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12 weeks post op L4-S1 alif

Started by richard21040 on 04/21/2010 10:43am

Ok so I had my fusion on Janusry 26, 2010. Felt great and things seemed to be going just as the doctors said. Pain levels droped conciderably for many weeks. I have been weening myself off of the morphine that I have been on for several months. I was at 90mg/day along with breakthru narcotic medication. I am now down to 30 mg/day and suposed to drop to 15mg in a nother week or so. Heres the problem and I'm just not sure if is normal because of the weening off the heavy meds or if something is going wrong.
I have been walking @2-3 miles a day for trhe last few weeks and I am still able to do a mile or so without to any issues. But in the last 2 weeks my pain has been returning. The infamous knott in my left buttock was the first thing I noticed and now I get pains from my lower back to the knott, to the point that I have problems even while laying down resting. I was able to toss and turn with little pain but now have extream pain when I attempt to rolll on my side.
I am tempted to increase my morphine again but havent and am hesatent to do so because of the side effects I've had.
Am I experiancing FBS?? I hope not, I will have another x-ray on monday as see my neurosergon next friday. Should I call him before that??
I'm just very concerened cause I felt as if i was doing so well untill recently, kinda scared becasue of the horror stories.... I have limited my activities in hope that tings will get better but I have a feeling something is wrong. Any input from anyone that has had similar issues would be gratly apreciated as my problems seem to get worse on a daily basis.

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6 Responses


Hello Richard - I am just curious how the follow up went with your neuro?? I was scheduled for a double lumar ALIF back in Feb., but as you have read the stories, I am VERY concerned that if I put myself through such an extensive operation & recovery, that I too might be a victim of FBS. I have elected to go with a SCS implant (spinal cord stimulator) instead of the fusion. At only 33 yrs of age, I am scared that the fusion will put to much strain on my renmaining discs & cause them to begin to deteriorate. Also, my surgeon can guarantee that the fusion will fix the mechanical issues with my back (L4 - S1 herniations with annual fissures), but CANNOT guarantee that the procedure will fix my pain. I have already done the trial implant for the stim unit, and got 100% relief in my leg, but not so sure about my back as the incision pain outweighed the stimulation. Please let me know how your follow up went. I will pray it was successful, and that you are NOT a case of FBS.


thanx for the concern. I did go see my neuro-sergon last week. I brought new x-rays and was hoping to possibly start some other physical therapy regament to help with the pain. The X-rays taken, he said, look fine. As for the increased pain and mobility issues..."It's still early" is the responce I was given. As for PT not for at least 3 more months. The Dr wants to see positive fusion in the x-rays before anything like that is started.
As I understand it can be as little as 4 weeks to start BMP fusion or as long as 8 months before the fusion begins to show. He wants me to have my Pain Mgt Dr reevaluate my medication as he felt I was comming off them ...a little to fast.
He also stated that the pain could be perminate and that I may need to have some epidural and or fasett injections in the future.
Although I can not say that I wish I never had the fusion, leg pain has deminished greatly and numbness in leg and foot have been gone sine the first week. I will say that I expected more relief than I have so far and was under the impression that I would have had a faster recover than I am currently going thru.
There are times that I still have pain levels 7+ but when medicated and resting ...normally at a 4 or so which beats the 6-7 before the surgery but I'd love to remeer what a 0 or 1 feels like.


Thanks Richard for the response. Agree, probably a bit too early to start thinking FBS. That's good news i would think. Don't force the PT. I have talked to people that just could not stand the boredom associated with the recovery, and wanted to start PT or get back to work. What I have seen is that by rushing, most have caused secondary injury, or damaged the fusion process. Agree, everyboy is different. Another concern I have is that I am a smoker. I am well aware of the impact that smoking can have on fusion & recovery. Even if you did have a fusion with the artificial bone growth instead of actual bone graft. Just another reason for my reluctance. All I can say is hang in there. Take the time. Likely, when I have to finally give in & have the fusion, given my smoking and general health due to my issues, I expect that I will not have the ability to do much of anything for the first 8 weeks as I am told by my current surgeon. Please keep me posted on your recovery. I wish all the best. My surgey is next Thursday on May 13th for the stim implant. It is actually a small laminectomy procedure, so I plan to be laid up for about 2 weeks just from that. Feel free to follow my post on that one. Might be something for you to consider if you do have a significant return to your pro-operative pain. All my best. Regards,



Back to the Pain Management Dr this morning. FBS isnt even a thought ..to early to tell. He did however increase my morphine and nurontin. Not real happy about the med increase exspecialy the morphine but as my pain increases I know it is probably nessasary.
He also feels that I will have to have Facett injections and or a epidural injection in the near future. I honestly thought the point of the fusion was to fix this....seems alot more complicated than I ever imagined.
I will try and keep my head held high but getting more and more easy to hang my head low in disapointment.


Richard how are you doing now? I had a lumbar fusion July 22. I am still not doing well. Starting to be able to walk more now. My physical therapist is making me do a lot of exercises now. Still in more pain than presurgery.


I really wish I had great tings to say but I'm still in "Healing Limbo" acording to my pain mgt Dr. As for PT my neurosergon said it's not even an option untill I have positive fusion, which at 6 months was suspected but not confirmed. I will say that I am happy that the surgery gave me feeling back in my leg but since the lumbar pain and siatic boltz of lightning still affect my evey day.
Since my 6 month they have done a series of facet blocks and just had another lumbar epidural inj... I believe the Drs want to do another set of facet blocks( they helped a lil, but not for long). After that I will be re-evaluated and the possability of more surgery (PLIF w/spacers and clamps)
I wish you the best of luck with your surgery, not to get you down because so many ppl benifit from back sergery...I guess just not me.