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Posted in: Spondylolisthesis, and Surgery.

Surgery recovery (ALIF)

Started by amer on 09/17/2010 7:53am

My doctor has recommended that I have surgery. I have spondylolisthesis and he is recommending a ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion).
I was wondering what the recovery has been like for other people. I am young and should heal fast.

When can I take care of my self for the most part? like cooking small meals, going to the bathroom, bathing, getting in and out of bed and other small tasks?

I have a college roommate that I can have do some stuff for me, like taking out the trash and helping me shop. But I don't want to ask too much of her and am considering moving home for a little bit, but I don't want to be away from my doctor or switch doctors.

It is such a daunting decision and it is nice to see that other people have gone through this process.

Do you find this discussion helpful?

6 Responses


I am having the same questions,as I am scheduled for the same surgery Oct. 11,2010.I am looking for ant information I can get!!!Thanks.Keep thoughts positive!!!


Deb and Amer... go to of this page and click on community advice.... there are several conversations going on aboiut this surgery.. go to "I WANT SOME HOENST FEEDBACK " full of ecperecinces both pre op and post op.. I found it very helpful
best of luck to you both
OOO and the gilr in college,,,, ummm you are going to need more than a roomate who takes out garbage,, I think you had better plan on going home for a few weeks. 2 should be good, Just my opinion :)


Thanks I tried searching a little bit in the forums, but I will have another go at it.

My mom has volunteered to come stay with me for bit and take care of me, I am just trying to figure out how long I will need her to help me out. After she leaves I will have a few friends and family members help out with random things like laundry and shopping. I am also looking into having the church bring me food, I saw this suggestion in a forum here.


Hi amer,
I had the anterior and posterior fusion for L4-L5. The first thing I can tell you everyone is different and everyone's pain level is different. It also depends on how motivated you are. You can take care of yourself like going to bathroom and getting in and out of bed before you leave hospital. The doctor will want you walking the next day if possible.

Your restrictions are no bending, no twisting, no lifting, weight restriction of probably 5 pounds and no sitting longer than 20 mins a pop. (I personally did not adhere to last one as I had much work to do. So roommate will be great for trash duty and shopping. You can cook if you want, but you might find yourself in pain standing. The most important thing for you is to walk. I kept bugging my surgeon to let me exercise but it was so limiting and silly to have physical therapist come all the way out here so I could stand up out of there 10 times. I told the physical therapist don't bother. I can do that myself.
So the more you walk whether in your home or outside and the less reliance you have on pain meds the faster you will heal. But don't be a martyr. If you are in pain, take a pill. You will know much better about your progress after your 2 week visit. Definitely after 3 months you can exercise and will be encouraged to do so. I jumped right in, but found it wasn't the same. (I don't advise it!. Take your time). But I kept at it.
I am almost 10 mos post op and while the fusion looks real good in MRI and CT scan, I still have much pain and now I have S1 syndrome. I did get a disc bulge at L-3 but managed to exercise that away. I do have flexion problems and very tender but that is because I am quite thin so the screws and hardware creates a "pressure' feeling. They will need to be removed when completely healed which takes about a year.
I could basically take care of myself when I left hospital but I had nurse for 3 months mostly for taking care of my animals and to drive me. (driving or being passenger can be painful so if roommate can run errands that would be great!

Don't be afraid, just make sure you have excellent neurosurgeon who has lots of experience with your procedure. Best of luck and health to you and keep us upated on how you are doing.


I had ALIF surgery done Oct. 10th 2011,I had my sister with me for about 3 weeks after the surgery. I don't know what I would have done without her! I developed pneumonia,so needed nebulizer tx 4 times a day.I was on antibiotics,pain pills,Iron,stool softners,plus the neb treatments,so she made a chart out so I could remember when I needed to take my meds.
I was pretty much "out of it" for the first 2 -3weeks. I also developed C.diff( which causes diarreha) while in the hospital.So I had to get up frequently to use the bathroom.The only good thing about it was that it diffenitely got me up and out of bed.this was my 3rd post-op day!!
So if you havn't had the surgery yet...plan on going to your parents home to recover!!!! You will not regret it!!


It has been 4+ months since my ALIF surgery on the L4-5 area, the recovery has been long,wearing a body cast has been difficult,but I have good news!!! I actually feel like I am healing!!!Yipppee! For so many years I struggled with back pain. This being my 3rd surgery in 2 yrs. The only pain meds I take now is Tramatol,which seems to be keeping any pain in control. I lost my job as a RN,I don't know if I will be able to continue as a nurse. My Dr. says it is not unusual to were a brace for 6-12 months,so I will continue wearing it,until I see him in April.
The reason I have been able to heal,is that I wasn't forced back to work so quickly..as that is what happened with the 1st surgery.So.I continue to heal,folowing my Dr.orders. My life is pretty sedentary,I have learned to relax,and understand that GOD has a plan,and his will be done!