L5S1 I beleive. I had a laminectomy last year, didt help, then had a Diskogram done in December. So I finally worked up the courage to see my neurosurgeon last Monday and he suggested the fusion to get rid of the pain. He says its minial invasive, they go through the back, and recovery would be alot easier.
Hope that helps. Thanks.
You've come to the right place! There are lots of us on here who have had fusions, some through the front, some through the back, and some by both methods. A few have had the minimally invasive procedure.
Even with the minimally invasive method, this is a big surgery with a long recovery that will be measured in months, not weeks. That said, if you need it, you'll get yourself through it. I have had two fusions, and I would do them both again in a heartbeat!
You'll spend the first week or two mostly in bed, getting up long enough to wash up, walk around a little, and use the bathroom from time to time. Mostly, you'll be lying down resting, watching TV and dozing in and out. Your pain meds will help with that! You may or may not be sent home with a walker. You will be told no bending, lifting (usually a 5 pound limit, but varies from doctor to doctor), or twisting. You may be given a brace to wear whenever you're not in bed to help keep you from bending or twisting. You will probably also be given a sitting restriction. I was told to sit for no more than 15 minutes at a time for the first several weeks, but in reality, 5 minutes was as much as I could handle. Everyone is different, and the more levels you have done the longer your recovery will be. For me, I spent most of the first 2 months lying down on my bed (on, not in, as I'd get up and have my kids help me straighten it up everyday and then be on it so I didn't feel like I was "sick"). By 3 months, I was up for several hours a day, but still lying down a lot. By the 5 month mark, I was up most of the day, but still needed to lie down for a few hours in the afternoon everyday.
Pain is different for everyone, too. I was on Percocet for about the first 2 months or so. Then I switched to Vicodin, still strong, but not as strong as Percocet. I have a girlfriend who had a fusion while I was recovering, so we often called each other and compared notes. She was on nothing but Tylenol from the time she was discharged! She had a prescription for something stronger, but she just didn't need it. Others on here have needed meds much stronger than Percocet. But Percocet seems to be a pretty common pain med that fusion patients go home with.
Have you gotten a second opinion? I really recommend it, if only for the peace of mind that you've exhausted other options and that others are in agreement that this would be an appropriate surgery for you. If you decide to have this surgery, we'll try to answer whatever other questions you have. If you read the thread at the top called "post surgery tips," you'll get a lot of excellent suggestions for things you can do to prepare for this surgery to have an easier recovery. It will give you some sense of what it will be like.
Let us know what you decide. I wish you the best!
Stay- BlueAtlas gave you a very accurate picture of what it's like post fusion. She did mention (in this post and a previous one) that the more levels that are fused, the longer and harder your recovery will be. Like her, I had multi-levels fused; T5-L5, and other work done. So, I am still not physically capable as say someone who has had one or two levels fused.I am five months post-op. I do have some advice if you or anyone has any type of fusion done. I'm sure it's been written about before, but here goes- Before you leave the hospital, have these four items @ home, but keep the receipt just in case you don't really need them- 1)Raised Toilet Seat, 2) The Reacher or Grabber; this is the one that picks things off the floor when you drop them by accident 3)Dressing Helper, this has 2 hooks on one end; it helps you to put your pants on and socks on(they teach this to you in PT) 4)Walker and/or Cane. I found these MUST HAVES. Good Luck!! Vaneerraa
Another great tip and well worth the investment.....satin sheets...You will really only need the bottom "fitted" sheet....It helps you to slid to the edge of the bed to get up...Also if you need to turn in bed or change position it's great, your bed clothes...nightgown etc. tend to catch and make it difficult to maneuver....and believe me your incision will really hurt otherwise..I have found it invaluable..and the graber is a must. too....
Also slip your feet into your pants BEFORE putting on your socks...Your foot will slide easier into your pants...Then you can use the pant leg to hoist your foot closer to put your socks on...
The surgery really was't as bad as everyone told me it would be..the first 2 weeks are tricky and painful.....and you'll run out of steam fast..but it does ge better and better..I'm 5 weeks post...tomorrow...(L3-L4 decompression and fusion w/ screws and rods.....)
Vaneerraa is so right! Those 4 items are important (though I found it easier to dress using my grabber than the dressing tool). But you might want to check with your insurance company. They may pay for some or all of these. I brought a walker home from the hospital with me, paid for by the insurance company. I had already bought a grabber ahead of time, but they would have given me one if I hadn't. They sent an occupational therapist and a physical therapist to my house during the first few days I was home and provided a raised toilet seat, the dressing tool, and a few other handy gadgets. I have a mid-range insurance, better than some but definitely not great. A lot of companies will provide these items ahead of time for you so you'll have them in place when you need them. I had to wait so they could see that I did actually need them.
You are all scaring me now..haha. I had a laminectomy done last April, it was painfu but but the 2 week mark, I was pretty much myself. I do have my sons 6th bday party 2 weeks later. It is family, few friends, so I should be able to manage with extra help. I hope. Keep your fingers crossed.
Thanks for all your advise, and I will also check out the other thread.
You have already received some awesome tips and advice. Not much more to chime in on except Good Luck!
Did someone suggest get quick meals and have a small cooler put by your bed?
I don't know what kind of insurance you have but mine is terrific insurance and the only glitch I had was the raised toilet seat. For some odd reason they would not approve that. I was the strangest thing. They paid 100% for my surgery, my wheelchair, my walker, cane, brace, etc. but when it came to the raised toilet seat they said no and their excuse according to the therapist who was trying to get it approved at the hosptial.... they said someone else could benefit from the raised toilet seat it's funny now but at the time when you are just 3 days post op it was not so funny! LOL
Well, best of luck to you. Keep us posted, this place is just great.
DDD, Spinal Stenosis, Fibromyalgia,
ALIF surgery on December 10, 2007, numerous Injections, SCS December 2010.
Last edited by hearts4120; 03-12-2008 at 10:05 AM.