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How much loss of movement will I have

If I go threw with my fusion surgery scheduled fo dec 20 fuse L3/4 how much movement will I lose ??? I'm talking once I'm all healed up months down the road!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    So much depends on your health-shape you were in prior to the surgery. Then how much time was spent on the actual surgery, then how well you adapt to the limitations and restrictions, and finally how much you push or dont push to regain some of what you list after surgery.

    Some people recovery and respond much quicker than others. So, there really isnt any firm guideline. From my own experiences and from what so many people have posted here, its about a full year after surgery and doing everything you should be doing before you can really get back to a level somewhat like you did before. I stress somewhat, because any fusion is going to limit some range-of-motion.

    My therapists look closely as to your improvements. They use different range-of-motion measurements to see where you are. I do not believe that there are that many have 100% after surgery.

    For both of my complete shoulder replacements, the therapists were looking at the 'best' for me, considering age (63) and
    other surgeries to be around 85% They are quite amazed that I in the 95-98% range. My surgeon did a great job and I devoted myself to the 18-24 month total recovery for shoulders.

    I've been told that for total hip replacements, they like to see people back to the 90-95% range. Now, that I just had my right hip totally replaced, to go along with my left hip totally replaced in 2011, my range-of-motion is in the mid 80%
    The doctors dont fret over this, only because of the number of prior spinal surgeries and fusions and the permanent limitations.

    So, you can see, that different folks have different answers to your question. But, if you really wanted to put a number on it, I would say it could be in the 85-95% range.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • EMS GuyEEMS Guy Posts: 1,036
    edited 11/22/2013 - 1:44 AM
    My surgeon said that with all things being equal, you MAY lose up to 7% flexibility per lumbar section fused. But, as Ron mentioned it is pretty subjective.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • Hey Sinman, good luck in the surgery and hope it turns out well for you. I am leading down the road of surgery and will eventually need to go under the knife. I am researching all options to me. Retief Goosen on the PGA tour had an artificial disc inserted at your level (l3-l4) and returned to the tour. I find this remarkable as I can only imagine how much torque a pro golfer puts on his back with every swing and they do almost 500 practice swings a day. Good Luck
  • I'm still very early on in the recovery process, but my surgeon doesn't expect me to lose any flexibility or movement.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • I would suggest looking up what parts of the body this nerve controls. I know for my fusion bending down, lifting, and sitting are very difficult. I am 4 months post op. I won't know the true mobility affects until my fusion heals in 12-24 months.

    I am a very patient person, but right now healing is a full time job, along with my real fulltime job. I know your scared but this is not a one size fit's all situation.
    40 year old mom
    Tlif July 18
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  • You learn to adapt, after healing and PT a one level fusion should cause you very little trouble with range of motion. Obviously I have some "loss" of motion but I still manage to do all daily activities like a normal person... you learn to adapt.

    And although you didn't ask my opinion, I think you should postpone the surgery. I have read several of your posts and it doesn't sound like you are ready to make this decision. I think so many of us would gladly "run into the OR and strap our self down" at the chance of removing some of the pain/misery we feel. It sounds like you aren't any where close to that yet... and it sounds like you haven't already exhausted your conservative treatments (like trying other epidurals in other areas) Best of luck to you as you make your choice.
    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.
  • I forgot to ask doc what my limitations will be after 2-3 months off and I return to work
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