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L5/S1 Fusion Recovery Question

Hey everyone.

I am six days out from having my L5/S1 fused and I am just curious where I should be on the recovery process. I didn't get much help or answers following my inpatient stay of around 36 hours. My doctor even forgot to put in a standing order for a muscle relaxer (flexiril) , it is really difficult to stand up either from a chair, the toilet or the bed. Once I try to stand up I fell like a catch in my left hip that I have to push myself through the pain of getting through it, imagine if you will trying to push through a cat door that is designed to let an animal out but not back in but pushing through it anyways. I have the same feeling when trying to sit but it's easier because gravity takes over. I also seem to jerk sometimes when I walk like I've been pushed or shot with a taser.

Is all of this normal or something I need to follow up with my doctor with before my five week follow up appointment ?
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1

Comments

  • medicalsecmmedicalsec Posts: 7
    edited 11/10/2015 - 8:19 AM
    I would ask about Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, as i had the same operation as you, mine was for 10 hours with a huge incision requiring 27 metal staples to close it, and i was in hospital for 7 days after it. I developed the SI joint dysfunction after the surgery, although i was not made aware of this before i had the op, i have also now developed facet joint arthritis, spinal stenosis and disc bulge all above where i had the fusion so my advice is get all the information you can about any symptoms you feel, as i can tell you the pain from the SI joint is a lot worse and more debilitating than the pain i had before the operation. Best of luck.Sue

    ****************************************
    Forum Rule:
    5.06 You agree not to post information that is considered to be formal medical advice.

    Your post contains wording that may be considered as giving medical advice. It is very important that everyone understand that
    there are no medical professionals on this site, so therefore any comments are solely opinions based on personal experiences.
    They should never been taken as medical fact.
    Liz, Spine-health Moderator
  • Thanks Sue
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 927
    Six days out from surgery is nothing... fusion surgery especially on your lower lumbar is a MAJOR surgery and your full recovery will take months not days or weeks. It's not surprising your having troubles with your body movements (especially getting up from sitting...) as during the surgery there was a LOT of trama to your back muscles and other tissues. When your doctor gives the ok you can start physical therapy to help get back your muscle strength... but until them take it SLOW... use your walker or other aids to help in your movements around the house.
    Harry - 64 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • So I have read a lot of people on here having L5/S1 fusions with microdiscetomy etc etc. Is the recovery time the same when you have a Laminectomey with a fusion???? I having a L5/S1 lumbar fusion with bone marrow aspiration/cages/screws interbody??? Sorry for all the questions but I am 3 days away and I am nervous as hell right now.
    chickensgirl76
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 927
    It's quite common to have a laminectomy and/or discectomy together with fusion surgery... as it's all part of the surgical process to avoid "pinching your spinal nerves". The longest part of recovery is the bone fusion as this process is very slow... something like healing a broken arm. Keep a positive attitude... and don't get in a hurry to be well again and you will be fine.
    Harry - 64 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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  • Well I had my surgery done, didn't use the morphine pump after surgery at all, they kept incouraging me and I was like I don't want it. I was out of bed walking the second day and home by the 4th day. I feel great and have little to no pain at all. I am fine walking, sitting, standing and I have actually slept several nights in a row now ALLLLLLLL night..YEAH ME!!!! I am so glad I did what I did. My doctor had told me a few days later that my spine was actually worse than my MRI and xray had shown.
    chickensgirl76
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 927
    GOOD FOR YOU...!!!! It's good to hear of such a positive result... I'm really really happy for you. On my first fusion surgery I was kinda like you... I woke up PAIN FREE and never took any medications after the first day or so on the pain pump. Unfortunately on my second fusion surgery (same surgeon) it was much worse with LOTS of pain and meds for almost 4 months after surgery. Despite feeling better you are not healed yet... so don't over do it... give your body time to heal. The fusion process is very slow... kinda like healing a broken arm... so be patient... and remember to be "kind to your back" even once you are fully healed. No more heavy lifting or stressing your back EVER AGAIN for the rest of your life... you don't want to end up like me with a second fusion surgery.
    Harry - 64 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • I had revision of L3-S1 and interbody fusion of L3-L5 on October 29th. I still am having alot of pain in area where my old hardware was removed and weakness in my legs. I wear a brace at all time except to sleep and walk. I have an electronic bone stimuu I wear 2 hrs a day. No PT or home exercises ordered yet. Havent seen neurosurgeon yet, he had my primary doc take out my staples. Dont see surgeon for three more weeks. I feel like Im getting worse not better. I call tge clinic and his nurse says just walk this is normal. Is it?
    Deb wells
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 927
    Like you I've had 2 fusion surgeries in the last couple of years and the initial recovery/pain experience for both was quite different. For the first surgery which was a double level fusion (PLIF L4-L5-S1) l woke-up with zero nerve pain and never had any major pain or complications during the complete recovery period of about 12 months. For the second surgery which was a single level fusion (PLIF L5-S1) since the first fusion failed/broke I woke up with ALL the nerve pain and misery I had before the surgery if not worse. I was really frustrated... The pain and complications did not go away for 4 months and the whole time my surgeon kept saying ".... don't worry it will get better". In the end he was right but it was 4 months of pure misery. His explanation was that it sometimes takes that long for the nerve swelling/healing to reach a point where there is no longer any irritation/pain. Everyone is different but it sounds like what you are going through is normal... you're barely at one month post surgery and there was a lot of trauma to your insides which is going to take more time to recover. Hang in there...
    Harry - 64 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • wg7361wwg7361 Posts: 5
    edited 12/01/2015 - 7:08 AM
    I am now 3 weeks out from surgery and trying to be patient with the recovery. I would say that my leg pain is not really improved. I know that the nerve roots are sometimes aggravated from the surgery itself but I would like to be assured that what I am going thru is normal. Can anyone tell me what to expect going forward ?
    William gibbs
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