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How bad was post op pain?

Annie-mAAnnie-m Posts: 108
edited 12/07/2013 - 4:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm having percutaneous screw placement and L4-L5 fusion on the 17th. I had ALIF done in April 2011 but started having pain again about 18 months. After many rounds with pain management I was referred to a surgeon to have things checked out. At some point I broke what had started to fuse. At first I thought I'd just have some small puncture type wounds but it will be an incision.

Granted it won't too awfully much since it's just one level right? I just want to know if anyone else has had a one level fusion in that area and did they have much pain afterwards? What was your recovery like? I've already checked the other pages offered here but I'd just like to hear personal accounts.

Thanks, Anne
ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
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1

Comments

  • I had a 2 level ALIF at L4/L5 and L5/S1 and the pain wasn't too bad. I managed it the first 2 days with a Morphine pump, then I was switched to Vicodin and by week 3 or so, I was completely off all pain killers and just occasionally take a Tylenol now.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • Same, two levels L4/L5/S1...incision was about six inches long. Pain was not too bad as long as I stuck to pain meds...tried to wean off in week 2 which was a mistake. The first couple of days are pretty rotten, mostly when trying to get up to go to the bathroom, also rolling over in bed. But the surgical pain goes away pretty quick and staples become just an irritation. Mine was in the back and from what Ive read it seems back incisions are less irritating than abdominal ones...
    I worried soooo much about the pain before hand, had major anxiety attacks and almost called it off with days to go...now I look back and laugh...I do have a high pain tolerance, I'll admit, but it was SO not as bad as I expected!
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  • I have a 5 inch incision in my abdomen and back from my ALIF. I think the abdominal one was more irritating simply because I had to wear a brace. I didn't have stitches though, my surgeon used dissolvable sutures under the skin and steri strips on top.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1
  • Annie-mAAnnie-m Posts: 108
    edited 12/07/2013 - 1:15 PM
    I too will have dissolubles and steri strips. Since it's only one level then my incision shouldn't be as long. I also have a high pain tolerance but what I'm worried about is that morphine makes me itch, some meds worse than others. It took some diluadid that I have left from my knee surgery and that made me itch HORRIBLY! I worry about maybe not having a strong enough pain killer to be honest. Maybe I;m worrying too much LOL
    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 12/07/2013 - 1:19 PM
    Let your surgeon know about the itching, its very common and they can prescribe benedryl for you in the hospital. Even though its common though the nurses will want to know and keep a check on it to be certain an allergy doesn't develop.
    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 will BE SURE to let them know!
    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • I had an L4/L5 fusion with posterior pedicle screws earlier this year. It was quite difficult in the hospital until I was able to get off the morphine pump and on oral Percocet. I kept running out of the Morphine and it took them too long to get me hooked up again. (30 minutes was the longest, but it was hell). I had a hard time sleeping on the pump, I had to wake up every 12-16 minutes to hit the button. Once I was on oral meds I could sleep longer and reasonable periods of time. I came home on Friday and laid low for the weekend and honestly don't remember a lot about that 48 hours. I slept a lot on the sofa. Monday (7 days post op) I went to Sports Authority with my husband to pick up a sweatshirt, but I haven't confessed that to anyone yet. I got up and showered nearly every day. Friday I had an appointment with my pain doctor, I got dressed, put on make up and went to lunch with my daughter after the appt. at the 2 week point I drove myself up a hair appointment and then decided I had no business driving so I stayed home for another week. At 3 weeks post op my girlfriend took me to the mall to do some shopping for my birthday and I went to dinner with my family that night. I had bursts of energy, where I could do the aforementioned things and then needed to lay low for a couple of days. I was on the meds pretty consistently for 6 weeks (unless I needed to drive and I held to the "12 hour bottle to throttle" rule). I couldn't drive in the evenings until week 6, when I could go 24 hours without pain meds. At 6 weeks I went on vacation and after that I just slowly started getting my life back. I turned in 125 Perocets to my pain doctor at 5 weeks and traded for Vicodin. I'm currently 7.5 months post op and I have no low back pain to speak of. I have started a pretty intense exercise program with a trainer, I can cook, clean house, go shopping, etc, all without pain. Last year I had to take 3 Vicodin to cook Thanksgiving dinner and 3 to decorate for Christmas; this year...none. Not to say there wasn't ANY pain; there was, but I could take a break and come back to it. I know I'm one of the "lucky" ones and I hope you will be, too!
    Shari
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • BTW....I get super intense itching from narcotics. I asked for Benadryl and it took them too long (I also needed Gas-x) and sent my son to the pharmacy across the street to get them for me. (My daughter is an RN at that hospital and gave me the thumbs up). I did some damage to my legs and bottom from scratching so much, but nothing permanent. The itching continued on the Percocet, although not as badly and improved as I cut back the dose.
    Shari
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • It's becoming clear to me that this isn't going to be the walk in the park I thought it was. It is going to be a less invasive procedure with 2 smaller incision on each side of center of the spine and an incision somewhere along my hip bone for the bone graft. I'm getting more nervous with each passing day :(
    ALIF April 2011 but it turns out I broke before it barely fused.
    L4-L5 posterior fusion December 2013
  • Another thing, bring some quality lotion! :) Hospital air always makes my skin dry out, not to mention the itching.
    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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