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Old 06-10-2003, 04:10 PM   #1
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tophatter HB User
Post Recovery Time for PLIF Fusion surgery Please Read & Help

Hi, I'm contemplating Posterior Lumbar interbody Fusion on L4-5/5 S`1 vs. Anterior technique using screws ,rods etc.The neuro told me he does both but the anterior procedure needs 2 operations,one from the back to insert the pedicle screws and 1 from the front to insert the bone graft.The PLIF procedure that he does will not have instumentation installed and I will have to wear a brace for A year but the scar is only 3".He told me the other procedure gives a quick recovery but again 2 operations.
Can anybody give me an idea about the recovery ,how long will I be bedridden?How long before I can take walks?Are you able to bend? Any info would be helpful because I want to make a decision and schedule for the end of the summer. Please Help.. Thanks,Tophatter

 
Old 06-10-2003, 04:21 PM   #2
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JanieD HB User
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Hey, I don't know if this will help you, but I just had a L4/5 non-invasive fusion, they went in through the front and did whatever they did and then flipped me over and inserted a cage, rods and screws all in one surgery.

I didn't have to wear a big brace, I am 3 weeks Post OP and I have a soft support brace to wear, but it still hurts the incisions, so I don't wear it yet, they didn't tell me how long I will have to wear it

I am pretty much bedridden, just know I can sit for a little while and I try to walk around the house. I have a cane and a walker.

I start PT in another 5 weeks and if I am able to return to some type of employment the doctor said at least 7-8 months. I was in management, but they dismissed me, due to the fact I was out with back trouble.

Good Luck with your decision, I hope this helps alittle bit. Jane

 
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Old 06-10-2003, 04:25 PM   #3
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tophatter HB User
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Hi, Thanks for your reply.I hope that your recovery is a quick one.I am very nervous about not being able to work after this surgery.Are you able to sleep at night?
How is it getting out of bed?
What drove you to get Fusion surgery.I don't want to sound like a pest but the psycological impact on this decision is overwelming and I want to make sure I'm making the right decision.
Thanks Again, Tophatter

 
Old 06-10-2003, 05:36 PM   #4
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ReneeRAF HB User
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Hi. I had 360 posterior Lumbar Fusion at L4-l5-S1 with 2 cages, rods and screws, but he only went in through the back (which is a longer surgery), On May 1, and I am able to move freely now. I have days where I am in a lot of pain and feel like they are set backs, but the next day I am mobile again. I was in the hospital 5 days and felt like I had been run over by a truck for 3 and 1/2 weeks. After that I started to feel better. I started walking in my house and then down the street and now am able to walk about 3/4 of a mile.

Make sure you are prepared mentally and physically for whatever you decide. It is a very long recovery. I also have a soft brace and have to wear it for 6-8 weeks. I am a paralegal and my MD said I could return to work at 6 weeks if I am feeling up to it.

What did you doctor recommend?? I am not too familiar with fusion without rods and screws! I thought they didn't do that anymore??? It was my understanding that the rods and screws are what hold up the back while the disc is fusing!!

If you have anymore questions, please ask away.
Good luck in whatever you do.
Renee

 
Old 06-10-2003, 05:57 PM   #5
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tophatter HB User
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Hi Renee, The PLIF without hardware has a 3" scar which is not bad,he does it microscopicaly.I would have to wear a brace for at least a year that way.I want to wait for the artificial discs but I don't think I can hang in there that long.Decisions,decisions.

Thanks, tophatter

 
Old 06-10-2003, 06:01 PM   #6
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Steve K HB User
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If I were you, I would seriously look into artificial disc replacement instead of fusion. ADR is a much better option with a much shorter recovery and you do not lose motion.

------------------
L5/S1 Discectomy/laminectomy 7/5/01 TBI
L5/S1 Prodisc ADR 5/29/03 TBI

 
Old 06-10-2003, 06:11 PM   #7
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tophatter HB User
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Steve K, Were you part of a study?I called because they're doing a study in NYC and they told me that I would not know if I was getting the artificial or fusion.It was a blind study.Do you know when it will be available if all goes well with the study?How are your results?

Thanks,Tophatter

 
Old 06-10-2003, 06:35 PM   #8
I'M ONLY 18 !!!!!!
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G'day Tophatter!
im contemplating the same surgery as you Posterior Lumbar interbody Fusion on L4-5/5 S`1. but im having screws and rods put in too. when are you thinking of having your surgery? im prob having mine in january cos im in the middle of the school year, thats if i do do it, its such a big step and i dont knwo whether to go ahead or not... im not handling the whole thing very well at the moment and am nopt sleeping becasue of it.

please let me know which option you choose, and how you go. thanks


------------------
* Injured back 12/12/01 at work lifting BBQ's and outdoor furniture.
*Couldnt walk for two weeks
* Went to P/T twice a week
* Went to a rehab hospital twice a week
*Both gave me no relief for 15 months
* Ortho diagnosed me with
- DDD
- Scheuermann's Disease
- Bulging disc at L5-S1
sent me to see Neuro
* Neuro wants to perform Laminectomy,Discectomy,L5-S1 and fusion with Hardawre.
I'm very scared and unsure whether to go ahead all up ive seen 5 surgeons who all agree with the surgery.

 
Old 06-11-2003, 08:11 AM   #9
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JanieD HB User
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Hey, I was to be part of the study/ where you wake up not knowing whether or not you had the fusion or the disk replacement, but after a bone scan , my facet joints were weak and that eliminated me, so thats how I went for the fusion, I think it was a good choice, I can't wait to be able to walk 3/4 mile.

Sleeping at night is horrible, though and they gave me ambien, but today my stomache is on fire, of course right below in the incision, so I can't win there, but good luck.. if you go to spine universe.com, look up your options, they may help Jane

 
Old 06-11-2003, 08:15 AM   #10
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Tophatter.


I agree that ADR disc replacement is the way to go if you are a candidate. My information is that they are only doing it on single level right now in CA and that it maybe a couple of year before it is approved by the FDA and then some time to do double and triple level.

Wearing a brace for a whole year is a big deal. I am done with mine already and it has only been 6 weeks.

Once you have done all of the research you will know which is the better way for you to go.

One question you should ask your doctor is what his and the national success rate with both types of surgery? I guess the brace takes the place of the cages, rods and screws for the first year. Will you have to sleep with the brace on???? I don't sleep with my brace on and I would imagine getting much sleep with it on?

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
Renee

[This message has been edited by ReneeRAF (edited 06-11-2003).]

 
Old 06-11-2003, 06:05 PM   #11
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tophatter HB User
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Hi, I'm planning on my surgery if all goes well at the end of the summer.To I'm only 18,I know what your going through and I can imagine it must be even harder when you're 18.The only good thing is that you are young and probably will bounce back quick.I have to ask the doc if I have to sleep with a brace,I don't think I can handle that.The 2 people I know who had this surgery from the doc I saw are doing fine but it was a rough road for the first few months.I'm just worried about the bedridden thing,I'm active and will go crazy not being able to walk or much of anything else for that matter.The doc said it would be an overnight stay if I had the op without hardware and 3-4 days if I did.Feel beeter all and we'll all get through these rough times.
Tophatter

 
Old 06-14-2003, 10:00 AM   #12
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Mickey in Orlando HB User
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Dear Tophatter,

In December 2000, I had LAIF (lumbar Anterior Interbody Fusion)on L5-S1 (one small screw in between vertabrae). I had one incision in my stomach about 3 inches long (vertical, below bikini line), and another incision in my left hip to harvest bone from my iliac crest. I was in the hospital for 4 days, and home from work recovering for 6 weeks. I am an office manager. I was able to start walking (more than just to the bathroom) about 2 days after I came home from the hospital. I wore an Ortholign brace anytime I was not laying down flat. After learning how to push myself into a sitting position (at the hospital with the therapist) from laying down, it wasn't difficult to do. In total, I wore the ortholign brace for about 5 months, then I graduated into a smaller brace called a corset, which I could wear under my clothes unoticibly. My surgeon and I decided to go through the stomach, because of the reduced recovery time. My fusion failed. The bone grew around the front area, but not at all to the back for stability. I tried living with it.... and two and a half years later, and after many discussions with a new doctor.... we decided to attempt a posterior lumbar fusion with fixation instrumentation. So this time.... one June 4th, 2003, I had surgery through the back (2 four inch incisions one either side of my spine), to place 4 pedicle screws, and a mixture of bone (from my iliac crest), and red blood cells (harvested from my own blood). Note, that the harvest of the bone from my hip was taken from one of my incisions, and not an additional surgery site. HUGE DIFFERENCE !!!

So now, I am 10 days post surgery. I am wearing a new brace identical to the ortholine I wore immediately following the first surgery. I was in the hospital for 4 days, have been taking small walks since the day after I got home. Each day, my walking distance increases. I take 4-5 walks outside every day. My estimated recovery time before I can return to work is 6-8 weeks, depending on how I feel.

I remember getting to a sitting position, wearing the brace, and walking were all easier with the first surgery I had through the stomach, but the success rate of the fusion is decreased when performed anteriorly. I would recommend at your age (I am 28 years old) to go ahead and do the posterior approach first. I believe that if I had selected that method first, that I would have fully fused already. I was just attracted by the quicker recover time that came with the anterior approach... and the recovery time immediately following the surgery was definately easier the first time, but I'm hoping this will work better.

Anyway, sorry to ramble, but when I read your post... I said wow..... I've done it both ways... maybe I can shed some light for you.

If I can answer any other questions for you, please don't hesitate to ask. My email is mgravois@mail.ucf.edu

Good luck!

Mickey

[This message has been edited by Mickey in Orlando (edited 06-14-2003).]

 
Old 06-14-2003, 01:32 PM   #13
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go*big*red HB User
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Hey, Tophatter!

My, you have alot of info to mull around, huh?

I had my single level (L5/S1) PLIF on March 5. I have 2 rods, 4 screws and 2 cages stuffed with bone "mush" in the disc space to help with the fusion. He did a laminectomy at the same time and used that bone so there wasn't a second incision for harvesting. My one incision is about 3" long.

I wonder why no hardware? I haven't had to wear a brace and have had a relatively easy time of it. Off pain meds day after surgery and back to work the day after I got out of the hospital (stay was 5 days)

I'd like to know why no hardware.

You'll make the right decision



------------------
gbr

JDD
2 Discograms
4 Level failed IDET
4 Confirmed torn lumbar discs, 2 full thickness
Issues now with c-spine & thoracic
Fusion of L5/S1 scheduled 3/5/03
Fusion successful - feeling better all the time
__________________
PLIF 3/03
2 level ACDF 10/03
Redo 10/04 & hdwr remove L5/S1
10/10/06 PLIF L4/5, Dynesys L3/4

 
Old 06-14-2003, 02:14 PM   #14
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aroberts HB User
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go*big*red
I was wondering what kind of job you have. Sure seems strange a doctor would allow you to go back to work after only 6 days post surgery. Anyway,, congrads
Hope we all are that fortunate

 
Old 06-14-2003, 05:51 PM   #15
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Mickey in Orlando HB User
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I also would be very interested to find out what you do for a living, and also how old you are. I'm 10 days post surgery, and I think I'm doing very well. I walked about a 1/2 mile earlier today, drove my son to the store to buy gifts for his dad, made dinner, and a load of laundry. Of course, I had to rest on ice in between all of my activities, but I can't imagine being back at work yet.

Let's be realistic here when giving advice to someone who is 18 years old and is considering something so important.

Mickey

 
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