Has anyone gone through this or have any info? I met with my neurosurgeon and he suggested this. Any advice would be greatly apprecitaed.
I had a laminectomy last April and a positive dIskogram in December.
I posted the same message today. I didn't see your post. It doesn't seem that many people have had this procedure. My neurosurgeon has done approx. 220 procedures. I would like to hear from someone who has gone thru the procedure. Was there a lot of pain after the surgery? What activities were they allowed? Those type questions.
I still haven't had the procedure done, but I've made the decision to do it, likely in June/July. My Neurosurgeon has also done 240 of them. He has told me he had some complications in 2 of them, which is a pretty good batting average. Both the complications dealt with small tears in the colon, which seems to be the area of concern from the procedure. Fixing the colon is unpleasant, but still fixable.
As for pain relief, I think it depends on where you start. I've been told that following the procedure, I should take it easy for the first month, but after two months, I can resume normal activities, including my golf addiction. I'll find out if that's true.
I'm convinced, as are the Docs, that I need fusion (S1/L5). I will not do the traditional fusion. It has complication factors, also, and there's a ton of data out there about the recovery. The logic of the Axialif approach is such that I'm willing to do it.
I'm still looking for testimonials, if there's anyone out there who's done it already.
Thanks so much for the reply. I am scheduled for the end of April. My reasoning sounds pretty close to yours. One questions I have is if you had a discogram? I have not and the surgeon said it is really my choice. (My other neurosurgeon said that I have NO choice.) I am really interested in if you had one.
Hi. I had an XLIF at the thoracic level 2 years ago. I know the structures are pretty different there, but the recovery was tough. I can compare because the XLIF fusion failed. I had a posterior revision fusion surgery and the recovery wasn't nearly as bad. But, do take that with a grain of thoracic salt!
I would definitely encourage a discogram to confirm the right level. You do NOT want to go through this surgery to find out it was the wrong level. And it can happen, especially at that lumbar level. I know they're very uncomfortable, but you want the job done right.
Last edited by chatterboxsd; 02-24-2009 at 08:13 PM.
The Axialif procedure is only done at the lumbar levels. In fact, while approved several years ago for level S1/L5, it has more recently been approved for S1/L5/L4. It goes through the sacrum bone, so it only applies to the lumbar vertebrae.
I'm not sure what a discogram is, but I"ve had both xrays and complete MRIs done. They know exactly where my issues are. I agree that I wouldn't have anything done unless they know where they're going and what they intend to do when they get there.
Good luck. I'd appreciate knowing how things go. I'll be pulling for you.
I had an axialif done on 11 Feb 2009. I had a lamonectomy 20 years ago at L5 S1, and that op was a contributing factor with the severe disc degeneration that developed at the same level. My condition was manageable, but I like to keep fit and active, and I was increasingly finding that I couldn't do things without unacceptable penalties........... The surgeon I went to was for a third opinion, and he suggested axialif. I had never heard of it. He had only done it twice before, which worried me! However, the op went well. Post op pain was very manageable and I was up and about the morning after, and left on day three. It was difficult brushing teeth/shaving, and I felt pretty stiff, but compared to the open surgery which I had twenty years ago, this procedure for me was a doddle.
However, since returning home I have had problems with pain in my buttock and down my leg. This worried me a lot, becasue it seemed a step backwards in my recovery. I have probably tried to do too much. My surgeon says that the re-establishment of disc space could have stretched the sciatic nerve, and along with some possible scar tissue, could well cause a bit of a problem, and will probably settle down. I have confidence in his diagnosis.
At the end of this month (6 weeks post op) I will get a check up, and hope that I can then start physiotherapy. I am walking quite a bit, and this is actually more comfortable than lying or sitting. Sitting is the most uncomfortable. I think the best rehab line to take is little and often. Lifting is of course discouraged at this stage.
I hope that this info is of some help, and if anyone else can offer me advice I too would be grateful!
Grundy56. Thanks for the info on your procedure. We all appreciate the sharing of experiences. Good luck with the nerve settling down. The nerve trauma is a possible outcome from just about any spinal surgery. My understanding is that it usually settles down. All the best.
THANK YOU for sharing this information. I am having the procedure the end of April and am very anxious! The nerve pain down the leg scares me, because I already have it! Where is the pain, down the front or the side of your leg? Mine goes from my hip down the side and burns like fire. The dr. thinks this is from a problem in my hip not from my back. Again, thanks for sharing with us. Please keep us updated!
It's easy to read other peoples problems in to your own, and everyone's experience is different, so the last thing I want to do is scare you! Your symtoms sound different to mine.
When I got home I was so relieved that everything seemed to have gone so well. which is probably why I started hunting around for info from others who might have had similar experiences when I started feeling more painful.
Since my last post a few days ago things have actually been worse, and of course this can play havoc with my mind.
The pain has been in the op area itself, and spreading through my right buttock, down the back of my thigh, and sometimes in the back of my calf. I had tingles in my left buttock, which I have never had before, but they have now stopped.
I have had all the pains in the right buttock and thigh from time to time before the op, and I keep telling myself that they too, went away. It is difficult to remain rational when you really don't know exactly how you should be feeling. Just because a procedure is minimally invasive it doesn't necessarily mean that one's recovery is going to be without its problems.
One of the most difficult things for me was that before the op I was feeling very fit! I still chose to go ahead in spite of this because I knew that it would be a question of when, rather than if, my back started playing up again.
It was a calculated risk.
I am nearly 59 years old, and I have a passion for windsurfing and love outdoor life generally. I was never able to predict when my back would start giving me jip. It could happen at any time, and often seemed unrelated to anything I had been doing. I used to do a lot of exercises to try and keep it stable.
I hope the X ray I have on 30 March shows all the ironmongery is in the right place, and that other things are as they should be. I'll post an update at that time, or earlier if these symptoms improve before then, and I hope that what I have to say will fill you with some confidence!
I am sorry not to have updated you sooner. My X ray confirms that the rod and facet screws are in the right place, and not bent, broken, or twisted. My surgeon considers that my recovery progress is about right, and that the sciatic type pains will be transient. Since my last post they have been more "on and off" rather than chronic, but the condition still persists.
I am generally feeling stronger and get less tired. I am sleeping better at night. Any local pain at incision points has all but gone, not that they were ever significant. I still get pains though, and get concerned that they will just linger on. I don't feel as though there is any strength in my healing yet. I am still to avoid twisting, lifting, and bending. If I accidentally bend I can get warnings from my back, that I might "put it out", and sometimes get spasmodic pain for a while. Sitting is more comfortable than it was.
I think the axialif promotional web sites can give patients like me unreasonable expectations of recovery speed, and notions of returning to sport in a couple of months. At the end of the day, axialif is still major surgery.
I am walking further, but still have to pace myself on "not so good days"
I easily get depressed and find myself doubting that I made the right decision, but I sure that this is normal. I am desperate to be fit and well again.
Like you, I think we all search for re-assurance from someone else who might say, "Don't worry, I had just the same symptoms as you, and now I feel great!"
I will try and update you in a month or so. If you want one earlier, just give me a nudge and remind me!
Thank you very much for your reply! I believe you are giving much insight to the actual recovery. I, like you, read all the testimonies on the website and have high expectations. The closer it gets the more "real" it gets! I am trying to prepare my husband and daughter that this might be a bigger deal than what we have been lead to believe. I have told my employer I will be back to work in 15 days, (which is what the website says) and I am now doubting that I will return in that time frame. Again, thank you so much for your time in posting. I am not chaning my mind, I am trudging ahead! As bad as I feel today, I would let them do the procedure today! Keep up posted with your recovery!
I think the return to work dliemma depends on what you have to do, how far you have to travel and how many hours you might have to put in. I am self-employed, and was fortunate in that I could be in my office in 2/3 minutes! I went straight back to work when I got home because I didn't want things to pile up. By and large I managed, but I found sitting very uncomfortable, and wasn't supposed to do it anyway. I kept on getting up and walking about. I wasn't particularly productive, and then of course the sciatica kicked in. I think that unless you are in a position of really being able to pace yourself I would take three weeks off, or you may just start getting depressed. In the end I started going for a rest each afternoon, and found it really easy falling asleep! If you find yourself relatively pain free, that might be just right for you, but if you hurt a lot you already know how draining that can be! Best wishes,