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10 days post 4 level plif

I have been home a week now. Surgery went well 8.5 hours. I feel pretty good although I'm pretty much a couch potato. I have been on percocet 5/325 every 4 hours plus neurontin. Last night I had an episode of vertigo and really just being out of my head. I took some dramamine and my last dose of percocet at 11 pm.

This morning I am still dizzy took another dramamine but not a percocet. I am wondering how to best stop percocet. Without it I feel like I have an incision in my back but not awful pain.

Details of my surgery
10 screws rods etc. He did a decompression by shaving off the posterior spinal processes for the fusion he used my bone from the spinal processes, some donor bone and some infusion. So no drilling into my hip. -)

I am walking with a walker around the house probably not as much as I should. And today I am so dizzy.
Waiting for a call back from Dr. S 's team.


  • Hopefully by now you have heard from the doctor, as to what to do. Your doctor should advise you how to best get off the perc's. However if you are still in pain and not moving around much sounds as though you still need some pain control. The walking part and moving around is so very important. The longer we lay down the more stiff we become. Keep in mind you just went through a major surgery and your body needs time to heal, being in pain will not let your body heal the way it needs to heal. So if you need pain control to get up and move around, then don't feel bad using the medications.

    Congrats though on your progress thus far. keep us posted on how your doing.
  • Glad to hear the surgery went well for you. You may want to ask about changing to a different medication to control pain. I was on Percocet for 2 days after coming home from the hospital and l also experienced terrible vertigo and vomiting, which was horrific after having anterior/posterior fusion. Anyway, I was switched to Vicadin and I felt like a new person. No drowsiness or nausea. Pain has never been a problem since.

    My advice for walking. Set a timer!! Get up and make yourself walk 15 mins every hour. I refused to used my walker after the first day home. It was very difficult, but just engage your core muscles and try your best to make little strides.The best advice I received....the bed is where you get weak, getting up and moving your body is the only way you'll get strong. 3 months postop as ofand I graduated from physical therapy. Only issue I have is some slight nerve irritation in my left foot and leg. So, stay strong...do your PT exercises and walk daily once you get to that point in recovery. Good luck!!!
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  • Awesome to have read your surgery. I have so many questions.

    How old are you?
    What kind of work do you do?
    When are they saying you can return to work?
    How long have you been fighting the pain?

    Sounds like you are trying to get off the pain meds. Good for you.

    Doctors are telling me my surgery will last four hours. And will be in the hospital for three days.

    The hospital on the other hand wants to play it by ear. Most likely will be four or five days in the hospital and could be six weeks before returning to work. I have heard so many conflicting things when it comes to the surgery and the recovery process. Unsure how this will turn out. Am positive about everything. Work is being great about this.
  • As a triple level lumbar that was also a redo of my original failed L5S1 my advice based on experience.

    The perc nausea passes in a week or so. Vicodin works, but not as much bang for your buck and they will = more of them and more Tylenol taxing your liver.

    Use what you have and walk, and walk and then walk. Not all at once, but you get the idea.

    Buy a pedometer, track your walking, I have a FitBit, keeps you honest and its all doable with a.smartphone. They just released newer models this month.

    As dizzy goes, it may be the Neurontin. That stuff made we dizzy and everything else, some people do better on Nortriptyline and/or amitriptyline instead.

    Happy walking, it really is better. Even if just inside when you wake up, it gets the blood flowing and eats away at the stiffness. I once walked 3 miles in one sitting just circling my downstairs. Walking grows bones, and keeps your muscles from breaking down and you'll need them for PT.

    Best of Luck :-)
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • I didn't realize that I had not posted for so long. I quit the perc and went down to Vicodin and as of July 6 I have not taken any narcotics. I still take a couple of neurontin daily as it works as a mood stabilizer for me.

    At 3 months post op I slowly weaned out of the brace....ah I could breathe again. I started water therapy, PT, and resumed a fairly normal life slowly. I am now up to walking a mile or more at a time. I usually clock in 2 miles a day on my pedometer. (I love my fancy new one). I am feeling so good and everyone who saw me before or right after the surgery is impressed with how well I can move now.

    I don't do formal PT any longer but I do go to the rehab gym and ride on the NUSTEP 3 times a week. I also use a Swiss ball several times a week at home.

    I have to admit I am still pretty lazy, I do not over do on activities and try to get lots of rest.....after all I am 70 and so should be slowing down a bit. LOL

    My spine surgeon says it will take 24 months for all of the fusion to do it's thing. I will return to see him at the end of November and hopefully my x ray will show that all the screws are in place and maybe the fusion is taking.
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  • My doctor used a Medtronic Stealth guidance O arm imagining system with 3 d guidance. He also used a nerve monitoring system with a neurologist technician present to monitor during the screw placement.

    For the O arm they had to place Percutaneous Reference Pin..... I thought it looked like a big nail....... into the iliac crest. He said he told me about it ahead of time, but I don't remember. Anyway that was a separate incision just to the side of the back incision. It bothered me far more than the main incision and I can still tell where it was. I wouldn't say painful, just annoying.

    He also used Medtronic BMPH with the fusion material, He swears by it. I haven't thought to ask him if he gets paid by medtronic.

    He is very proud of his technology in the operating room and I am pleased with my results....so far.
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