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Anterior/Posterior L4-S1 Fusion

ksqtpiekksqtpie Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, here I am 4 weeks postop. I want to give anyone who is preop a bit of hope. You can have a great experience and a smooth recovery with this surgery. It's really tough, but it can happen.

On 3/19 I underwent Anterior/Posterior L4-S1 Fusion, laminectomy, decompression, the whole nine yards. My surgeon inserted rods, screws, cage, etc. I was under for 6 1/2 hrs and spent 5 days in the hospital. I had the most amazing care imaginable. My surgeon visited me multiple times a day and my nurses were fantastic at making sure I was comfortable at all times. I can honestly say I was never in horrible pain. Of course getting up to walk the evening after surgery was the worst part, but I just sucked it up and did as well as I could. Throughout the week, I walked more and more with the physical therapist and even had to pass a little test which included climbing stairs before I could go home. The basics like walking, going to the restroom, getting out of bed, etc took sooooo much effort but it got better and better each day.

After day 5, I was allowed to go home. My first night was horrible--I was allergic to the percacet (sp?) and got violently sick over and over. This was the worst experience of the entire ordeal. It felt like a bomb was going off in my back each time I got sick. After getting my meds straightened out the next day it's been smooth sailing. I only used my walker for 1 day, I was determined to walk on my own after that. My left leg got 95% of it's feeling back...it's better than preop. Just a little numbness and stiffness in my toes and ankle, but it gets better daily. I walk at least a mile every day and wear my brace always unless I'm laying down. I started PT 2 weeks ago and have been doing my exercises daily to strengthen my core and gain my overall strength back....this has made a world of difference!! In the past 2 weeks, I have gained so much strength and I feel about 80% back to normal. Pretty good for only 4 weeks out!! YAY! I only take 1 vicadin in the morning and 1 before bed and I feel no pain. That is 1/2 the dosage recommended by my surgeon, but I don't have pain with the amount I'm taking so there was no need to take more.

So, in all I am soooo excited about how well I'm recovering. The best part is I don't have lower back pain..NONE. I am in shock! So, if you're scared about an upcoming surgery my advice is STAY POSITIVE and go into this with the mentality that you WILL be one of the lucky ones who will have a smooth recovery. Good luck!! I pray this brings peace and hope to someone


  • Keep up the good work and don't push it! I think thats what did me in (or have had runaway bone growth with BMP-2).

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Sounds like you're doing extremely well in your recovery. I can imagine how it felt to get sick from the percocets. If you were throwing up, I feel for you. I hurt me a lot just to cough in the hospital. Well, it's great to hear you are home now and not needing much pain meds. Good for you. I hope you continue to have a speedy recovery and happy for you that your leg pain is so much better. Kevin
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  • Thanks for the advice. I am definitely doing everything I can to take it easy. However it is difficult when I'm feeling better than I did preop. I just keel reminding myself that this is temporary and that life will be back to normal soon. I hope things get better for you soon. Take care!

    By the way, what does BMP -2 mean? I am really new to all this lingo :)
  • Thank you so much for the well wishes. I am excited because today I am finally getting sensation back in my toes, so now just the tops are numb. Nerves are a funny thing. I never knew how complex they really were.

    And yes, the percaset made me throw up...all night long. I can't even count how many times. The pain was excruciating!! I would not wish that experience on my worst enemy. That was the worst part of the whole experience. I'm glad that is over.

    I am sorry to hear about your failed fusion. I would like to know more about your situation if you are willing to share. My biggest fear is that I will feel great and all but then find out nothing is fusing. Hope to hear from you. Have a great week!
  • This website is kind of like the government with all the acronyms! BMP stands for "Bone Morphogenic Protien".

    A certain version of it (BMP2) was used a lot in the past but has been found in some cases to cause runaway bone growth and a whole host of other medical issues. Do a seach on this site about BMP2 and you'll see. ERNurse did a great job bringing this issue to light not only to patients but doctors as well.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • Thank you! I'm fully educated on BMP2 now. Kinda scary. I definitely don't want more surgeries down the road. This one was enough for me!
  • I was wondering what you did to initially hurt yourself? What it is you do for a living? I ask this because I was hurt delivering bottled water and have had 2 surgeries so far 1 a microdiscectomy and then a 2nd where the surgeon had to go back in and do a reexploration surgery to cut out more of my L5 and now I'm for with reherniation of the L4 and L5 and face the same Anterior/Posterior surgery. Frankly I'm scared my back has gotten worse, the only thing relived is the a bit is the sciatic pain i suffered up until my first surgery but now am left with a numb left foot up to my knee. Still getting the shocking pains through out my spine as well. It's more the Uncomfortable feeling I have all the time that bugs me. I'd like to bounce back and forth a couple times before my final decision to get this surgery if that's possible? Thanks and Happy Holidays
    Scott W. B
  • I had the same surgery Sept 30 it been a slow recovery twice a week I have pt and doing my exercises at home too..I have stabbing lower back pain and get fatigue at the end of the day everybody tells me it takes time...my throbbing in my leg isn't aggressive ...thanks
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