Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Laminectomy & Lumbar Fusion L4 L5 S1 Titanium Hardware

bsmith186bbsmith186 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:02 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Laminectomy & Lumbar Fusion L4 L5 S1 Titanium Hardware

I had my surgery 56 days ago and went back to the doctor yesterday and they are taking me out of my back brace and sending me back to full time work with a 30lb weight restriction. The PA said the X-rays looked good and that my fusion is growing rapidly.

My issue is that I have excruciating pain in the area where the hardware is when I am trying to roll onto my side from by back & when I sneeze or cough. I also have a lump at the top of the surgical site/scar that moves when I lean to the left.

It hurts to walk very long in the same area. I explained all of this to the PA yesterday and all he said was "REALLY" UI said yes really and he just ignored it and moved on to the next patient.

I am extremely concerned for my back health! He said I can go back to frequent walking, pushing, pulling, stooping, lifting, stairs, carrying 30lbs up & down stairs. I dont want to get hurt worse because the PA doesn't want to listen to my concerns. I am not on work comp, i am on private insurance so It's not like I'm trying to avoid going back to work & that's the way he acts when I tell him whats going on.

I dont even know if it's normal to have the said LUMP at the surgical site? I almost wonder if something is wrong and they just dont want to admit it!

Someone with experience with this type of surgery PLEASE HELP!


  • your no where near well enough to return to work part or full time .i had a L4/L5 ALIF with instrumentation and laminectomy and discectomy last dec 29 and for 6 weeks i was unable to move .its been 4 months and i am just about able to get through the day in my home ..my wife cooks and cleans and help me shower .i am in awful pain and unable to sit on anything other than my recliner propped up with various pillows and i can i only sleep for an hour a night ,,as for working not a chance...please get medical advice from a good consultant ..going back to work too soon will make you very ill and you will end up back on the operating table
    tony {UK}
    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
  • I had a single level fusion on 1/9/2012. I'm not sure I have a lump where my hardware was installed but you can definitely feel it if you touch where the surgery was. I still have some pain at the surgical site as well as pain when I sit up or move certain ways. I was unhappy with what my surgeon was telling me and I sought a second option from another team of surgeons. They pretty much told me what my surgeon told me, that everything I was experiencing was normal. Everyone is different though, seek out a second opinion as it doesn't hurt to. As far as lifting 30lbs, I can do that myself but it definitely does hurt afterwards. My back will get very tight and sore if I do and it sometimes lasts for days. I'd say you should take it easy and really try to avoid lifting so early on after surgery.
  • advertisement
  • BS,

    I am 7 weeks post-op with the same operation as you. PLIF - L4 / L5 - S1 and feel much better; however my back is still weak. I am pretty much in line with my physical therapy program for recovery, but if I move wrong, or sit upright for too long I hurt.
    I know each person is different and their body reacts differently to the fusion-making recoveries differ from case to case.

    My Dr and PT folks want to get me up and get me going, and believe I am invincible, not admitting it could take time.

    I think from the very start in the hospital they wanted me to get up, and try to convince me I’m okay, and to get me going. If they can get a patient up, and make them get going and they stay going, it’s better for everyone.

    My job wants me out the bare minimum of time; needing me back as soon as I can. My leave was originally approved for 7 weeks, however I asked for more time and my leave was extended 3 weeks for a total of 10 weeks.

    I really am trying to understand how to tell what is okay to live with, and what are grounds for staying out for more time. I don’t want to stay out if I don’t need to, but at the same time, don’t want to go back too soon, causing me more problems and issues in the future.

    Talk to your surgical coordinator, or the "Leave coordinator" and get more time if you need it. I agree that lifting 30lbs at 6 weeks, and doing that much is crazy. When I return after 10 weeks my restriction list has 10 items on. My max lbs is 15 pounds, again at 10 week. They sound like they are trying to turn you loose. Complain and tell them you don't feel comfortable. Take care and hang in there.

    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • Wow! After my one level PLIF I was out of work for 11 weeks. I didn't even heal up for 6 weeks. I hurt too much to go back to work for the whole time I was off and going back was really hard.

    I am amazed at how many of these surgeons seem to think the recovery is a breeze.

    I think Tony is right and that you should try and get a second opinion. At least get that lump checked out.

    Good luck.
  • I had a laminectomy, diskectomy, fusion to my L5 & S1 with spinal instrumentation, a cage and local bone graph. basically my disk was removed and replaced with a cage and rods and screws added.

    I will admit things were a bit weird and painful at first but my doctor was/is awesome. I did not have any back brace just a covering over dissolveable stitches until they fell out.

    You should not be lifting anything over 10lbs until you are further along. I strongly suggest that you ask for another visit with your doctor to discuss your concerns. Sometimes the PA is not who you want to talk to after your surgery...he/she is not the person who actually performed the surgery.

    The pain discomfort where the hardware is, is probably scar tissue. I experiences something similar ...but learned that once your stitches are gone and the are is basically healed you should rub that area from time to time...it will smooth out the scar tissue and relieve that feeling that you can feel your hardware. I asked my Dr. and he said there is no way I could feel the rods etc. in my back. But have he/she take a look..just because your x-rays look good doesn't mean there couldn't be something else. Also ask if they plan on giving you a bone growth simulator....Although my bones were growing fine I receive this apparatus on my 1st post-op appointment.

    If you are able to be out of work longer I suggest that you have your doctor (the surgeon that preformed your surgery) keep you out until you feel more comfortable... only you know your physical limitations and those requirements of your job.

    I am 4.5 months out an mobile but still out of work. Physically I am progressing fine but have my own discomforts with returning to a physically demanding job.

    Good luck and take it easy!
  • advertisement
  • You shouldn't "feel" your hardware. It could be scar tissue. I just had the single level, s1, l5 fusion with hardware and removal of a cyst. I don't feel anything -- not a darn thing. I'm able to get up, walk, sit, lay down, get in the shower, etc. I am 11 days out of surgery and am seeing my surgeon today. I would be scared to death if I was feeling what you are feeling.
  • Hi ... I am nine weeks post op two level fusion, bone grafts, cyst removed etc, etc. also L4/L5 and L5/S1
    For me, I was told three months in a corset, weight limit was 5-6lbs ...
    The idea of 30lbs sounds like a recipe for disaster ... How would you do it without bending?
    The early months are critical ... My surgeon will do X-rays at 12 weeks to check things but I won't have a CT scan until 6 months as he does not expect to see any real bone growth until then.
    It sounds as if your advice was not kindly given or could be right. I still get bad days after being a bit too active ... Yesterday and today not too good after my first self driven outing to a long lunch on Wednesday and I am down and the scar is sore and I feel cramps in my right calf ... A new sensation to add to the list of aches and pains that come and go.
    As for feeling the hardware .... Unlikely. I could not for a moment tell you where mine is by touching my back but I do know the general area where the surgery was done feels very sore inside sometimes and the two scars I have do sting a bit sometimes even though they have healed really well. When I get out of the shower I put I little vitaminE oil on them ... Helps the healing And will keep the skin bit softer.
    What about your family doctor? Mine has been far better than the surgeon at handling my meds ... She expects far less of me than I do myself and tries to slow me down in trying to run before I can walk ... Sounds like you need to talk this through again, perhaps with the surgeon or family doctor.
  • ArnzAArnz MalaysiaPosts: 1

    Hi .. I m Arnz ..I m new here , hope I can share my experience to all...

    I was diagnose and confirm to have PID on my L4/L5 in the end 2003 ,after lifting heavy object at my workplace. My doctor suggest for me to go on for surgery . My uncle also have PID case paralyzed after he decide not to go for the operation after fall from his big motorcycle . Being afraid that I 'll also will be paralyzed , I decided to go for the operation that is laminectomy and Fusion Cage in January 2004. on the same time I believing that medical technology is advancing , so I must trust my doctor . And yes after going through 4 hour of surgery I come out from OT. 3 days after that I can walk with no more pain on my feet and my buttock and doing the physiotherapy really reduce and comfort me... Until now I don't have any pain and I have my normal life back but off cause I still taking care my self my work so that thing will not happen again .

    My advice to all .. After the surgery or treatment  don't miss the physiotherapy session that have been assign to you by you doctor . Believing that Medical technology is advancing also will make you have the guts to go for the surgery ,this goes for whom are afraid to go for the surgery..

    Hope You all take care in every thing you do... 

This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.