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What to expect in recovery from a ten level fusion

I am five weeks out from an xlif and a day later a ten level fusion for scoliosis.My spine was shifted from a 68 degree curve to ground zero. I currently need a walker to walk and am wondering how long it could take to develop the muscles and strengthen my core to be able to walk normally unassisted. I am 65 and want my life back. (I know, I know, it has only been five weeks!)
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  • Hello, Esteven!

    WOW.  I'll look at this post the next time I feel like whining about my two-level fusion!! 

    Part of what can determine post-op recovery is a patient's pre-surgical health.  I guess what I'm getting at is that due to your scoliosis, your body has been used to moving a certain way to accommodate for the curvature.  Now that this has been corrected, it is going to take time to not only heal from the surgery itself, but for your body to adjust to its "new normal".

    Since you already know you are "young" in your recovery, your doctor would be the best person to tell you when you can expect to begin physical therapy, which will definitely help improve your core strength.  Speaking of core strength, I think you demonstrated you have quite a bit of it by going through that operation!!  Now you just need the go ahead to work on the muscle angle!!

    I'd like to welcome you to the forums!  Please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

      Welcome to Spine-Health

    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • esteveneesteven WashingtonPosts: 12
    Kimmy, They actually started my PT in the hospital and I went to "boot camp" two days after the fusion. I had 2-4 hours of PT every day in a acute rehab. They were moving me all day long. Considering I had 20 hours of surgery in two days I thought getting up that soon was amazing.
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  • I'd say that's amazing, too!!

    Although I really wish they could, doctors aren't able to give you 50 ccs of patience when you need it the most!  With your determination, you'll eventually make it to the point where you toss that walker in the recycling bin --or donate it  ;)   Until then, be gentle with yourself, ok?   
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510
    Estevez

    You are amazing!  Your post seems so up beat, and you have been through a lot.

    Like Kimmy, my three level (2 at a time) fusion was nothing.  Good luck, I would love to hear how you are doing in a month or so.

    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    I have seen some really amazing scoliosis stories, there is one here on the scoliosis forum that had that level and returned to an active life.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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  • esteveneesteven WashingtonPosts: 12
    Well Bruce I have to be upbeat, at this point besides ongoing, ubiquitous PT the only thing going to get me where I want to go is attitude!
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510
    Esteven

    Good for you!  Keep it up.

    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971

    Emily

    You're a remarkable woman... 20 hours of back surgery and 2 days later doing PT boot camp!!!  That goes beyond amazing... especially for someone your age.   With your spirit and spunk I have zero doubts about your recovery... and I'm sure in no time you will be throwing that walker in the trash... and will be running circles around the 25 year olds at the disco.  Are you walking outside every day?   Are you off the pain meds?

    Harry - 65 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
  • esteveneesteven WashingtonPosts: 12
    Harry,

    I am now almost six weeks out from surgery and using Tylenol to manage pain, the heavy duty pain meds are not being used. I walk for an hour a day, divided into 20 minute sessions and I keep moving inside and outside all day. I don't need to run circles around any 25 year olds, but I do want to jump on a plane and visit my children in China and that is a very long flight from Washington State. I am having to relearn almost everything I do and be patient with the fact that tasks just take longer that they did before surgery. I know that my surgery is new and frankly after reading posts on this forum I can't complain. Six weeks out, an xlif followed by a ten level fusion,  and relatively little pain, just discomfort. I gained three inches in height, so am stretched while my body adjusts.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    Amazing, I am always intrigued by scoliosis surgeries they often have better results than one level fusions and to why that is I could not begin to imagine.  Maybe limiting all the levels of motion by fusing is vastly different than one.  But that being said congrats and I wish you continued success
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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