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Old 10-26-2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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chelseaglenn HB User
Unhappy Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

[B][/B]Hi all.
I am need of some advice.
I had a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)in July06 which has made my back problems severely worse.
I am now due to have an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion in January 08 and really want to speak to people who have had this operation done.
At the same time, anyone who would like to talk to me regarding the PLIF I have already undergone then please feel free.
Thanks all.

Glenn

 
Old 10-26-2007, 01:36 PM   #2
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi Glenn, and welcome to the board!
That doesn't sound like a lot of fun, to go through this again. I'm sorry for that.

I had a 360 fusion (that is, anterior and posterior) in Sept '06. I've passed my year mark and am solidly fused. Did you have specific questions about it? I can tell you that the 360 method has a higher rate of success than just posterior, but I don't know about anterior alone. I also had a mix of BMP and donor bone, and I used a bone growth stimulator for 6 months. I was showing bone growth already on x-ray at only 6 weeks post-op, which is really early. I found the front incision to be much more painful and difficult to recover from than the back incision, but a lot of people on here have experienced the opposite. I think it may be related to what muscles you're used to using to compensate for your back issues. I strongly use my abdominals, but a lot of people use the legs more. I have little skinny weak legs, so they never helped me much.

There are lots of us on here who have been there. If you have any particular questions, we'll do our best to help from our own experiences.

Take care,
Emily

 
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Old 10-26-2007, 01:40 PM   #3
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camperboy HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

I was going to suggest maybe lloking into the newer TLIF (as in transforaminal, which is through the back and to the side) - which is working great for me so far (only a week out of the hospital) - but, if your PLIF failed, maybe a TLIF ain't much better, and it's time for the big guns.

Good luck!
David

 
Old 10-26-2007, 06:14 PM   #4
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Suzy-Q HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hello Glenn,
I had a Posteriolateral foramenectomy and decompression with autograft fusion (no interbody fusion) surgery at L4-5 in March of '05. It never fused and I was a real mess. In June of '06, I had a revision/repair surgery using BMP and a TLIF approach. I had a rough time but it did eventually fuse in the interbody space (and thank goodness because the lateral gutter fusions failed AGAIN!).
As I was researching my situation I learned that most fusions could be done translateral even if an anterior interbody was needed. A good surgeon can do the anterior interbody work from the side. I wouldn't want to say that there isn't any justification for an anterior approach but I'd ask why not the translateral and I'd be hoping not to hear the reason was just because they had no experience doing it. There are good people out there who can offer you this approach with considerably fewer surgery risks and so on. Take care - Suzy-Q

 
Old 10-27-2007, 01:14 AM   #5
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chelseaglenn HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Many thanks for getting back in touch all of you. Thansk Emily for your response, I particularly wish to know all about the front Anterior operation you had done. As stated, I had the Back Fusion L4/L5 but that failed to fuse. I am now going to have the Anterior fusion but don't know if I will have the bone growth stimulator. I want you to be as honest as possible about how the Anterior operation afected you RE: Pain, Time scales, good days bad days, what you could still do while fusing/what you could not do, when did the front pain go.

I really appreciate all of your help guys!

Thankyou

Glenn
(UK)

Last edited by HBMod07; 10-29-2007 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Please only quote the portion of the message you are responding to and not the entire message

 
Old 10-27-2007, 06:19 AM   #6
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

I think that for those who have the 360, the recovery is harder because there are two surgery sites to heal from, in addition to the internal healing that needs to happen. If you're having only an anterior approach, you may find it easier than your past fusion surgery. If really varies from person to person. For me, the front incision was just brutal. The back was much less painful. My surgery last month was only through the back, and I was surprised how much it hurt. The pain from the back incision was very much masked by the pain from the front when I had the fusion. I use my abdominal muscles all the time, so even just trying to shift in bed a tiny bit would put me through the roof. Every time I tightened those muscles at all, it would aggravate the incision, plus, since the muscles had been moved around, they weren't doing what I asked them to do and were painful in and of themselves.

Other than that, it was pretty much like everyone else on here. I had good days and bad days, was mostly in bed for a couple of months, then mostly up but still needed to lie down for a significant amount of time a few times during the day, needed major pain meds for about two months, then tapered down to a still-major-but-not-as-much pain med. I walked like crazy! Even if I could only handle 10 minutes, I would walk for as long as I could and then lie back down. Every time I got up for the bathroom, I made myself stay up and walk, walk, walk, for as long as I could. That gets the blood circulating around the spine and encourages bone growth.

I didn't do much while I was fusing. I kept my household running by assigning things to the kids (teens), and we were blessed with 3 meals a week for 3 whole months from our church. There were always leftovers, so no one had to really cook for a long time. That helped a lot! My teens could have done some simple cooking, but I was asking them to do a lot of other things they weren't usually responsible for, so I was glad they didn't have to cook, too. I watched a lot of movies. Didn't read much at all, as the Percocet makes my eyes all funky. I discovered one day that I could ball up and wad of masking tape and stick it in my grabber and walk around picking up dust bunnies. Sounds silly, but I felt so good to be able to actually do something! My kids did basic cleaning, but their standards aren't the same as mine. They miss a lot.

If I had it to do over again, I would absolutely go for the 360 again. It was hard, but I got a really good, solid fusion and very quickly. It was well worth it! And if you have only the front incision and not the back, you can probably figure out how to shift yourself with less pain than I had.

I hope I answered what you were looking for. If you have other questions, we'll do our best to help.

Take care,
Emily

 
Old 10-27-2007, 11:07 AM   #7
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chelseaglenn HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Emily, your an absolute angel. I haven't been able to talk to anyone about this and have been very scared as my surgeon and his colleagues have only ever done 6 Anterior Fusions, at North Tees Hospital in the North of England.
I am pleased you had all that community help, for me and my wife and daughter (20 months) its a very different story (i've always said the Americans were more friendly than us Brits to each other).

Unfortunately I am and have been bedridden for months and will continue to be till The op in January, and of course the healing process afterwards.
For my wife it is a difficult time. Not only is she looking after 2 children at the moment (me being one of them due to the problems, and i'm only 33) but she is also juggling work and her mum who has terminal cancer.

What you have told me helps as I always feel better when I have an idea of what I may be facing. I have no choice but to try this op as I still haven't even been able to play with my Daughter properly since her birth, and that alone tears me up inside.

Thankyou so much for your time and effort Emily.

God bless & love to you and your family.

Glenn Lovatt (Hartlepool, England)

Last edited by HBMod07; 10-29-2007 at 01:55 PM.

 
Old 10-28-2007, 05:34 AM   #8
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mewcamaro HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi Glenn - I had and ALIF in June 07, was in hospital for 11 days and then a rehab center for 27 days. I am in worse pain now than before surgery. I had L4 L5, L5 S1 removed and titaniun discs inserted with BMP with fusion. I'm not allowed to do anything drive, housework, bend, lift etc. I still use my walker. Doctor does not know why in so much pain, I take vicoden, vallium and oxycottin. Finally had a CT and MRI it showed I have started to fuse, but the bad news is L3 L4, L4 L5 is now herniated. So I am scheduled for a 3rd surgery on Nov 16th. This will be a Lami/Disc. This was the first surgery I had back in 2005 and it didn't work thats why they removed the discs, hopefully this surgery will work. I'm so tired of being in pain 24/7 and this has been since 2004 when I got hurt in work.

Glenn everyone is different so I hope my story doesn't scare you from having your surgery, I hope you surgery goes very well and you become pain free.

I just hoping for a normal life again with my family.

mew

 
Old 10-28-2007, 06:43 PM   #9
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hello Glenn and Camaro, I had the 360 and I have to admit that the back incision is giving me the hard time. I had my L4,L5 and S1 all fused as well as a Lamenectomy. My incisions healed within three weeks, I believe they used Super Glue! But yes, the muscle and so forth that had to be cut to get to the back are still sore but not as bad as my lower back especially the area around the S1! I too had the donor bone and it's only been a month and a week for me. Glenn, please do read the post op tips and my heart goes out to you and your wife. I have no idea though what would cause a fusion to fail? Any ideas? I don't even know what a bone stimulater is! I'm must on a high protein diet, drinking lots of soy milk and taking my B-Complex! I learn more and more here.

I know surgery is scary, this was my first one ever and I had to put up a brave face for my husband who was more scared than I was! But all so far has come out okay and it will be the same for you Glenn, once it's done the worse is over, well except for the healing! LoL. Very wise people have told me to have a positive attitude as your mind and moods affect your body, I try to have a Can do, Will Do attitude. My husband tries to treat me like an invalid not letting me do anything for myself and I have to remind him that I have to learn to get along by myself and take care of myself when he's at work. It won't be too bad for too long Glenn, Positive attitude!

God Bless, Redsmom

Last edited by HBMod07; 10-29-2007 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Please only quote the portion of the message you are responding to and not the entire message

 
Old 01-29-2008, 08:22 AM   #10
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apocalypto22 HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

[QUOTE=BlueAtlas;3278100]I think that for those who have the 360, the recovery is harder because there are two surgery sites to heal from, in addition to the internal healing that needs to happen. If you're having only an anterior approach, you may find it easier than your past fusion surgery. If really varies from person to person. For me, the front incision was just brutal. The back was much less painful. My surgery last month was only through the back, and I was surprised how much it hurt. The pain from the back incision was very much masked by the pain from the front when I had the fusion. I use my abdominal muscles all the time, so even just trying to shift in bed a tiny bit would put me through the roof. Every time I tightened those muscles at all, it would aggravate the incision, plus, since the muscles had been moved around, they weren't doing what I asked them to do and were painful in and of themselves.

Other than that, it was pretty much like everyone else on here. I had good days and bad days, was mostly in bed for a couple of months, then mostly up but still needed to lie down for a significant amount of time a few times during the day, needed major pain meds for about two months, then tapered down to a still-major-but-not-as-much pain med. I walked like crazy! Even if I could only handle 10 minutes, I would walk for as long as I could and then lie back down. Every time I got up for the bathroom, I made myself stay up and walk, walk, walk, for as long as I could. That gets the blood circulating around the spine and encourages bone growth.

I didn't do much while I was fusing. I kept my household running by assigning things to the kids (teens), and we were blessed with 3 meals a week for 3 whole months from our church. There were always leftovers, so no one had to really cook for a long time. That helped a lot! My teens could have done some simple cooking, but I was asking them to do a lot of other things they weren't usually responsible for, so I was glad they didn't have to cook, too. I watched a lot of movies. Didn't read much at all, as the Percocet makes my eyes all funky. I discovered one day that I could ball up and wad of masking tape and stick it in my grabber and walk around picking up dust bunnies. Sounds silly, but I felt so good to be able to actually do something! My kids did basic cleaning, but their standards aren't the same as mine. They miss a lot.

If I had it to do over again, I would absolutely go for the 360 again. It was hard, but I got a really good, solid fusion and very quickly. It was well worth it! And if you have only the front incision and not the back, you can probably figure out how to shift yourself with less pain than I had.

I hope I answered what you were looking for. If you have other questions, we'll do our best to help.

Take care,
Emily[/QUOTE]

hi emily,the ALIF is painful too I guess?sick also?

 
Old 01-29-2008, 11:40 AM   #11
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Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Yeah, sorry to say, it's gonna hurt. But if you need the surgery, it will be worth it. The pain will only be temporary, but if the procedure is successful, the result will be long term (barring complications, of course).

Sounds like you're doing your homework and finding out as much as you can so you can make an educated decision. I wish you well.

Emily

 
Old 04-01-2011, 04:17 AM   #12
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Mandymia HB User
Re: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Hi there chelseaglenn chelseaglenn,

Thank you for your thread of back PLIF. My mother had this operation in July 2010 and her symptoms of sciatica dissapeared. But however she still has burning and numbness in her lower legs. She doesnt have sugar diabeties and she doesn't have Vitamin B deficiancy. There is swelling edema as well associated with that. With this surgery she developed drop foot as well. She is currently on a walker for over 7 years now and lost mobility but has slightly improved from the pain since the 2010 operation from pain. She still has problems straightening her back. She can't walk straight up back and she has also Grade 2 spondylithesis. She had a thoracic fusion done in Florida in 2007 which has fixed the curveture of her spine but she still had problems with the lumbar spine. She continues to do physical exercises and hydrotherapy treatment on a day to day basis.

 
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