I had an appointment with the surgeon's assistant, she talked with the surgeon and the recommendation is a one level Fusion. He talked about an anterior and posterior approach but I meet with him the first of Nov. to go over my CT scan from my Discogram and ask some questions.
I am very nervous of course but hopeful at the same time that this might cure the majority of my pain that I have endured over the last few years.
For those of you that have had Fusion surgery what can I expect?
Hi Lori and I am sorry that you are facing a fusion. Be prepared recovery from this can vary greatly by case to case. Some are back to work about 12 weeks and others are still not back to work at the year point. It is a long hard road and it will be a test of your patients. You will have to learn to listen to your body and when it hurts realize that you need to back off and slow down a little. I am telling you this not to scare you but to help you be prepared for your journey. It is not an easy one.
To help you there is a thread entitled post surgical tips at the top of this board and it is chucked full of information.
My biggest suggestion is to do as much prep work as you can before surgery. Have 6 weeks of groceries put away so that you only have to ask someone to run and get the items that you need to purchase fresh each week. I froze meals ahead for my family. I did whatever I could to make it easier on all of us.
My doctor did not let me bend, twist, lift, drive, do laundry or anything for 12 weeks. Alot of people were allowed to cook and do laundry at 6 weeks. Each doctor has their own set of rules and just do your best to follow them because if you try to rush your recovery which we all have done once or twice the person who will hurt is you.
Good luck and if you have any specific questions, please ask. We have more than likely discussed it in one form or another.
Lori, you've gotten great advise already and there isn't much I can add to it, but I did want to stop in to lend my support.
Fusion surgery is rough, there's no doubt about it, but you can do things to make it easier. Just as suggested, you can cook meals ahead of time, get your house in the best shape that you are able to handle, and go to walmart and buy a couple of those "grabbers" that will pick up things you've dropped so that you don't have to bend over to get them. Make sure you have some entertainment at hand....for me, that's a couple of good books, l or 2 puzzle books and a bedside table big enough to hold tham as well as pitcher of cold water.
I'm sure if I sat here long enough I could come up with more; but I do think that sticky post will tell you what you need to know.
The anterior/posterior approach, also called a 360, is harder to recover from as you have two incisions, two areas of major swelling, two areas where muscles are disturbed, etc., but it has a higher success rate. I had a lot of levels done (8 this time around), so they wanted to give me the best shot possible at fusing. The more levels you have done, the harder the recovery and the higher the rate of nonfusion. If you have a 360 with only one level, you'll have a real good chance of fusing as long as you're careful and follow doctors orders precisely. No guarantee, of course, but you'll have a higher statistical chance.
I was showing bone growth on xray at only 6 weeks.
Like the other ladies have already said, read that sticky at the top called "post surgery tips." It has a wealth of information that will be immensely helpful to you as you prepare. My best tip is to get a grabber tool. It will be worth it's weight in gold the first day you're home. But get a good quality one. Don't get that cheap on called "The Gopher." It'll break and hardly holds anything. Also, get a little notebook to keep track of your meds, questions for the doctor, and notes to yourself. You'll be fuzzy from the pain meds sometimes, so you need to have a way to make sure you're taking what you need and when you need it by the clock. Keeping track in your notebook will keep you right where you should be. Also, get some slippery sheets and pj's so you can slide to turn in bed. Put a plastic garbage bag in your car for the ride home so you can slide getting in and out. Again, less pain. Also, put a ziplock bag in the car in case you get nauseous. If you have to vomit, you can just zip in the mess and no one will have to clean anything up.
You're sure to have lots of questions after your doctor's appt. We'll do our best to help you from our own experiences. This is probably a bit scary for you, but you'll make it through. Keep your eyes on the big picture, the relief you should get from the surgery, and you'll do fine!
I wish you the best as you go forward and make your decsion.
Thank you everyone for your replies, it is appreciated. I have read the tips pre and post surgery and what a bunch of great ideas!
I have compiled a list of questions for the surgeon when I see him on Nov1 . I want to know why he is thinking on an anterior/posterior fusion instead of a posterior only fusion. I am concerned about the added risks involved with the anterior part of the surgery. Am I correct that a anterior/posterior is called a 360? I am having one level done so I am glad about that aspect. I have many other questions complied so far, hosptial bed? temp parking permit? pain management? the list goes on LOL but I want to be prepared at least emotionally, as prepared as one can be for this type of surgery. I have had other surgeries in the past, hysterectomy, gall bladder, but from I understand this is much more involved than those were.
I am a stay at home mom so the working part is covered. If I could only get rid of the nervous feeling I have... I don't even have a surgery date yet and already I am terrified.
Lisa, that is natural to be terrified. If you weren't, I would be concerned about you. I have had 2 fusions and 1 laminectomy and it looks like they need to go back in -- I am still nervous and I have been thru it! LOL
Hi again, Lori,
You're doing the best thing you can for yourself right now: getting educated on what's going to happen! Being prepared both physically (your house, kids, equipment, etc.) and mentally/emotionally will help keep your stress level down and make your recovery easier.
I'm glad you're going to ask about the 360. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone having a 360 for only one level, but I might be wrong. It's more common with multiple levels, but maybe they sometimes do it for only one.
How old are your kids? Are you aware that you won't be able to bend, lift, or twist for quite some time? If your kids are little, you will need help with them. If they're older, they can help YOU! I homeschool, and my kids are teens, so they were wonderful to have around after my surgery. They brought me breakfast and lunch everyday until I was steady enough to go downstairs for meals. (I had some complications with low blood pressure from the anesthesia and was dizzy for 6 weeks. Spent a lot of time lying down.) They came and kept me company and regulary checked on me. My 17 year old drove me to my follow up appts. They were so sweet and helpful to me.
Good for you for keeping a list of questions for your doctor. I did that, too, and he was so patient in answering every one of them. Some of my questions were just little things I wanted to know, like what kind of metal would he use, and some were more major, like how long did my husband have to leave me alone. (Answer: 6 weeks, but my doctor said if the husband comes to the appt when that question is asked, he tells him a year, just to see the look on his face! I cracked up! And I told my husband I had asked his question and the doctor had said a year. It was a priceless reaction!)
I hope your appt goes well and all your questions are answered. Let us know how you're doing.
Emily, that was hilarious! A year! LOL
My kids are 12 and 17.5. The 12 year old should do fine, he is the baby of the family so I worry about him but I am sure he will be just fine. The teenager of course will be okay and both will be a great help. I am already prepping them as to what might be happening and what will be expected of them.