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January 2015 laminectomy with spinal fusion

Glad to see this particular forum. I just scheduled surgery for January, L5-S-1 and like everyone else, I'm pretty stressed about this. I'm very active (or was, until the pain got too bad), and my doctor reassures me that recovery will be easier for me. I'm looking for a surgery buddy, and/or any advice that can help me prepare.


  • I am having surgery for my L4/L5 and L3/L4! The Dr is wanting to do an OLIF. I have not been able to find much on this procedure. I had a lamenecty and decompression on my L5/S1 in July of 2006. Started having pain again in July 2011 and went to dr in Nov 2011. Had an ALIF on L5/S1 and was supposed to do the L4/L5 at that time but dr said he couldn't get to it. He wanted to out in a neurostimulator and I got a secon opinion. My new Dr said my surgery was botched and that I have a piece of bone fragment in me and he will try and get it if he can. I am stressed over not knowing much about the OLIF procedure.
  • I had a fusion (TLIF) at L5 S1 four months ago. My surgeon told me recovery should be easy as I'm young (37) and was reasonably active until the pain took over. The first 6 weeks were hard. I struggled with the restrictions & although I felt better each week, recovery was taking longer than I expected. My surgeon had told me I should have full recovery (still with a weight lifting limit of 5-20kg) by the time I reached 12 weeks. I cried at my physio's about my frustration at 12 weeks & she said I was where I should be at this point.
    The best piece of advice I can give is to expect the healing process to be slow, listen to the advice of the surgeon, the physio & your dr and let your family & friends help you.
    I'm still recovering & will return to work in Feb (I have quite a physical job & although have clearance to return now, I just don't feel ready).
    Each week is better than the last & I now look at things in smaller blocks. The big picture is still in the back of my mind but I'm not stressing,
    Good luck in Jan,
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
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  • ilovemydogiilovemydog Posts: 2
    edited 12/06/2014 - 7:07 AM
    Hi! I am having L5- S1 fusion on Jan 20th here in Salt Lake. I am 39. Veronica, do you have any words of wisdom about what to expect while in the hospital?? What should I bring with me? they said I will be there 4 days.
    Also, how was it when you got home after the surgery? How much help did you need?
    Sorry for all the questions, kind of freaking out!
  • Owie_999OOwie_999 Posts: 176
    edited 12/09/2014 - 12:10 PM
    Questions are great, they help you prepare. Slip on shoes are definately a must for the hospital, especially as it's likely they get you up walking the day after surgery. I also had to find elastic waisted trousers that were high enough they wouldn't sit on my incision. I ended up wearing track suit pants or my pj's for about the first month. The hospital was quite noisy so I'd take earplugs, especially if you will be in a shared room. I didn't for my first surgery & the patient next to me snored loudly. I also took a folder with all my paperwork. It made answering questions from the nursing staff easier.

    I went from the hospital 3 days post surgery to a rehab hospital where I stayed for 8 days. I needed the extra time away from home as I have a disabled daughter who didn't understand she couldn't pull on me. I made sure I was only responsible for myself for the first 4 weeks. It was hard but I didn't want to undo any of the healing process. I learnt quite quickly that I needed to keep up with my medication. Some people set themselves alarms as reminders. By week 3 I was weaning myself off the day doses & only taking stuff at night. Now I'm taking an antidepressant that is supposed to help with nerve pain (which is very slowly going away) and sleep. I'm going back to my dr today as it's not helping.

    Just remember not to do too much too soon. Wet washing is deceivingly heavy, mopping floors is out as it usually involves twisting, oh & get a grabber. By far the best thing I had when I came home. I still use it so I don't bend.

    Feel free to ask me any other questions,

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • a good sense of humor and patience.....I had a 2 level TLIF and decompression surgery in Nov. You may want ear plugs or an eye mask but the 1st days are a blur..bring some type of candy or gum as you will be dry from hospital air and some chapstick.
    Must haves.... for before and after... large sweat pans or leggings and some loose shirts, nothing form fitting, slip on shoes, large wipes so that you can wash up a bit and I also purchased some shampoo caps off the internet... some hopsitals have that stuff and some dont. Its helpful for after because you cant shower right away so the wipes and the shower cap were wonderful.
    They have spine kits that you can purchase off the internet, but in the hospital I was given a grabber... if you can also get a folding one so you can take with you when you go out thats a help. Other must haves are a sock aid, a neck pillow when you are sitting up and watching tv and doze off...which you will... and a personal aid tool for the bathroom.... I got the personal aid tool, the grabber and the sock aid as my gifts from the hospital. A shower chair is helpful as well as a long handled sponge for showering as you cant bend lift or twist.... Prior to surgery make sure clothing and items that you need in general...are in areas where you can reach. I re arranged my fridge and and got little snacks that I could reach and fix myself when I was alone. I also arranged my dresseer drawers so that I could reach I did have someone home with me for the 1st week which was a big help. I purchased a rollator walker that comes with a seat off the internet. I wanted it because if i was out for a walk and got tired, I could sit. I purchased a preganancy pillow for my bed. I had a hard time sleeping , with having so many pillows for under your knees or to keep you from rolling on you back if you are a side sleeper... I would get stuck like a turtle on my back and love this pillow. There are days you will feel amazing and days you wont. When you feel really super good, DONT over do it, slow and steady is the motto for recovery and everything. You will need help with laundry and vacccuming and food shopping. did I mention a good sense of humor? A small notebook to take notes for hospital and afer to track your meds, walking, etc...

    Feel free to ask any questions...


    L4/5 S1 Decompression PSF with TLIF 11/5/14
    Spondylolithesis (congenital)
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  • On the 8th I am getting L5-S1 fusion and opening the port for my nerves... Sorry I don't now the surgery saying for that lol.
  • I've just been scheduled for my surgery on January 15th. I'm going to have a laminectomy and fusion at L4, L5.
    I'm a little in panic mode because although I've had uncontrolled pain for over 2 years, I wasn't expecting the surgery to be quite so soon. I've progressed from a grade 1 to grade 2 Spondylolisthesis and with 1.5 mm more severe stenosis as compared to my scans from 1.5 years ago. The injections, meds, chiro, massage, pt... none of it is working, so here I am.
    L4, L5 Degenerative Spondylolisthesis, grade 2. Spinal Stenosis. Radiculopathy.
    2+ years of injections, meds, therapy, chiropractic and massage. Next step laminectomy and posterior spinal fusion.
  • I've been an avid reader of a lot of I formation on this site, and posted a few comments myself. Ithis website has been extremely helpful in learning much about the surgery (certainly much, much more than I received from the surgeon), I was very nervous about my upcoming surgery and apprehensive as to whether I made the right decision.

    It is now 3 days post-sx and while I know I have a road ahead, it really has been more managable than I expected. Yes I'm on ample pain meds and know the next few days may be rough. I'm still at the hospital, and expecting to be released today. I been been taking very short walks down the halls, with aid and with a walker. Actually that has been the most positive result I've had so far - being able to walk without the normal back/sciatiac pain. I know the meds are masking a lot of it but I'm quite hopeful. One of the things I did not experience was any aftermath from the intubation - I' didn't know when it was inserted or removed.

    One thing that has helped - a lot - was being in reasonably good shape before the surgery. Just having arm strength to do the log roll to get in and out of bed has made it easier and helped me to feel more confident. Same with using a walker.

    So for those about to head to surgery, I am best say that it was been less fearful than is expected. Best of luck.
  • It's now been a week since my surgery ((L5-S1 laminectomy with fusion). Yesterday was the most difficult day so far, but today has been much better. I expect there will be mostly good and an occasional difficult day ahead. Although my walking is still quite limited, I'm thrilled to not feel the pain that I had before. I'm very hopeful and want to encourage those of you with surgery ahead, or are considering it, that it can be a very good experience and provide the best outcome for many people. I've heard that those with successful results may post less because they are busy continuing with active lives and that is probably true. I may fall into that category now as well.

    I'm also vey grateful to have support and assistance from friends and family, from bringing food to going on short walks with me.. There are helpful lists on this website with suggested must-have's that provided useful advice. I've managed without having to outlay too much money on extras, but I do advocate having good soled shoes. Crocs were fine in the hospital, but you'll need something sturdier to walk outside. Crocs are pretty flimsy and don't provide enough support.

    Thank you for the advice and education I received from so many on this site.
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