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Posterior surgery question

I will be having a posterior decompression and fusion surgery on L5-S1 next month. I had a 2 level ALIF in 2007 on L3-L5. Because we went in through the stomach i had so many complications. Now that I need another fusion on the level under it, we are doing it posteriorly. My question is: Do you recover from this surgery by having to be on your stomach the whole time? How long before you can lay on your back?

DDD 2 level ALIF L3-L5 in 2007. 4/11/13 posterior fusion w/decompression on L5-S1.


  • Though my posterior surgery was on my Cervical and Thoracic (neck and upper back) I will give my input. My entire recovery I did not have to lay on my stomach. I woke up in the recovery ward on my back and stayed on my back for the 6 day stay I had in the hospital. I have had no issues sleeping on my back and/or side though I got woken up each time I would turn over. My muscles in my upper back are still tender and extremely tight and the incision site is still completely numb. But not one time have I had to lay on my stomach.
  • All of my surgeries have been done "from the backside" and each one I woke and remained on my back. Though I prefer and still do sleep on my side.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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  • I had a TLIF on l5/s1, and that involves incisions on the back. I couldn't tolerate being on my back until a couple days ago (I'm 3weeks post-op). Laying on my back still makes my legs go numb &/or tingly though. I prefer to be on my side...haven't tried to lay on my stomach as that causes the spine to bend
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
  • I was brought back from surgery (after having had 2-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion) flat on my back and that's pretty much where I stayed during my recovery. All in all, I've had 5 back surgeries and have always recuperated lying on my back. In the past, I have always preferred to sleep on my tummy (and haven't done so for years because of my back problems).

    Also, I'm hoping to have an scs permanently implanted into my abdomen next week, so I might have to put off trying to sleep on my tummy for a while longer.

    If you wake up on your back - then I would think the surgeons wouldn't have put you in that position if it will compromise your recovery in any way.

    I really hope your next operation is 100 per cent successful and that you can find a sleeping position that gives you the best pain relief - whatever it is.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Thank you for the responses! I was having a little anxiety about being on my stomach recovering (of all things to worry about). I hope this surgery works too. So worried.
    DDD 2 level ALIF L3-L5 in 2007. 4/11/13 posterior fusion w/decompression on L5-S1.
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  • I woke up in a brace, and was allowed to position myself either on my side or back. After the staff got me out of bed for the first time, I was permitted to remove the brace while laying down in bed, but needed to have it on at all other times. I'm a very "active" sleeper (always have been,) and maintained alignment by buying a couple of those super density foam pillows and using them to wedge myself into a comfortable side lying position. I used a small decor type pillow under whichever knee happened to be on top.

    The only nasty thing about rolling onto my back was it felt like a bed of nails when the staples were still in place.
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
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