[QUOTE=jaylynn5;2868706]Hey fusionman,Is the ALIF the surgery through the stomach?if it is can you tell me about it?where do they do the cut?and ect.....Jaylynn thanks[/QUOTE]
Yes, the ALIF surgery is through the stomach. The below is some detail about what I experienced.
My hospital stay was 5 days and I was told anywhere from 4 to 8 days is the norm. A physical therapist taught me how to get in and out of bed on the 2nd day. Plus, they tested me on walking and going up and down stairs. I did pretty well being I had plenty of painkillers in my system. I did tire very easily and needed help getting my legs back into the bed the first few days in the hospital. There was a lot of swelling in the incision area and it is not easy to get in and out of bed. I had, and still do, some numbness in my inner groan on the side of the incision. I was told that was due to a large muscle of the inner thigh that had to be moved during the stomach approach. The general surgeon said that is very common and should go away, although it can take up to 6 months. Iím 8 weeks post-op now and it has already improved quite a bit. The incision I have is larger than most (8 inches) and higher up than most because the back doctor had to fuse a higher level (L3-4) of the spine. I was told it normally would be horseshoe shaped and 5 to 6 inches, right below the belly button. The first few days I was not allowed solid food, which was ok because I was not very hungry. By the3rd day I could eat whatever I wanted. Also on the3rd day they gave me colace pills so I would have a bowel movement. I was encouraged to get out of bed as often as I could and walk up and down the hallways. I was not given a walker or a back brace. The more you move in the beginning the faster you supposedly heal. I found that I tired very easily and did want to stay in bed a lot.
As far as meds I was given a morphine pump the first day and then was switched to Percocet pills, 2 every 6-to 8 hours. No muscle relaxants at all. Now that Iím home I take Ultram as needed.
The incision stayed swollen for about 4 weeks and then flattened out. At 8 weeks itís still sore but not too painful.
I was told not to drive for at least 4 to 6 weeks. I really didnít feel up to it anyhow and waited until the sixth week. Plus, getting in and out of the car has not been pain free or easy to do.
My lower back muscles are very tight and painful, which has limited my walking. Plus, I get a lot of spasm pain in the lower back from getting in and out of bed. But I think this is not the norm for most. I believe it may be due to muscle damage from my first fusion years ago. Anyhow, I hope I wasn't too long winded? Best of luck and if you can think of anything else you wish to know please donít hesitate to ask.