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Old 10-29-2008, 11:40 PM   #1
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hallesdad29 HB User
Smile spinal fusion & recovery

hi i am wondering how long this takes in surgery my surgeon said 12 hours and i was wondering if this was right. what is the recovery process like after an operation like this

 
Old 10-30-2008, 06:39 AM   #2
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Re: spinal fusion & recovery

How long it takes in surgery really depends on the extent of the fusion and what procedure they use. I had a 360 (going in from the front, then they staple you up and flip you over and go in again from the back) and had 8 levels done. I was in surgery for about 6 1/2 hours, but I had two spine surgeons working on me together.

Recovery is long. It can take up to a year or even more for a full recovery. Initially, expect to be mostly lying down for the first 1-2 months, then gradually being up for longer and longer during the day. You need to walk as much as possible, as that's the best way to get bone growth going. Since getting up and down from bed was the hardest part of it all, I found that it worked best to take advantage of every time I needed to use the bathroom, and walk, walk, walk, afterwards as long as I could tolerate. In the beginning, that was only 10 minutes. That's okay. Just do what you can, and slowly increase day by day as you're able.

There's a sticky at the top of the page called "post surgery tips." It's full of great suggestions that will make your recovery easier. My best tips: 1) get a good quality grabber tool. It will be worth its weight in gold your first day home from the hospital! 2) get a slippery, satiny type bottom sheet for your bed. It will enable you to slide to turn, much less painful than shifting your weight on a cotton sheet. For the same reason, put a plastic garbage bag on the passenger seat of your car for the ride home from the hospital. You'll be able to slide getting in and out. Put a large ziplock bag in there, too, in case you get nauseous. Whoever is driving you will appreciate not having to clean up the mess! 3) get a little notebook to keep track of your meds. You'll be groggy and in pain, and it's easy to lose track of what you took and when. Write down every thing you take, the amount and the time. I also kept a running list of questions for my next doctor's visit in the same notebook.

You'll be told no bending, lifting, or twisting. Take that very seriously! You don't want to mess up your surgery and have to go through it all over again! You'll probably also be given a sitting restriction. I was told not to sit for longer than 15 minutes for the first 6 weeks or so. No problem! I couldn't sit for even that long!

If you have other questions, you've come to the right place. We'll do our best to help.

Been there, done that!
Are you scheduled for a fusion? Just investigating while you make a decision?

I wish you the best,
Emily

 
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:09 AM   #3
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Re: spinal fusion & recovery

Hey there,
Just like blueatlas said, it all depends on the person, the surgery itself and what they are doing during the surgery. Unless you are having a bunch of multiple levels fused and or other things fixed during the procedure it should not take as long as 12 hours. My first surgery was about 7 hours. I had a whole bunch of broken bones in the lumbar region so that had to clean all that up, my nerves were totally pinched and tangled like my surgeon had never seen before, I had 2 slipped discs, a gap in my spine and significant lumbar lordosis. That is a lot that needed to be fixed and even with fixing it all and then doing a fusion it only took 7 hours. My second surgery was a 360 just like blueatlas. However this one took close to 12 hours. ONe of my screws, well come surgery it was 2 screws had broken so when they went in through the back they took out all the existing hardware, cleaned up the nerves again and whatever else, then they flipped me and through the front they performed the fusion with bigger and stronger hardware, I also had a plate put in at L4 (which is now broken), anyhow they did a lot of stuf during this procedure, they had to flip me back over again and do more work from the back. As you can see 12 hours is probably not what you are looking at BUT like I said it depends on what you are having done. If it is just a 1 level or couple level fusion and that's it, it shouldn't really take much more then 5-6hours.

All the advice that blueatlas gave you....follow it all!! It is so very important to take it very seriously. You do not want to have to go through it all again. It's not fun and as the surgeries add up, so do the risks. Basically, you just want to do it right the first time around. It can take up to a year or more to fully fuse. It won't or certainly shouldn't take that long to recover. The first few months are crucial. You need to be very careful. Even if you think you are feeling okay to say lift a gallon of milk out of the fridge, don't do it. It's the little things that you really need to pay close attention to. If you can have someone be with you for the first month, you will benefit from it immensely. I was forunate enough to have my Mom stay with me. My fiancee was in school and working full time so he was very busy and just could not do everything. My Mom made meals for us, helped me shower, get changed, put on socks, all sorts of stuff. It was great having her and had I not had her around I would have probably been doing things I should not have been. Walking is very, very important but be careful that you don't over do it. This is the rest of your life and so if it takes a year, it takes a year. You don't want to chance having something go wrong. No matter how bored you may be just remember that it's not so bad, you just need to recover that needs to be your focus. It does become a little difficult but you have to look at the big picture.

That post that blueatlast told you to look at is a great idea. THere are many great tips on there. I can give you a lot too. Just let me know.

Do you have a date or are you waiting? Let me know what's going on. Hope we were able to help you out a bit. Take care. Oh yeah, let me know what is wrong with your spine and what surgery they are planning to perform. Talk to you soon.

Best wishes,
Beachgirl

 
Old 10-31-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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laf761 HB User
Re: spinal fusion & recovery

Hi....I had a one level (L3-L4) posterior fusion w/ rods and screws..

They said it would probably take 3 -3 1/2 hours..It ended up being 5 hours..My hospital stay was 4 days....All the tips people have given are right on target....SATIN bottom sheet..the BEST tip...I left it on for 6 months, much easier to slide to end of the bed and not twist against the incision..

You will find the 1st month or so it's VERY difficult to sit for longer than 5-10 minutes...you'll feel very antsy and never find a comfortable place, lying down isn't great either but you'll get used to alternating... WALKING is VERY important for strengthening and circulation....and healing.....Drinking protein drinks are great too for healing...

Surround yourself w/ family and friends and don't be afraid to ASK FOR HELP...

Hang in there and be strong...Many of us have been there and are here when you need us.


All the best.

LAF

 
Old 11-02-2008, 08:41 PM   #5
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hallesdad29 HB User
Re: spinal fusion & recovery

i am booked in for 28 th november, the pain is getting so bad sometimes i cant walk,

 
Old 11-03-2008, 04:57 AM   #6
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Re: spinal fusion & recovery

Less than a month to go. Hang in there! You'll be so glad to get this over with and just be resting and recovering!

Emily

 
Old 11-04-2008, 08:04 PM   #7
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hallesdad29 HB User
Re: spinal fusion & recovery

thanks i know not long to go now, i cant wait for it to be done ,i have been in a lot of pain lately

 
Old 11-05-2008, 06:33 AM   #8
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Davegh77 HB User
Re: spinal fusion & recovery

All the best on your upcoming surgery.
I'm due for my L5-S1 Posterior Instrumented fusion on Nov 11th. Nervous, but anxious as the pinched sciatic nerve is painful most of the day, even with the oxycontin.

Read a lot of tips from this site lately and found a lot of use full information.

 
Old 01-28-2009, 03:52 PM   #9
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JDot HB User
Re: spinal fusion & recovery

Hello Beachgirl,

Four weeks ago today I had an anterior fusion. I would love any advice you might be able to offer! For example, what were you feeling at 4 weeks? Did you still need pain meds around the clock? How far and how often were you able to walk each day? Is it normal to feel most comfortable lying down in bed? Etc...

Thanks so much,

JDot

 
Old 01-28-2009, 05:06 PM   #10
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deviphish HB User
Re: spinal fusion & recovery

Emily it's YOUR old pal devi phish {billy} I'm back ans I miss you so very much.
How is every one doing , and how are you holding up ?
Please get back to me asap , I truely miss talking with you and the whole gang.



love billy

 
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