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Spinal fusion recovery (anterior lumbar interbody fusion)

From: 1262444982@facebook - on 10/03/2012 9:57pm

Has anyone had a spinal fusion (L-5/S-1) surgery lately that can tell me about the recovery? I am scheduled for surgery next month and would like to know about the recovery.

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9 Responses

on 10/04/2012 4:15pm

Hi Jane,
I had a fusion (A.L.I.F.) of L4-S1 in 2007. To be honest, I don't remember the pain from the surgery because I was too busy going through hell due to coming off some pretty heavy meds too quick. (So do yourself a favor and make sure you don't do that.)
I can tell you that even though I still have pain, some days worse than others, I'm so much better than before the surgery. I would do it again.
I was released to go back to work 6 weeks after the fusion, but that was a mistake. You will need to learn how to move in a slightly different way and this take some time. You might feel so good that you think you can do more than you should. So wear the back brace, take it easy, let people help you.
Like I said, coming off the meds too quickly can cause some nightmarish things to happen, so have a plan with your Dr. in place.
Best of luck Jane,

on 10/06/2012 7:11pm

Hi Jane,
I'm in the same boat. My 3 level lumbar surgery is oct. 23
I know everyone feels pain in their own way and typically I am pretty tolerant. I have read about so many people after surgery and it seems the first few days post are the worst. I have a pre- op appt with my surgeon in 2 weeks and I intend to ask him point blank what to expect. I think this is your best bet. I will also ask what meds I will be given post and can summize from his answer what type of pain to expect. Good Luck and stay in touch!

on 10/08/2012 8:57pm

I appreciate your advise.

on 10/13/2012 9:33pm


Just want you to know I will be thinking about you as you have your fusion. I'm sure everything will go well. Keep in touch...My surgery will be two weeks after, on November 2. maybe we can compare notes as we recover!

on 10/18/2012 12:44am

I'm getting it done 1 week from today.. I HATE surgeries and EVERYTHING about them.. Needless to say my doctor put me on xanex yesterday, because I would call twice a week with new what if questions and I think they got tired of it haha. My fears are that they forget something in me or that my pain following the surgery is unbearable and the doctors tell me things like oh its part of the healing you have to deal with it... I am just one of those people that is a big baby when it comes to back pain..

But OH MAN am I looking forward to no more right leg pain and numbness!! And to say goodbye to the back pain, I will be happy when its finally gone, or at least not as severe :-)

Mine all started when I was in a car accident in 05 and I have put the surgery off until now because my surgeon finally said look at this MRI you see that if that keeps doing what your letting it doing the pain you feel now will be nothing to what you are going to feel. So I buckled....

So I go under the blades on the 24th, Ill let you know how it goes...

on 10/18/2012 6:13pm

Thank you Jane. And same to you! I finished all the preop appts today. Now I need a rest! I don't think I have any blood left! Just deep breath and try to relax, that is what I am attempting to do

on 10/19/2012 2:05pm

I had an anterior fusion 3 years ago due to an auto accident, disc was pressing on my spinal cord. I was nervous about having that surgery because I didn't know how long it would be before I felt well and could be as active as possible. Truth be told, the night of the surgery, I needed to use the bathroom, my nurse didn't come, so I unplugged myself and slowly walked to the bathroom holding onto my I.V. stand. I was released the next day and needed help getting up the stairs but had moved my bed downstairs prior to surgery. Just a tip if you have to go up, remember you have to come down, so I prepared for my surgery by bringing my bed, changes of clothes and books and music to the main floor so I would not have to attempt to go upstairs by myself. I was left alone all day everyday until dinner time for several weeks and I had to do for myself. The surgeon would have choked me if he had known but II had no choice. Moral to this story is, I did way to much post op, than I should have and it hampered my recovery. You need not be afraid, just make sure you don't play superwoman and make the same mistakes I did. I now have 4 bulging discs 2 above the fusion and 2 below, I will need more surgery. Make sure you eat healthy, foods that do not contain salt, and chocolate. This is a time to rest and let your body heal. I am limited now and have been since the surgery, but I knew that before the surgery. You will know when you can do certain things as the fusion will stop you dead in your track if you push yourself or lift something too heavy. Be good to you.
Sending prayers for a speedy and healthy recovery (about 6 months total) but active before that.

on 10/22/2012 8:10pm

Hi Jane,
Going in at 5 am tomorrow! Scared!! Anxious! Just want tomorrow to be over. I'm not sure if I will be on here or not before you go in for yours so good luck and stay in touch!!

on 10/22/2012 9:34pm

Hi Trisha,

My prayers are for you this evening and tomorrow as you have your surgery! I know everything will be fine. There comes a time when we have to turn everything over to God. I will pray that He guides the hands of your surgeon and that He gives you peace!

Keep in touch as well. I will look for your comments in a few days! I have another week to go...your surgery will be over & you will be healing by then!

Again, good luck to you! All will be just fine! We will talk in a few days!