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,
well, well, well...much more than what i expected! Keep in mind that my dr. said I could leave the hospital in less than 24 hours...no one told me that I would have a pain pump, catheter, oxygen for 24 hours after my surgery! I ended up staying in the hospital 3 full days and was thrilled to be there! The pain is not bad, but the exhaustion is exhausting! My surgery was two weeks ago today. I am up and about and actually drove a car today! I am pushing to gain strength as I am planning on returning to work next Monday. As far as back pain,it has been very tolerable. I tried to stop the Percocet on day 10 & that didn't work. I still have to take one every 4 hours. I am taking a muscle relaxer at bedtime. As of now, I am very glad I had the procedure done. I will see my dr. at 3 months & they will check for bone growth. Thanks so much for asking about me. You are the only person I have talk to that has had the Axialif procedure. Let me know how you are doing too. (Sorry if I ramble...it seems I sometimes have hard time putting a coherent sentence together and typing a sentence is even harder!)
I am very pleased to hear that all has gone well thus far. I know I found it such a relief just to know that the first hurdle had been passed successfully. I, too was happy to spend three nights at the hospital. The first night my blood preesure fell low, which I gather happens, and they were concerned about my pulse rate, but that is normally pretty low. I was warned about the catheter beforehand, and if I was to advise anyone I think I would volunteer for a pre-op enema, because things didn't move without a little help until the day I left, and I was getting very uncomfortable by then!
My advice would still be, if you can avoid it, to avoid putting yourself under too much pressure. You'll just get tired and depressed.
I am now just three months post op, and I have been meaning to post something just to let others know how it went for me. I agree that there aren't many subscibers to axialif threads, and maybe this is because it is a highly successful procedure, or perhaps simply because the numbers of axialifs carried out is still a very small precentage of the total number of back operations. I suspect the latter is the most likely!
In my case, I started formal physiotherapy three weeks ago. Up to then I have simply walked most evenings.
Starting physio was quite a challenge! Suddenly being asked to un-do the no bending, twisting rules was something my body didn't take kindly to! However, I was surpised how quickly things began to loosen up, and have been doing the very boring exercises religiously as often as I can....
The sad news is that this seems to have triggered off a lot of pain. It could be the exercise ball that I started using about four days ago, but I have suddenly plunged back into poor nights, pain, and taking tramadol. I have spoken to the surgeon, who has advised me that this is not unusual, because I am starting to use muscles, and bend bits that haven't been worked for some time. I was relieved, but not entirely convinced. This isn't fun at all! As you know I have had problems with numbness, tingling and pain down my right leg, and this has continued to come and go, as well as other aches & pains, but tonight I have been very low, and really wondering whether something is wrong, or maybe I should never have had the op in the first place. I hope things will simmer down, but this is really a big worry to me. I had originally thought that I would be more or less fully recovered by now, and now I am concerned that I may end up on the heap of failed surgeries.
I have to go now, but I will keep you posted, and I am very interested in how things go with your recovery, and I really hope that it all goes well. Good luck!
You are right about all the aches & pains. I am doing my best to ignore them! I seem to have lots of "stiffness" in my hips when I get out of bed. I keep telling myself & everyone that asks that I think it is too soon to make a judgement if the surgery has "worked". I don't want to set my expectations too high & I don't believe my body has healed from going thru surgery.
You are correct about being under pressure & getting tired & depressed. I attempted to work out a little problem on my mom's laptop & was totally beside myself when I got done and went home to lie down! I am a very unselfish person, and I have been telling family & friends that this is all about me & need to take care of me. I am trying to block out all the little daily problems as I am doing my best to return to work on Monday. I have resolved myself that I may return for a few hours a day. I have a board meeting Monday night & I am afraid that if I am asked a difficult question I might just cry! (I am not a crier!) So, you are right about the tiredness & depression. Some days I don't care if I talk to anyone except my husband and daughter! So, maybe this will help you to know that someone else is dealing with this issue too! I hope so.
No one has mentioned physiotherapy & I am not going to think about it!
FYI...my surgeon's group had done 270 procedures as of my surgery date. Looks like the procedure is getting more popular.
Hope you are improving every day! Keep in touch! We seem to be two bodies floating in the big sea of Axialif! LOL
It's a few weeks since we exchanged messages, so I thought I would update you. It turns out that all the pain from doing the exercises is at the level above. i.e. l4/l5. This is a worry becasue I had understood from the MRI scan that this level appeared to be fine, or I would not have been a suitable candidate for single level axialif. Anyway, I have stopped doing anything other than walking and doing stretch exercises, and things are gradually simmering down, but I have been feeling very disabled and at times in a lot of pain. My next appt with the surgeon is 23 June, by which time I really hope that I am making progress! Speaking personally, I think my own expectations for a speedy recovery were far too high, and I'll only know in time with feedback from others whether my recovery, and associated problems, are fairly typical or not.
Thank you for all your news. How are you coping now? I am amused by the "has it worked?" comments....I have had similar questions, and I have given up explaining and just say that I'm fine! It saves time having to explain. One thing is for sure, and that is that it does take quite a long time for your body to heal. Two steps forward, and nearly two back! I look forward to your news. Best wishes,