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Old 02-23-2004, 08:33 AM   #1
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MollieR HB User
I'm new! 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

I am 5 wks post op of spinal fusion L4, L5 and S1 and bone graft. They took the graft from my right pelvis and mashed it around the fusion site and now waiting for bone to harden. I got 3 screws. I got 3 opinions before operation and decided on an ortho doc that was "talented" with his hands. I am a physician's wife so figured he would want a success with me. I'm 56 and 5"4" and 240 lbs. Being obese and having the surgery puts a whole new spin on it. I had spinal injections for years by several docs, some worked for a while, but most nothing. I did back strengthing exercises, physical therapy, you name it, I did it. How did my back get in this shape?? Probably just degeneration but also I did medical care for my elderly mother for years and lifting her and loading her wheelchair in and out of the car trunk probably didn't help. I jerked lots of things with my back from potting soil to carrying 4 kids. I kept thinking that if I lost weight my back would suddenly be healed, well that didn't happen. I gained most of the weight during my mother's illness, only child and cared for her in my home, I just "ate" my way through the saddness. She passed on last spring. I saw the ortho doc at Thanksgiving and he said that nothing more to do until I made up my mind about surgery. I barely got through Christmas and in January knew I was at the end of my rope. I had "Spondylolisthesis" or slippage of the vertebra back to front and pinching the nerves. Severe pain ran down my right leg, especially hip pain, I could hardly walk as the pain was so bad. How am I now??? No more leg pain thank goodness, they say I am doing terrific. I have had a numbness/tingling left foot after surgery and now that is almost all gone except for a couple of toes. My back is sore now but I wouldn't call it pain. Incision looks perfect. I wear everyday except when asleep a large metal and leather back brace and have electrodes on the area near the vertebra where the bone graft was put, it is supposed to help grow new bone quicker and had rave reviews. I can't drive yet, no lifting, bending, etc. I use a cane when go to the store. Mostly it is a mental game now, tired of being laid up, want to get on with life, etc. Doc said no treadmill until after 3 months but walk around in the house and outside some. Let me know if I can help anyone.

Last edited by MollieR; 02-23-2004 at 09:29 AM.

 
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Old 02-23-2004, 05:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,339
MarianJ HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

[COLOR=Navy][CENTER][B]Hello MollieR [/B] [/CENTER]
[INDENT]Welcome to the Healthboards for Back Problems. It sounds as if your recovery is coming along successfully. You must have been thrilled to know longer suffer with that leg pain, sciatica.... I haven't heard of a brace such as yours. I myself wore the TLSO brace, but haven't heard of a leather one. I also wore a bone growth stimulator 24/7 for the first 4 months of my recovery. As you said, this was to help the fusion take at a faster rate. I will keep you in my prayer's for a continued successful recovery and again welcome to the boards.[/INDENT]
[CENTER][B] Jeanne [/B] [/CENTER] [/COLOR]

[COLOR=RoyalBlue]~~~~~~~~~~~~
~LUMBAR SURGERY~
June 30, 2003
[B]Procedures:[/B]
Bilateral L4-L5-S1 Laminectomies.
Left L4-L5 Discectomy.
Left L5-S1 Discectomy.
Left L4-L5 translaminar posterior interbody fusion using allograft & bone morphogenic protein. (BMP)
Bilateral posterolateral arthrodesis L4-L5-S1 using pedicle screw instrumentation & spinous process bone graft.
Intraoperative pedicle screw stimulation.
[B]Instrumentation:[/B]
Rods - 2
Disc Spacers - 2
Screws:
4 - 6.5x 40mm
1 - 6.25 x 40mm
1 - 6.25 x 35mm
[B]Final Diagnosis:[/B]
L4-L5, L5-S1 Degenerative Disc Disease. (DDD)
Spinal Instability.[/COLOR]

 
Old 02-24-2004, 05:30 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 39
MollieR HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

I have felt terrible the last couple of weeks in my stomach/bowels. I am bloated, pain in the middle right under breastbone. I went to GI doc today and he was worried about an obstruction (especially with all the painkillers) and I had my gallbladder out 20 yrs ago. He sent me home with Flagyl, Quarzan (Clidinium), pepto bismol tabs, Nexium and did blood tests, ultrasound and examined me. He thinks there is no obstruction just a very sore stomach/bowels. Anyone else have this problem after surgery? Also my legs and feet just ache and drives me nuts. Last nite the GI doc had me take Milk of Mag, glycerin supp. and that awful green bottle of Mag. Citrate. I laid on the bathroom floor all nite, getting up and down off the stool, bending to clean up, what a strain on my back. Almost nothing came out except brown water but I haven't eaten much for a couple of days because of the pain. Please tell me I'll get better, please let me just wake up one morning pain free.

 
Old 02-27-2004, 11:34 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 39
MollieR HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

I am dying to start walking on the treadmill, but doc says wait 3 months. When did you all use the treadmill? I have a recumbant bike, what about that? I have some rubberbands that I used also for exercise, when did any of you get back into a "normal" exercise routine after surgery? How about Yoga or Pilates?

 
Old 02-28-2004, 05:48 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: southern, Maine
Posts: 126
hawks066 HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

Mollie bending at 6 weeks post op from spinal fusion can't be good for you! Be careful.

 
Old 07-25-2010, 10:02 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sharon,pa
Posts: 3
twindragons HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

Hi all, im 44yr old male, professional firefighter, i had pain in my right leg and an MRI found herniated disc,so i had an L4/5 microdischechtomy in 2005, then had pain in my left leg, again MRI found herniated disc, had microdischechtomy on L5/S1 in 2006.Both were due to work injuries while on my job(pulled a lady from a car accident in 05, and was lifting large diameter hose roll in 06) then was fine, i lost weight started biking 20-30 miles 3-4 days a week an lifting weights. did well at work etc.. then in november of 2009 i started having pain in my rt leg an hip,an then 3 days later my leg went numb from hip to ankle. they did MRI an found i ruptured the disc so bad that it went out into the canal an then up like an "L" shape,so he did a laminectomy on L4/5, cleaned out scar tissue etc. i did PT an such till end of may, then i went back to work, i was back 3 wks an started havin pain in my left buttock an hamstring area. they put my on light duty an an MRI found herniated L5/S1. surgeon says hes fusing me now. being that ive injured both disc 2x each he said i have degenerative dics an i need to have my lower back stabilized. ive gone thru 3 sugeries all pretty well, i have a fairly high pain tolerance, only takin pain meds like 2-3 days after each sugery. but for some reason this upcoming fusion, scares me to death. Im scheduled to got to surgery july 29th. i havent been able to ask the surgeon all the questions swimming thru my head. so.. id like to know from all whove had it,(i think hes doin an L4/L5/S1 fusion) how long is the surgery itself? what do they actually do? how longs the hospital stay? how much pain were you in? what were you not allowed to do when home? how long before you can move without much pain,or go to bathroom? how long before you can drive? or go back to work? most importantly...how much does it restrict your mobility? this i need to know,being as this could end my career.

 
Old 07-28-2010, 11:23 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 10
Ruth9901 HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

Hi Twindragons - I've joined this forum especially to reply to your post.

I am a 35 year old female who has had back problems for around 10 years. My husband is military and lost his leg in Afghanistan 3 years ago - due to being his full time carer my back deteriorated very quickly. I did all of the conservative treatment available to me - physio, osteo, chiro etc. I eventually realised that in order to get my quality of life back I would need surgery.

My consultant took one look at my MRI and recommended a fusion due to lumbar spondylosis and spondilolisthesis. I have permanent nerve damage down my right leg which has resulted in numbness. The pain in my legs, hips and back was at times excruciating.

I am now 3 weeks post op from having L5/S1 decompression and removal of posterior neural arch, decompression L5 and S1 nerve roots. Posterolateral fusion with pedicle screws at L5 and S1 and PLIF cages at L5/S1.

Like you I was absolutely terrified of having the surgery - the most serious surgery I had previously had was the removal of my wisdom teeth! I spoke with my consultant and after admission into the hospital also with the anesthetist regarding my fears. They were fantastic and put my mind at ease.

I requested a pre-med before the surgery which helped calm me down. The surgery lasted for 6 hours and when I came around I was hooked up to the pain pump. I requested not to have a foley catheter and was able to use a bed pan straight away. I was going to the bathroom on crutches the next day. I had my pain pump removed the next day after not using it at all! The only medication I took was the same as what I was taking prior to the surgery. The pain relief is immediate after the surgery. I have no pain in my legs at all. In fact the only pain I have experienced has been the surgery pain. I had no bone graft and if possible make sure you go with donor bone or genex putty (which is what I believe I have had put in). Apparently the site of the graft causes a great deal of pain.

My incision is about 6 inches long down the centre of my spine - the itching has driven me crazy at times. I have a wound assessment tomorrow where they are going to remove the steristrips - all of the sutures are internal and dissolve over time - I must admit to feeling the tightness of them but I do know that this is only temporary.

I am moving around quite easily now with crutches and I have to wear a corset during the day. I walk daily which helps the fusion. No bending, lifting or twisting for 6 weeks which is very frustrating. My husband brought me a grabber which has been a life saver. I am now helping to fix meals with my husband and have been to the store a few times. I don't have the confidence to leave the house on my own yet and I find I get tired very easily. I only take pain meds at night now and that is more to help me sleep. Occasionally I do too much during the day and have to take something but overall I'm far better now than I was before the surgery.

I was in the hospital for 5 days. My consultant has advised that I can drive after 4 weeks and travel after 6 weeks although I would check that with your consultant. As regards work as you are in a highly active role it may be as much as six months before you are fully fit again - it can actually take up to two years for full fusion. If there is a sedentary role you can do at work temporarily then you could possibly be back to work after about 6 weeks - again it is up to the individual. You really need to check with your consultant.

There is still a long way to go but each day gets better. I understand your fear as I was the same but trust me when I say you are doing the right thing. I have heard so many horror stories about surgeries however I was lucky to have an excellent surgeon and I also have a very high pain threshold. Each person is different but I am sure all of us on here would admit to being scared at some point.

Good luck with your surgery,
Ruth

Last edited by Ruth9901; 07-28-2010 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Adding more information

 
The Following User Says Thank You to Ruth9901 For This Useful Post:
ArielM (04-27-2012)
Old 07-28-2010, 02:27 PM   #8
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Sharon,pa
Posts: 3
twindragons HB User
Re: 5 Weeks post op spinal fusion L4, L5, S1 & bone graft

[QUOTE=Ruth9901;4296331]Hi Twindragons - I've joined this forum especially to reply to your post.

I am a 35 year old female who has had back problems for around 10 years. My husband is military and lost his leg in Afghanistan 3 years ago - due to being his full time carer my back deteriorated very quickly. I did all of the conservative treatment available to me - physio, osteo, chiro etc. I eventually realised that in order to get my quality of life back I would need surgery.

My consultant took one look at my MRI and recommended a fusion due to lumbar spondylosis and spondilolisthesis. I have permanent nerve damage down my right leg which has resulted in numbness. The pain in my legs, hips and back was at times excruciating.

I am now 3 weeks post op from having L5/S1 decompression and removal of posterior neural arch, decompression L5 and S1 nerve roots. Posterolateral fusion with pedicle screws at L5 and S1 and PLIF cages at L5/S1.

Like you I was absolutely terrified of having the surgery - the most serious surgery I had previously had was the removal of my wisdom teeth! I spoke with my consultant and after admission into the hospital also with the anesthetist regarding my fears. They were fantastic and put my mind at ease.

I requested a pre-med before the surgery which helped calm me down. The surgery lasted for 6 hours and when I came around I was hooked up to the pain pump. I requested not to have a foley catheter and was able to use a bed pan straight away. I was going to the bathroom on crutches the next day. I had my pain pump removed the next day after not using it at all! The only medication I took was the same as what I was taking prior to the surgery. The pain relief is immediate after the surgery. I have no pain in my legs at all. In fact the only pain I have experienced has been the surgery pain. I had no bone graft and if possible make sure you go with donor bone or genex putty (which is what I believe I have had put in). Apparently the site of the graft causes a great deal of pain.

My incision is about 6 inches long down the centre of my spine - the itching has driven me crazy at times. I have a wound assessment tomorrow where they are going to remove the steristrips - all of the sutures are internal and dissolve over time - I must admit to feeling the tightness of them but I do know that this is only temporary.

I am moving around quite easily now with crutches and I have to wear a corset during the day. I walk daily which helps the fusion. No bending, lifting or twisting for 6 weeks which is very frustrating. My husband brought me a grabber which has been a life saver. I am now helping to fix meals with my husband and have been to the store a few times. I don't have the confidence to leave the house on my own yet and I find I get tired very easily. I only take pain meds at night now and that is more to help me sleep. Occasionally I do too much during the day and have to take something but overall I'm far better now than I was before the surgery.

I was in the hospital for 5 days. My consultant has advised that I can drive after 4 weeks and travel after 6 weeks although I would check that with your consultant. As regards work as you are in a highly active role it may be as much as six months before you are fully fit again - it can actually take up to two years for full fusion. If there is a sedentary role you can do at work temporarily then you could possibly be back to work after about 6 weeks - again it is up to the individual. You really need to check with your consultant.

There is still a long way to go but each day gets better. I understand your fear as I was the same but trust me when I say you are doing the right thing. I have heard so many horror stories about surgeries however I was lucky to have an excellent surgeon and I also have a very high pain threshold. Each person is different but I am sure all of us on here would admit to being scared at some point.

Good luck with your surgery,
Ruth[/QUOTE]


Ruth,
I thank you for your response, and i greatly appreciate it. GBU and may you have continued success with your recovery.

 
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