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Apprved for ALIF

HeidiLynnMHHeidiLynnM Posts: 445
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been approved for ALIF surgery through comp. It has been a long hard road. I also suffer from what my doctor says is fibro. I am wondering for those of you that also have this, and had surgery, how did it go? I am nervous about the surgery in many ways. I am also so very hopeful about getting my life back in many ways! I am not sure when it will happen, but I am sure within a month.
I am also wondering for this surgery, will it hurt as much as a posterier fusion? My husband had that, and he was in agony. He still is without meds. On another note, for those of you that have had this, did you also suffer from depression? That is what I am most scared about, I don't like the funk I get in. I just want to be positive, I do my best.
Thanks for reading! :)
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Comments

  • i am waiting for ALIF fusion too {sept} and from what i have been told its a hard surgery to recover from and recovery take upto 36 months ! i am in the uk and waiting list are mad i have already been waiting for 10 months .i dont know about you but i am on loads of Oxycontin and oxynorm to help with the pain ,sleeping is a nightmare only get between 1/3 hours then i am up in pain ..pain stops me from doing anything normal .like shopping //walking /even eating a meal at a table i have to eat on my recliner as its the only thing i can get some sort of relief from the constant pain .i hope that you are not as bad as me {pain wise } and i wish you well for you operation keep in touch
    tony
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • HeidiLynnM said:
    I have been approved for ALIF surgery through comp. It has been a long hard road. I also suffer from what my doctor says is fibro. I am wondering for those of you that also have this, and had surgery, how did it go? I am nervous about the surgery in many ways. I am also so very hopeful about getting my life back in many ways! I am not sure when it will happen, but I am sure within a month.
    I am also wondering for this surgery, will it hurt as much as a posterier fusion? My husband had that, and he was in agony. He still is without meds. On another note, for those of you that have had this, did you also suffer from depression? That is what I am most scared about, I don't like the funk I get in. I just want to be positive, I do my best.
    Thanks for reading! :)
    Greetings and welcome
    Everyone is different and every surgeon is different but I can tell you that at 5 weeks post-op for an ALIF L5/S1 I am off narcotics, walking for 30 mins a day and on the mend - that is not tosay that the first few weeks arn't rough - they really are. Not only are we recovering from the spine surgery but major abdominal surgery as well.

    As far as depresion - I am a long standing memeber of AA so am terrifed of narcotics - after 2 weeks they sent me into a major panic attack so stopped - but again - that's me! Most people handle them just fine, I unfortunately am not one of them!
    Read the comments on constipation and take them to heart - a huge issue for me at least.
    Pain meds - take as needed, dont get behind and get off as soon as possible (that's me tho' so follow your body's needs and your doc.)

    The month that you have - can you spend it getting as fit as possible and maybe lose some lbs - the better the body is before surgery the better the recovery - again that's me.
    Smoking - if you do PLEAASE stop - it will slow downb the fusion process by 40-50% - second hand smoke is just as bad so tell any smoker s around you to get lost - trust me you will not want to sneeze or cough for weeks as it hurts so much!

    I put off my op for 25 years of gradual deterioration of my disc to the point that it was bone on bone and I don't think there is an honest person here who won't say they were scared/terrified prior surgery. The reality is that for us it is the final chance to get some kind of normal life back - at least now i have to believe that the pain I feel will have a good chance of getting better as opposed to pre-op where the only option was for it to get crippling worse.

    Keep us posted - and good luck.
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  • Heidi,
    I had an L5-S1 7 weeks ago tomorrow. I'm doing well although I may be recovering a little more slowly than some. My surgeon is very pleased with how everything looks on X-ray, but he wants to see me again in mid-May before he thinks about starting pt again. My injury occurred 18 months prior to surgery and despite pt during that time, I was quite deconditioned. That has slowed my recovery in general. Let me also add that the discomfort I have now is much less than before surgery. My leg, which became very unstable, feels more reliable & I don't fear falling. I am still on nucynta, gabapentin, & ambien, but no longer require oxycontin, zanaflex or ativan which were prescribed post-op. I consider that great improvement.
    Prep yourself, your family & your home for your recovery. There are some great checklists on this site. It is a long recovery, but if you approach it with the idea of giving yourself the best outcome by following your doctor's orders and allowing for the healing process you'll do better. You will have good & bad days - soon the good ones will outnumber the not so good. Seek support through friends & family, this forum, & spiritually. It's very easy to overlook the latter. If you don't have a particular faith you practice, seek positive readings & ways to refresh your spirit.
    Good luck as you prepare. I hope you get a date soon and that you do not allow yourself to fret. It's quite normal to be anxious before such a procedure. We all felt that way. Keep is posted.

    Regards,
    Pat
    Pat Gibson
    L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
    Now L4 Retrolisthisis
  • I am starting to use a treadmill, and doing some weight training that I can manage. Smoking-uggggh. That is a hard one. I will try my best, what else can I do? I am also the same way with pain meds. I hate the way they make me feel! We are in the process of trying to sell our home, and I also will be having surgery! I am going to try to get as much done as I can before I go in. I am thinking that the warmer weather will help me!!!!
  • Good that you've got approval for your surgery.

    With an ALIF, you still get post-op back pain. It lasted 6-7 months for me and it was very hard to get comfortable during that time, but lots of pillows helped a bit. With lots of patience and trying to keep positive, I started feeling more normal at 6 months out.

    Good that you're trying to get yourself into the best physical shape you can before your surgery, and do ask your doctor for help with the smoking. As Adrian posted, my understanding too is that smoking will delay the fusing process. I was fused in under 6 months and then it took another 6-7 months for the fusion to feel really stable and strong. Initially it was rest and walk, rest and walk, and then I was able to gradually increase the walking. Walking will strengthen the core muscles and it's a good idea to contract the pelvic floor muscles as you're walking, even now as you're using the treadmill.

    You will have good and bad days and at times I did get depressed and tearful. In the early days, it was the "four walls syndrome" that got to me. I live on my own with two dogs and it did get lonely at times. I have some very good friends who called in regularly to cheer me up. Once I could get out and about, then my mood lifted. It was even better once I could drive, which was around the 6 weeks mark.

    I've had a very good outcome from my surgery and that's what I wish for you.

    Trish
















    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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  • I would do ALIF again if i had to the recovery is long and its painful not gonna lie i woke up and was like holy cow kill me now!......and each day it got better and better and it has gotten some of my life back before surgery i had weakness tingles and major leg pain now i only have it in left leg with some swelling...walk walk walk even if its when you get up to go bathroom walk the hall and silk pjs a must have i had a walker when i st came home was a godsend! it helped me get out of bed and off the toilet!....im 5 months out and still in pain! but its down to a 6-7 where before it was a 20 so im getting a lil better i have been doing pt for last 6 weeks! AND The SMOKING YOU HAVE TO QUIT!.....i was in hospital 5 days and when i came out didnt even want it!!!!....it will stop fusion im slower than most im just now starting to see some bone growth!....its been along hard road but take it each day at a time and where all here to help ya!!! make sure ya get lots of books and mags i read a book a day now!...lol......wish you bets of luck stay strong you will have days where your in the dumps and think whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy me! but your not alone!!!
  • Not to belabor the point but you asked..
    QUIT smoking before you get this done. Smoking slows down the fusion speed by 40-50 %, and increases the chances of not fusing significantly.

    As others have posted - the end result i believe is going to be well worth it but there is a significant amount of pain in the recovery process - you really don't want to extend that by 40%!

    ALSO - coughing and sneezing post ops hurts like a SOB - worse than anything I have experienced -

    ALSO - your lungs are going to take a beating post-op with you lying prone for 3-5 days there is an increased risk of pneumonia, which the hospital should manage by giving you breathing exercises or a machine to inflate, also the narcotics shallow your breathing rate so, upshot is, the more you can do to get air into your lungs the better!

    I am an ex smoker so believe me, I get it but smoking and this kind of major surgery - naught!

    Sending you only positive thoughts!
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