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L4-L5-S1 fusion - Positive Recovery :0)

tobyteabagttobyteabag Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:54 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi Guys!

I just thought I would add my experience of recovery from an anterior L4,L5,S1 fusion. I have sadly read so many posts of people having great problems after the surgery and it really scared me, but I am now 3 weeks and 2 days post surgery and I feel GREAT!!

I am a 44 year old woman who could barely walk before the surgery, and I was taking up to the limit of pain meds and still unable to sleep. I also have something called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which is an added complication as it affects my heart, joints, healing and immune system.

I was discharged 6 days after surgery and when I got home I was able to walk short distances without too much discomfort, could get down and up off the toilet ( I was worried about that!) without help, and could do stairs. I was on the lowest amount of pain meds ( 75mg Sodium Dicolfenac x 1 per day ) and never felt the need for more. The worst things were the mood changes ( due to valium withdrawal I was told! )the nausea ( due to epidural ) and the tiredness.

After 12 days my stitches were removed and with my surgeon's agreement I started to go to the swimming pool and move around, swimming a couple of widths and walking in the water. I also started to drive short distances ( this was uncomfortable but necessary for me to do ) again with my surgeon's agreement.

So, I had my 3 week check yesterday and the surgeon was very, very happy and I am now in the care of a physio, signed off by the surgeon. I am now taking no pain meds for the first time in years. I can now use the treadmill in the gym slowly ( NO running! ) and swim properly if I stop if I feel any pain ( swum 1500m today and no pain, just stiffness in muscles ).

I have no pain in any place in my back, and only a very tiny amount of pins and needles in my leg when I have walked too far, which I am told is normal for the first six weeks.

I know that this is just the beginning of a long recuperation, but I wanted to add a postive note, to let people know that the first three weeks isn't necessarily horrendous :)

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions - I would be happy to chat.

Here's to a pain free back!

Kim x



  • It was really great reading your post and I am so happy to hear how well you are doing since your fusion, if you read my latest post.....you'll see how well you answered my questions about fusions!

    It truly is wonderful to read about success stories.....I hope to be just like you.
    I am 2 weeks out since my ALIF but just one level, L5-S1 and I am not where you are but nothing terribly wrong is going on either but my Dr has given me the all clear to just get on with my life and no what I want to do and just listen to my body, sounds like yours is very similar to mine and he explained to me the reason is because of the anterior approach and this new anterior pyramid plate he used, I am experiencing a lot more pain than you as I recover but the dr sees no reason for me not to keep getting better.

    I still have low back pain and numbness and tingling down my leg, I was having severe hip issues before surgery so in time if my hip and leg symptoms don't improve then we know it's something wrong in my hip and not my back causing the problems!

    Actually my back was ok until a few days ago when I started increasing my activity and sitting for longer periods of time, that seemed to aggravate my back and it has ached ever since.

    How is your abdomen, my pain is getting easier there now but it was painful to me, I have the bikini cosmetic incision and then he went in and cut through my abdominal muscles to access the spine but all that's internal, but I can feel it!

    I did get on the treadmill today as I thought that might be better walking for me v's walking in circles around my house! I have a pool so I should get in there next now that I have read you are using the pool.

    I am really encouraged by reading your post and you have inspired me with your progress.....it's just fantastic! I am so happy for you.

    Keep up the great work and keep us posted on your recovery, I think it's important we hear the positive outcomes of surgery.


  • CONGRATULATIONS!! How nice to be pain free. Swimming is wonderful. Keep up the good work.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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  • Great to hear! I am 11 days post ACDF and also doing very well!!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
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