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Old 03-25-2005, 10:34 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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galpster HB User
Need Fusion Info

It looks liek I will be getting a lumbar fusion l5-s1 (thourgh the back) here in the next 3 months. My doctor is just waiting ot see my newest mri to decide if he should do two levels or one.

Can you all that have had this surgery tell me what to expect:

Pre op
Post Op
Stay in Hospital
Home Recovery
When I can return to work (work at a desk)

Any other advice you can give me to make this as successful as possible.

thanks a bunch!

 
Old 03-25-2005, 01:19 PM   #2
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galpster HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

Can Noone give me information? I have serached on the net and I know all the technical information but I would like some first hand experiences - please...

 
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Old 03-25-2005, 02:03 PM   #3
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bob c. HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

Hi galpster,
everybodys first hand experiences will differ slightly but i'm glad to give you my story.


as of now i'm about 7 months post-op 2 level lumbar fusion.

hospital stay was 3 nights, not fun lots of soreness, pain and drugs but is was what i expected.

home recovery was 3 months mostly in bed without any bending, twisting or lifting. again what i expected. i had no brace but many do, depends on your doc. started PT after only 2 weeks post-op. just light strecthing for months. also went for walks from the beginning. very short distances at first increasing to about 2 miles per day after about 2 months. every aspect of recovery is very very slow and you must not overdo anything ever!!.

i returned to work at 4 months which was about 1 month after i was told i was fully fused. at first i only worked 5-6 hours a day 3-4 days a week. back muscles were still very sore and stiff so i would go home and rest when pain started. for the past 1-2 months iv'e been working full time and can honestly say that the more active i am the better i feel and i have actually gone skiing once this winter.


again, everbodys stories will differ but one thing we should all recomend is that you get at least 2 more opinions from other docs and gather as much info as possible before you choose what to do

i hope i helped and good luck,

Bob C.

 
Old 03-25-2005, 03:19 PM   #4
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blossom64 HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

[QUOTE=galpster]It looks liek I will be getting a lumbar fusion l5-s1 (thourgh the back) here in the next 3 months. My doctor is just waiting ot see my newest mri to decide if he should do two levels or one.

Can you all that have had this surgery tell me what to expect:

Pre op
Post Op
Stay in Hospital
Home Recovery
When I can return to work (work at a desk)

Any other advice you can give me to make this as successful as possible.

thanks a bunch![/QUOTE]
Hello, I am just shy of 3 weeks post-surgery fusion 360 degree posterior L4-5. I wish I could paint you a nice picture, but it's hell. They took out my I.V. pain killer and catheter the second day, and I had to get out of bed, which took an act of congress! just to pee. I was hurting so bad they gave me an epidural on day 3, which I believe helped me till about week 2. Then all of a sudden I started having killer "lightning" spasms. My doctor prescribed soma and methylprednisone for me. I am barely starting to get better to where I can get out of bed and walk around for a few minutes. My husband cooks, cleans, does laundry and whatever else I need him to do.

I wouldn't plan on going back to work for at least 6-8 weeks, unless you are a rare person that doesn't suffer horrible pain and spasms. My doc told me not to bend, ride in a car, twist sideways, lift more than 2.5 lbs or anything else until my post-op apt. which won't be till 6 weeks post-op. More or less you will probably be flat on your back in bed. Even the slightest movement gives me horrible spasms sometimes.

My incision has healed over finally, and that isn't hurting now, it's just my sacrum causing pain on both sides.

My advice is to do absolutely "nothing" for the first 3 weeks except walk to and from the bathroom, or down your hallway. I was feeling good and started going out to grocery store etc, and think I over did it, causing the spasms to get so bad.

Don't be afraid to press the call button in the hospital. If you don't hound them for your pain meds or whatever you need, you will be laying there in agony. I had a couple nurses who really treated me like crap. On the first nite after surgery, my hubby went home to sleep, and the I.V. alarm went off like a siren right in my ears. I called the nurses twice, and 15 minutes later when they decided their coffee break was over, she came in and told me that I wasn't the only patient in the hospital!! I told the hospital manager and my doctor. They said her behaviour wasn't appropriate. After that, my husband stayed with me the next night, and I begged to go home at that point. If you have someone who can stay with you in the hospital, I highly recommend it. I had a hard time eating the first couple days because of the intubation during surgery (my throat was sore), and couldn't sit up to eat, and was afraid I would choke.

I am glad I got it done, but am still waiting for things to get better. It's a slow process. I had an allergic reaction to the steri-strips they put over my incision, and had a rash for a week that looked like a 2nd degree burn. I was in misery!

Anyway, if you can think of anything you want to ask me, I will gladly reply. It's all really fresh in my mind :P

Take care, and God Bless

 
Old 03-25-2005, 05:59 PM   #5
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Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

Hi,

I've undergone four surgeries for fusions, having a 10 level fusion just in Dec. None of the surgeries were fun, but once you have suffered enough you will tolerate whatever is necessary. Not to frighten you to death though, my first three level fusion was before they had BMP2 (Bone Morphogenic Protein) and they had to take bone from the hip to make the fusion. That took a full year to fuse. The next two times BMP2 was available, the surgeries were much easier on me (taking bone from the hip is worse than the fusion), and because of the BMP2 the fusions were complete in 4-5 months.

Each doctor seems to have their own methodology. Mine gets the patient up and walking about 12 hrs after surgery. Actually, except for the 10 level fusion, this was exciting to walk without pain. With the 3 level fusions the doctor started me with PT at 4-5 weeks post op. With the 10 level fusion PT began at 1 week with therapists coming to my home and then I began aqua therapy at the clinic at one month. Some doc's may not begin PT until maybe 3-4 months post op but have the patient walking up to a mile or so during that time.

Hopefully, if or when you go through fusion, you will not suffer terribly. Oh, not to say it doesn't hurt, but for me, the two three level surgeries with BMP and post op pain were so much less than what I had been enduring, it was not as rough a road for me.

One recommendation I make to everyone though is that I believe it is best to get at least two opinions before jumping into any surgery. Also, I recommend that people considering spine surgery see either ortho or neuro surgeons who are spine specialists. Many ortho's and neuro's do surgery on the back, but as I've been through so 8 spine surgeries in all, I believe that a spine specialist should be consulted.

Hope you will let us know how you are doing.

 
Old 03-26-2005, 11:45 AM   #6
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MARY G HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

Hi Galpstr, The post surgery tips at the top of the thread are excellent. I am 14 mos post 2 level fusio l4 to s1. . I have no pain, and I no longer need to wear a brace for foot drop. I still have leg weakness, but it slowly improves. It takes a long time for nerves to heal. Keep posting, and keep a positive attitude. It was a difficult recovery. My life has improved tremendously. Peace, Mary

 
Old 03-28-2005, 07:38 AM   #7
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galpster HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

Thanks so much for the replys - they are helpful (although scary). I have been dealing with this so long there is no other option then fusion. This is my second opinion and I am seeing a ortho (spine specialist.) I cannot have a ADR because I have too much bone gone due to my previous back surgeries. I have had 2 discectomies (sp?)

My current orth thinks my other orth was no good and basically messed somethings up. He should have done fusioon the 2nd time. I have quite a bit of scarring around the nerve. I'm waiting to see just how much.

I have no doubt this is going to be a long road but my doctor is optimistic. He said I could probably go back to work for a couple hours a day the 3rd week.

Thanks again for all your comments

 
Old 10-08-2011, 01:55 PM   #8
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Neecywoman HB User
Re: Need Fusion Info

[QUOTE=galpster;1580053]It looks liek I will be getting a lumbar fusion l5-s1 (thourgh the back) here in the next 3 months. My doctor is just waiting ot see my newest mri to decide if he should do two levels or one.

Can you all that have had this surgery tell me what to expect:

Pre op
Post Op
Stay in Hospital
Home Recovery
When I can return to work (work at a desk)

Any other advice you can give me to make this as successful as possible.

thanks a bunch![/QUOTE]

pre op, they ask a number of question to makes you are who they think you are and what is being operated on. They will also hook up your IV.
Post op, there usually a morphine pump with a hand button that you can push every 10 minutes or so. USE IT !
My stay in the hospital was 4 days. They wait until your drain has no blood and you have had a bowel movement. Day 2 the physical therapist will help you get up out of bed and for a walk, i walked and did a flight of stairs day 2.
I've heard some people went back to work 1 month after surgery. I had L4 L5 S1 fusion, double discectomy ,triplelaminectomy 6 screws 2 rods. I got my surgery in June 09, i still havent gone back to work. But i know a lot of people that got similar surgeries and are doing great !
best wishes

 
Old 10-09-2011, 06:06 PM   #9
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Re: Need Fusion Info

Neecywoman:

Though you gave some fine advice, I just wanted to let you know that you're responding to a post from 2005. Please hang around though -- it won't be long until someone who needs your wisdom nowadays will be asking.

 
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