I am 71 male scheduled to have surgery in the near future. I would like some input from patients who have had similar surgery, dealing with recovery time ect.
I had an L5-S1 fusion 11/13/13. It was a MAST quadrant plif. It is minimally invasive compared to an open plif. It involves 2 smaller incisions one on each side of the spine. The recovery time is supposed to be shorter than the traditional plif because there is less muscle damage. That being said, it is still spine surgery and recovery of the muscle, nerves and bone can take 12-18 months. I left the hospital less than 24 hrs post op. It is supposed to be a 2-3 day stay, but my husband and I both work at the hospital and my husband is a neurosurgery nurse in the OR. My neurosurgeon knows both of us well and the condition for leaving early was that we call his cell phone with any questions or issues. I felt much less pain and burning than I had been experiencing as soon as a couple hours after surgery. Turning in bed was the hardest part. It is really necessary to have someone help you with getting up from sitting for about the first week or so. That includes the toilet. If that isn't a possibility, then rent a walker so you can use your arms and it will help with stability when walking. Don't try to be a hero and not take your pain meds as prescribed. I learned the hard way. Set an alarm if necessary. I am 5+ weeks out and have very little back discomfort. Most of my issue is burning down my leg, numbness in my calf and foot and an odd sunburnt sensation on top of my foot. Most of these sensations started 5 days post op. I got sick for some reason and the motions of vomiting tore some internal stitches on one side which caused a hematoma to form and it is pressing on / irritating the nerves on that side. I'm taking neurontin for the nerve pain, flexeril for muscle spasms and percocet for the leg pain. Walking helps tremendously. Sleeping is difficult. But sleeping propped up and with a large (sleep number reading pillow) under my legs does help. You can see by the hour I'm typing this that I still have difficulty sleeping, but I would have this surgery again in a heartbeat. The leg and back pain I was having prior to surgery was debilitating. This odd burning sensation seems to be lessened by meds. The pain prior to surgery wasn't touch by anything.
I wish you luck and a rapid recovery . If you had surgery I hope things went very well.