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L4-L5 Lumbar Fusion with instrumentation

Started by MikeMath on 02/20/2011 2:14pm

Hello Everyone,
I am I guess looking for some positive enforcement on my decision to have Surgery which is schedule for February 23, 2011. The pain in my leg and hip is so bad on a scale of 1-10 at times it hits like a 12!!! The back in my lower back is not bad, i have lived with that for year, I have a degenerated disc, a fractured vertabre, and spondyloisthesis to go with all that. I am just hoping I am making the right decision!! I am 37 years old, with 3 great kids, ages 11, 9, and my little princess who is 3!! I will be honest, i am scared, i read most of these posting but try to only hang on to the positive ones!!! I wish they all were positive!!! The hardest thing for me to grasp is the recovery time, I own my own landscaping company where i enjoyed doing 50 percent of the work, but i know that aint happening for awhile, so supervising from my truck will be the new thing for me!!!

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I had my surgery on may 5th, 2010. I am 9 months recovered. I had searing pain in my back all the way down to my toes. The worst part was being in the hospital and having to get up 24 hours after surgery. If you want to be comfortable while wearing the brace wear a tank top underneath it. Make sure to wear the brace and try to take it easy. For me it was worth it. Good luck.

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MikeMath,
I understand where your at or going. I was 18 yrs. old when I found out I could get a Union job because I had a Class C back. Those days that's how they classified things. I always had back pain all my life but just bucked up and used massagers, back rubs, and back rub medication like iCY HOT. Well, eight years ago my back caught up to me. I was diagnosed with Spondyloisthesis in the lower back. I tried a wide variety of injections, therapy and nothing worked. I ended up getting a L4 / L5 Surgery. It was the worst pain I ever had. The recovery was out of this world. I didn't have a lot of support after the surgery during the day because my wife had to work full time. I did have a therapist see me for a couple of weeks to keep me moving. That helped a lot. After the surgery and therapist I had a few more weeks off work. I was off a total of 7 weeks. Then it took me about 3 more week before I was back on track. So my advice is that the surgery do work but remember it changes your life forever. I no longer can run like I did. You have to be careful about falling on your butt bone because you could jar the plate in your back and that would be the last thing you want. The plate or screws that hold the plate could hit your spine and change your forever. With all that being said I developed nerve damage on both sides of my surgery. I have had about 10 denervation surgeries with no success. I am on a Norco every 6 hours. It's really not enough for the pain but I do not want to become addicted to pain medication like others. Wish you luck. Just have everything in place prior to surgery.

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Surgery is a serious decision, but can be one that will improve your quality of life over the long run. I had my Spinal Fusion, diskectomy, etc… nearly 16 years ago and today I am much better, but still experience pain. Surgery can prevent the condition from getting worse and I do hope that yours was successful, but it may not cure all of the pain. Immediately after surgery the pain was horrible since I had a bone graft from my hip and honestly the hip pain was the worst part, but it too got better with each passing day. Getting out of bed with the Physical Therapist was extremely hard and it takes great courage to make yourself walk when you are in pain. For me the medication was ok, but it didn’t completely numb me like I had thought it would. Believe me when I say I had enough morphine to kill an elephant, but even that was not enough. Anyhow after about five days in the hospital I was released and doing well enough to go home. Make sure when you get home that you are following your doctor’s orders 200% and do not lift anything including your three year old little angle. Make sure you give your body time to recover since this is a major change to your spinal structure. Once you’ve healed you will start feeling better; I have good days and bad ones still, but the good days often outnumber the bad. I do need follow up treatment from time to time and what I’ve found to be the best thing for me is Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy and anti inflammatory medication. Try if you can not to use Major pain killers as they are highly addictive and have horrible side effects including things such as brain damage. Being a mother you do not want to go down that road believe me! Speak to your doctor regarding post op care and make sure you are getting the rest that your body needs. Best of luck to you and I hope that you have a speedy recovery.

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I have had this surgery and I am now 8 months post op. I was told that it would be a year before I would feel better. I still do physical therapy but now just at home. I am taking one low dose pain pill a day. If I push it I then have the pain.

My advice for you is to do your homework when picking out your doctor. Learn all you can about the doctor, the operation itself, and the hospital. There are many new procedures so you may want to do enough research and make sure your doctor knows about PLIF and XLIF, and minimally invasive operations.

The time you spend now on the computer during the research will benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. I know google has information on the two procedures I mentioned above. Don't ever think you are wasting time. Also visit Spine Patient Society. You will learn much about the procedures and the meds. Good luck.

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Hope all went well with your surgery! Sometimes we have to change our occupations due to our physical health. You will do just fine supervising from your truck. It takes a whole BIG turn around after having back surgery. Just remember Time is the key to healing.....I learned it the hard way after having 3 back surgerys!

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Hello Everyone,
I am one week to the day out of the hospital and doing Great at least i feel great and things are looking much better now. Day of surgery was rough, i stayed in Mertius Medical Center for 2 nights and came home on a Friday, was heavily medicated but was happy to be home. First PT appointment was this morning and things went good there, doing some lite leg exercises and ice packs with stimulation to help with the swelling. I have weaned myself off the hard narcotics and now am taken just 800mg Ibuprofen for pain and Flexeril 10mg for muscle spasms. Making many laps around the driveway but remembering to rest at 2 to 3 hours spots one in the morning and one in the afternoon, then just watching TV in the evening before bedtime. All in all i can say only being a week post op that i feel really good and hope things continue to go down this same path. I will keep you all posted on my recovery from time to time. Thanks for posting back
Mike

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Glad all went well. Are you wearing a back brace? If so make sure to wear it at all times except in bed. It will give you the stabilization that you need now. Also wear a tank top underneath for comfort. Make sure to take it easy and don't over do it. Rest and let your body heal.

Good luck to you and keep us posted on your progress.

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Good Luck with your recovery!!

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Well best of luck to you all. I am 8 years after surgery, I am 48 and have worn out my spinal bracing and have 2 broken screws. The sugreon is not considering another operation and I am left with bone grinding away in my back once again. On top of my usual Paxil for pain I have been taking about 1200mg of ibuprofin a day to make it through. I had a foremans job not much active work and things were not too bad. I have recently been sent back to the floor to do a regular mechanic job and found I can no longer do it. I await many decisions from the company- if they have a job I can do, the doctors- for them to hash out what really should be done, disability to see if its their responsibility and compensation to decide if they have a responsibility? Great! I had to claim bankruptcy this spring and it looks even more bleak for the future. It cost me my marraige, my wife did not want to take care of a disabled person. My children think I left them not their mother but they are coming around now. I will eventually have to live in an apartment as I can no longer find volunteers to help me do much of anything anymore and that includes family. Surprising how everyone flees your circle of friends once they may may have to be involved. And to think I did so much for everyone in my healthy days, my how things change. Im pretty much entirely alone now? Such is life I suppose!

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I hope you had the surgery,and are on the mend..it takes awhile. Being patient and listen to you MD.s instructions is important. If you have a MD, like my first one,who said I should go back to work after 2 months....do not listen to him. My !st surgery for laminectomy L3,4,5. Did not fuse well and I had to have the screws removed, leaving my back unstable for 5-6 months. Then I had my 3rd surgery in Oct.2010. I am still healing.Take it easy,and let your body heal,as you know how you feel better than any MD. can tell you.

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I am a 60 year old male that has a fall and injured neck and lower back. They found two bulges in lower back and arthritis in neck, back and r arm. I am in pain 7+ everyday and according to the type of work I do I can no longer do. A friend has said I should have fusion and not shots. What can a 60 year old with these kinds of restriction do? Fusion or not? Help.

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HI, I had this surgery about 20yr ago, best thing i ever did, recovery was not so pleasent, but do not regret it in anyway. I did my my metalware removed as the screws had come loose. Still suffer from pain but nothing major. i was young at the time 17 so that helped, I have now had a child very difficult and painfull in the last few months and for a few months after baby was born. Pain now on the increase but taht is due to a bit of weight gain which is easy fixed. I hear lots of not so good stories but for me I had to much to do and a so much in life to look forward too no back pain was going to hold me back. I take pain medication when I need too but mostly I am am fine. good luck and keep a postive attitude.

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I am in the same boat but I am 60 years and having trouble moving around to even do my job. Finding out all the issues because of a fall at work isn't easy to swallow. After finding out my lower spine, neck and rt arm is screwed up I have arthritis in those same areas. Now along with the arthritis I already know in my knees and hands. Do I really want my back fused? I hear good and bad on this issue and I like you, are scared and not sure what to do. I heard that the cord shots have a 50/50 chance of helping but many say don't get them. But what do you do if the workmans comp doctor says to have them? Any help from anyone.....

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Hello everyone. I have been reading your comments over and over, trying to decide what to do myself. Last November, I had a laminectomy and discectomy. Here it is five months later and I am in worse pain then before, The dr. said it was not successful. Now the pain starts in my groin, to my thigh and down my calf. I cannot walk and only fee good when I am in bed with a heating pad. I am 56 yrs old and have a teenage son and a very large dog. I take care of a house on my own as well and have not worked in many years due to other medical problems. Now my surgeon is telling me I need fusion surgery. I had an EMG the other day which was very painful and it showed my nerves are not damaged. The dr. has absolutely NO IDEA where my pain is coming from. On Monday, I am going for my second Myelogram which is another very painful procedure and then a CAT scan. I did a lot of research on my dr. My sister in law works at the hospital he is in and she found out that he is the top one to go to. He is also the Director of Neurological, Orthopedic Surgery. He even suggested I get another opinion outside of his group, before considering the surgery. Everyone says that is a sign of a good doctor. The reviews on his bio site, are so positive, it is like patients were talking about a God. He also interned at the Hospital for special surgery. My problem is, why didn't the first surgery work and am I in for a really rough time if I go ahead with the fusion. It is very depressing reading a lot of these stories where it did not work for so many people. I don't have a lot of people that could help me with recovery either, basically aside from a few good friends, I am alone. Is fusion the only answer or are there any other alternatives? Also, I was wondering if anyone tried accupuncture before having surgery and what were the results?
Thanks everyone!!!
Francine

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