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What can I expect when recovering from T10-S1 fusion?

Started by lovestoswim on 02/09/2020 10:53am

I am a 64 year old active female. I live in central Florida. I have been avoiding surgery for at least 6 years. I have degenerative scoliosis, severe multi level spinal stenosis, spondylisthesis, etc.

I love to swim and feel pretty good in the pool doing laps but am in agony for quite a while after I get out. I hate not being able to walk for more than a few minutes.

I am getting to the point when after walking a few minutes, my left leg gets somewhat numb. It is definitely weaker than the right leg. I have bad sciatica on the right with right foot tingling sometimes. I do not want to risk permanent damage.

I am starting to consult surgeons. It looks like T10 through S1 fusion would be the plan.

Can anyone share their surgical experience, their recovery experience and timelines?

Pain? Limitations short and long term? What is the best flexibility and mobility I can expect?

I still travel for work several weeks a month-with flights and luggage. Any chance I could return to that?

I have already gotten some good info from this group, so thank you. I would love to hear any and all thoughts.

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2 Responses


Hello, let me start off by saying it’s a tough decision to make, I had several opinions & they all led me to the same place. I recently had a spinal fusion on September 10th 2019 T-2 -T-11. I am a 52 year old woman with a history of osteoporosis starting at a very young age, sudden ovarian death @29 & was never told about the possibility of bone loss.. well it happened when I was 45 & my t score was -3.80 very bad, but I never knew I had it & just took fosamax & then reclast infusion with no benefit.. One morning getting ready for work I fell down my stairs 9 steps to be exact & broke my back T-9 & that’s when my pain was so bad & osteoporosis & kyphosis showed itself. I had a kyphoplasty with no relief, multiple injections & plenty of naproxen. I had to take it daily for 3 years, the first year breaking my back was the worst with pain.. I started on a new drug Forteo injections daily, I’m finally finished with it at the end of March 2 years on it & no significant bone growth.. Finally my Dr said it’s time , but I sought out other options & decided to do Botox for pain June 2019 , that resulted in a pneumothorax a collapsed lung & that’s when I said that’s enough, surgery was my option . It was scheduled & couldn’t wait for the chance to be out of pain. The recovery from that surgery was brutal, I ended up getting shingles in the hospital while recovering & stayed for 2 weeks. I went home finally & being home for 1 week things were looking good, pt was at my home working with me . Then one afternoon I got off the toilet & felt extreme pain in my lower back. Well I had to be taken out by ambulance & back to the hospital, X-rays showed I fractured my back again T-12 , so disappointed, I needed to have my surgery done all over again to extend the fusion to my lumbar spine I am fused from T-2 -L-3 .. not a fun surgery almost 1 month in the hospital total, the recovery was brutal, I hate to tell you this but it’s the truth & don’t let someone tell you any different, pain is pain & this particular pain is brutal. I was saying for months I wished I never did it , because of the recovery. But almost 6 months out I’m glad I did, the pain I originally had is gone!! But I’m left with new pain, terrible nerve pain in my thoracic area & they said it might be permanent, to soon to tell. I can’t bend twist or lift for another 6 months, so it takes at least a year to recover. I really don’t think I’ll ever be the same person I was before the surgery, I can’t turn my body anymore & it’s weird, but you acclimate to it. I wish you luck if you decide to have the surgery.. I had my surgery done at one of the best hospital in Boston


6 months ago, I had S3-T10 done.

Biggest regret of my life.

I would rather have walked around with a trainwreck spine than deal with the nightmare surgery left me. I am a 45 yo male, and a long time gym enthusiast/bodybuilder - so my weight of 275 at 6'3" is muscle, not fat. 23 hours after my initial fusion while lying in the hospital bed, a pedicle screw broke in half. within hours the AFB hospital opened me up again for an emergency "repair" surgery. I went from 12 pieces of titanium to 36. That was September 2019. Now 6 months later, I have 4 more broken screws in my spine and the rods have come loose at the bottom. That means every time I move, the rods slide around and I can feel it like someone is ripping my flesh off. Now, no surgeon will touch this mess while I try and figure out what to do. The only medical advice I've been given is "deal with it." The surgery also caused very painful RSD in my left foot....which is un-curable nerve damage. Maybe my fiasco is extreme, but you should be aware.