and numb areas along my legs for nearly six months after surgery. I'm still numb to this day along both sides of my abdomen scar from ALIF.

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