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Old 04-14-2005, 05:09 AM   #1
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Conklette HB User
Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

I'm going in for this surgery on 4/20, does anyone have any idea what my recovery time will be? My doctor says I will not be able to drive for 4 weeks and off work for a minumum of 8 weeks. Any thoughts on this?

Last edited by Conklette; 04-14-2005 at 05:23 AM.

 
Old 04-14-2005, 05:30 AM   #2
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

HI, first of all I'm sorry to hear that you have to have surgery. Let me tell youits not that fun. I had the same as you, 8 weeks ago today.
It depends on your age, your body, your physical condition as to how you will bounce back. Ya, no driving because as my doctor put it..." they will say if you would get in a wreck, "didn't you just have surgery, are you supposed to be twisting around to see if their are oncoming cars? aren't you on narcotics,. should you be driving? go ahead and sign you name on this check and leave it blank, we'll fill it in..." lol I was in the hosp for 5 days, and then came home with a hosp bed in the middle of my family room for 7 weeks, I used a walker for about the first 3 days after I got home. Walk as much as you can...that doesn't hurt, but the turniong over in bed, and the getting in and out of bed does, and sitting wasn't that comfortable. Plus, now my I have sciatica attacks, one put me back in the hosp for 3 days! Just got to take it day by dar. Do you have little ones? Cuz you will need help. My mom-in-law and my mom split the past 8 weeks, someone was here everyday, and they both live 3 hrs from here, they just would stay for a week at a time. You can't lift anything over 5 lbs till your 6 week check up.
Is your Dr gonna have you wear a brace? I didn't have to so I could move a little more, but I hear that if you do, its really a rough go.f
So...I hope I was some help,...good luck. Read through some of these posts on here, they are really helpful. Cincigirl

 
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:01 AM   #3
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

Hi

Welcome to the board.

Sorry you have to share back troubles, and am sending best wishes for a quick and full recovery.

I'm a veteran of 8 spine surgeries, four fusions, with the last being 10 levels only 4 months ago. With each of the 3 level fusion surgeries I was in the hospital 3-4 days, and with the biggie, I was there a week. I am now out mowingi the yard, digging in flowers and doing almost every normal thing, albeit a few things have new techniques.

Cincigirl is right that every patient is different, and so is every doctor. Some don't let their patients drive for months, others weeks, and yet other in a few days. I didn't drive for 1 month this last time, but my doc's standard is 1 month for even a discectomy and longer with my surgeries. He allows me to drive short distances right away as he knows I'm the only driver in the household and that I'm good about obeying his rules.

Suggest you make a list of questions, and if you do not have another appointment before you surgery next week, call his assistant or nurse and ask that they phone you. They should be happy to answer those type of questions before the surgery, as my doc always provides restrictions when we plan the surgery. There's really no reason to not let people know ahead of time so that they can take care of errands ahead of schedule.

Best wishes and let us know how you are doing.

 
Old 04-14-2005, 06:37 PM   #4
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

Thanks for the reply's. I will be wearing a brace for at least a month. I have talked to the doctor alot but its not the same as talking to people who have been through it. I didn't see too much on here about the instrumentation. I have a fracture also so I will not need a bone graft, they are using the piece of broken bone and removing all the bone spurs. Did anyone experience excessive bleeding? I had to donate my own blood in case? Any experiences would be appreciated. Thanks

 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:09 PM   #5
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

I'm 7 months post op and I'm still recovering to some extent. 8 weeks off work is being optimistic in my opinion. Doable, yes, but you sure aren't likely to want to. It's about 6-8 weeks when you start feeling human again and feeling like you will eventually get through it all. I guess some depends on age, but it does depend tremendously on attitude.

 
Old 04-14-2005, 07:40 PM   #6
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

Thanks Rhonni I'm 42 in pretty good shape. I have an office job but sometime help out in the store doing various activities. I was told I will start therapy after 4wks in the pool. Is the norm?

 
Old 04-14-2005, 09:17 PM   #7
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

Conklette,

I donate blood each time, and since I am one of those with negative blood type where less than 3% of the people am fortunate enough that a friend shares my blood type. It makes me more comfortable to know where the blood will come from if I need it, which is usually the case. Once, my crit dropped dramatically, and even after the transfusions were used, I had to receive several units of packed cells. As I understand it, that's not the norm.

Only in my first fusion, which was prior to BMP, did the doc have to take bone from my hip. That was worse than the back surgery, but he had warned me. Since BMP has been on the scene, he uses the bony ridges from doing the laminectomies and that makes me happy. I'd much rather have my bone than someone elses.

As for therapy, every doc does it differently. Mine usually starts me in PT at 4 weeks, but with my 10 level fusion in Dec, home health came to the house beginning the day after I got out of the hospital and we started mild exercises, then I began the aqua therapy at 4 weeks. Some doc's don't start patients out with PT until much later, but I much prefer the early intervention. My muscles will atrophy way too much if I had to wait longer.

Hope you surgery goes well and that you will let us know how you are doing as soon as you are up to it. You will be in our thoughts.

 
Old 04-15-2005, 12:28 AM   #8
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

Hi Conklette

The time frames your Dr gave you are somewhat conservative. Actually it's exactly the same time frame I was given.

I was driving at 6wks (short drives only) - went back to work (part time) at twelve weeks. When I went back to work I used a cane (Walgreen's VERY inexpensive)

I too have a desk job, if your able to get up and walk around at work you should do fine. At 1st returning to work I had to get up and walk 5min or so every 30 min Dr's orders.

GREAT that they will be able to re use your bone and not have to harvest new from your hip - that will help your recovery a lot!

Do you have family or friends that will be there to help you when you come home from the hospital? - you'll really need someone to help out the 1st week or so.

Take some time and read through the posts - it will not only pass the time for you while being anxious as the 20th approaches, but you'll get tons of 1st hand experience of people who've been through exactly what your facing. And we will all be here for you if your nervous or just have more questions

Wishing you a GREAT successful surgery
and a quick and easy recovery!
BW

Last edited by Bionicwan; 04-15-2005 at 12:34 AM.

 
Old 04-15-2005, 03:46 AM   #9
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

You guys are really great. I will have someone here to help full time. My husband works out of the house and my daughter does internet schooling because she is an excelllent hockey player and her travel and schedule does not permit her to attend regular school, so she is also home. Did anyone wear a clam shell brace? They told me I would be fitted after surgery by the PT. Is this something you wear under/over clothes? I know these sound like silly questions but I did forget to ask.

Thanks again.

 
Old 04-15-2005, 05:33 AM   #10
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

I started in-home PT 2 weeks after surgery and I truly believe it helped me progress as quickly as I did. I was able to drive at 3 weeks, but stuck close to the neighborhood. I was flying across the country at 5 weeks. I too have an office job but wouldn't have been ready to go back until 12 weeks as I still tired very easily and was still on substantial medication at night.

 
Old 04-15-2005, 04:30 PM   #11
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Better Late HB User
Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

Hi Conklette ,

I am exactly 6 wks post-op 2 level anterior/posterior L4-S1 fusion. I have not started any PT yet, and am still not allowed to drive yet. I am also not wearing a brace. I have an appointment in 1 week with my OSS and am hoping my restrictions will be lifted at that time. I am still taking a moderate amount of pain meds at night, but am on the last 2 days of weaning myself from Oxycontin 20 mg. (I will take 1 more tomorrow, then quit altogether.) I still have Soma, Percocet, Darvocet, and Tylenol #3 but I only use the Percocet and Soma on a daily basis. I am walking some, but not enough in my opinion, as I do still tire easily. Today is the first day I have felt good for most of the day. (I've had a nagging pain in my right calf all day). I am supposed to return to work on 4-27-05, but I really don't feel up to it yet, sort of unstable on my feet. But I will see what the Dr. says next week, I may need a few more weeks off. (smile) I have the kind of job where I can get up and walk as often as I need to, so that's a plus. I didn't lose much blood during surgery but had to have a transfusion a couple days after, among other things- my body systems just went wacko (smile). I do hope you have a successful, uneventful surgery and quick recovery. If there's anything else I can help with, please ask-I hope this post was helpful to you.
God Bless, and keep us posted ,
Myrna

 
Old 04-16-2005, 05:29 AM   #12
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

[QUOTE=Better Late]Hi Conklette ,

I am exactly 6 wks post-op 2 level anterior/posterior L4-S1 fusion. I have not started any PT yet, and am still not allowed to drive yet. I am also not wearing a brace. I have an appointment in 1 week with my OSS and am hoping my restrictions will be lifted at that time. I am still taking a moderate amount of pain meds at night, but am on the last 2 days of weaning myself from Oxycontin 20 mg. (I will take 1 more tomorrow, then quit altogether.) I still have Soma, Percocet, Darvocet, and Tylenol #3 but I only use the Percocet and Soma on a daily basis. I am walking some, but not enough in my opinion, as I do still tire easily. Today is the first day I have felt good for most of the day. (I've had a nagging pain in my right calf all day). I am supposed to return to work on 4-27-05, but I really don't feel up to it yet, sort of unstable on my feet. But I will see what the Dr. says next week, I may need a few more weeks off. (smile) I have the kind of job where I can get up and walk as often as I need to, so that's a plus. I didn't lose much blood during surgery but had to have a transfusion a couple days after, among other things- my body systems just went wacko (smile). I do hope you have a successful, uneventful surgery and quick recovery. If there's anything else I can help with, please ask-I hope this post was helpful to you.
God Bless, and keep us posted ,
Myrna [/QUOTE]


Thanks Myrna

I'm really worried about the amount of pain I will be in. I've been in alot of pain now but from the sounds of it; it will be alot worse. I am not one that likes to lay around and I know I have too. Its just going to be very difficult. I'm really scared. Thanks to everyone who wrote here, you all have helped me tremendously.

 
Old 04-16-2005, 06:03 AM   #13
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Question Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

May I ask if you feel the previous fusions were the cause of further disc failure due to extra stress on joints?I am trying to line up adr...have been in pain for 4 years and right now am in an acute level pain.3 different doctors offered me fusion but I have refused because I've not read of many fusion patients who were happy for long.

 
Old 04-16-2005, 06:18 AM   #14
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

[QUOTE=jaydar]May I ask if you feel the previous fusions were the cause of further disc failure due to extra stress on joints?I am trying to line up adr...have been in pain for 4 years and right now am in an acute level pain.3 different doctors offered me fusion but I have refused because I've not read of many fusion patients who were happy for long.[/QUOTE]
JAYDAR Here is ONE HAPPY FUSION PATIENT FOR YOU!! I had a L5-S1 fusion with cadavar bone thru my tummy on January 14th. I took pain meds for 2 days in the hospital and THAT WAS ALL. An Occasional tylenol after I got home. The back pain I had pre surgery was gone.......the only thing was my stomache was very tendar. At 3 weeks I was walking 3 miles on a tread mill at a very good clip. I go in Monday for my 3 month X-ray and I am pretty sure I will have most restrictions lifted as I feel awesome. I do wear a brace, but have not worn it much the last 3 weeks. I feel awful for people who go thru this and have to take so many pain meds...........I too was scared and told I would be on them for months.........The pain was very minimal for me as they fixed what was hurting
Best of luck to you all in your surgery and recovery!!

 
Old 04-16-2005, 06:27 AM   #15
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Re: Posterior Lumbar Fusion W/ Spinal Instrumentation L5/S1

[QUOTE=jaydar]May I ask if you feel the previous fusions were the cause of further disc failure due to extra stress on joints?I am trying to line up adr...have been in pain for 4 years and right now am in an acute level pain.3 different doctors offered me fusion but I have refused because I've not read of many fusion patients who were happy for long.[/QUOTE]

Hey Jaydar

This is my first fusion. I had 2 herniations from a car accident 4 yrs ago and at Christmas this past year I was cleaning the ceiling in my son's new apartment and slid off the side of the tub and blew out the disk and fractured the vertebrae. So I'm a newbie to all this. I'm getting alot of info here that is really helping and scaring me. I go in this Wed and I'm trying to prepare.

 
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