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Old 10-31-2008, 10:21 AM   #1
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Question 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

I am a 36 year old female getting ready to have my third surgery on my ba ck. I had my first diskectomy when I was 19 years of age after falling when I was four months pregnant with our first daughter. I had several herniated disks in my lower back. Anyway, I have lived with pain for nearly 17 years now and back in 2006 I had another diskectomy now they are saying that I need to have a 2 level fusion and anterior and a posterior at the same time. Has anyone had this done? I know that I am in good hands with my doctor and I have had several docs tell me that this needs to be done. i am just a little worried. I have such bad pain right now that any level of improvement will be a blessing. Not only for me but my 3 daughters and husband as well. They have to see me hurt all the time and have to pick up the slack when I can't do something. I have a great support group but just have a few questions or you could say concerns.


If anyone who reads has gone through this or knows someone who has had this done please reply. I know everyone's experiences are different.

Thanks Tami36

Last edited by tami36; 10-31-2008 at 03:33 PM. Reason: add more to it

 
Old 11-02-2008, 07:21 AM   #2
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Tami.....Im sure someone will chime in but meanwhile you may read a few of my posts under Devon07...Im getting ready for the same surgery on Dec. 1 and I got some good answers to my questions...these people are great...oh if I remember right the weekends are kinda slow...so be a little patient and they will hook up up.

You have a little bit of experience on what to expect on a surgery for the back....so that may help you some....the doctor that going to do mine called it a 360 two level fusion (back & front) good luck and I hope this surgery brings you some much needed relief! 17 years...wheeew!

Take care,

Devon

 
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:49 AM   #3
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

where has my post been relocated to? I would like to be able to pull it up.

Tami

 
Old 11-02-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Hi Tami, and welcome to the "back problems" section of healthboards!

I had a 360 done 2+ years ago. My first fusion was done only through the back 30 some odd years ago. The Anterior/Posterior is a harder recovery, since you'll have painful incisions in both the front and back, but it has a higher success rate. I was at higher risk of non-fusion due to the number of levels I was having done (8 this go round), but with the 360 method, BMP, a bone growth stimulator, and a lot of people praying for me, I was already showing bone growth at only 6 weeks post op! At 6 months, I was fully fused.

I recommend that you read the sticky post at the top of the page called, "Post Surgery Tips." It has lots of great suggestions that will make your recovery easier.

Those of you who are regulars here must be tired of reading my same suggestions over and over, but they were the ones that helped me the most, so here goes again:

Out of all the suggestions people gave me, the best one was to get a grabber tool. My grabber was worth what I paid for it the first day home from the hospital. Do spend the money to get a good one. Mine was $30 at my local pharmacy. I tried a cheapy one, too, because it was a third of the price, but it wasn’t worth a nickel. It was really flimsy. I ended up returning it and got a good one instead.

Also, get yourself a little notebook to keep track of your meds. You’ll be groggy and in pain, so it will be easy to lose track of what you took and when. Write down everything you take! You’ll need to stay on top of your pain by taking your meds exactly as ordered. Don’t try to wean off them too quickly. You’ll heal better if your pain is under control. I kept a running list of questions for my doctor in the same little notebook, as well as notes to myself so I wouldn’t forget things in my fog during those first weeks.

I got a set of satin sheets (well, a cheap imitation) for my bed and some slippery pj’s. It was SO much less painful to be able to slide to turn instead of fighting the friction of cotton. This really was one of the best things I did for myself! I did end up taking off the satin top sheet and put the cotton one back on. The satin one slid out from being tucked in too easily, and it was way too hard for me to re-tuck it myself.

For the same reason, that is, so you don't have to fight friction, put a plastic garbage bag in your car for the ride home from the hospital. You can slide on the seat and it will be much easier. Also, put a ziplock bag in the car in case you feel nauseous on the way home. If you need to throw up, you can just zip in the mess and no one will have to clean anything up.

Check with your insurance company to see what equipment they’ll provide. A toilet riser is very helpful. My insurance company provided a portable bedside commode, which can be placed right over a regular toilet. You just take out the bucket and don't use it. No one has to clean anything out, but you have a higher seat and arm rests to help you get up and down. Flushable wet wipes are also very handy. You’ll be weak and it may be hard to reach, so you’ll feel a bit cleaner if you use those. The hospital or insurance company may give you other little goodies, too, like dressing tools and stuff. I found my grabber much easier to use than the dressing tool, but try it and see what works for you.

Since you will have a front incision, keep a small, firm throw pillow handy all the time. You can also use a folded up blanket or towel. Place it directly over your front incision. (Well, over your clothes, of course). When you need to turn, cough, sneeze, or laugh, press down on the pillow to “splint” the incision. It really helps to lessen the pain!

You can expect to be mostly lying down for the first weeks, maybe even 2-3 months, depending on your particular case. Most of our healing takes place during sleep, so you really need to get enough rest. (That’s one reason why little kids heal so fast and old people heal much more slowly.) You need to walk, though, to get a good fusion going. Walking increases blood flow to the spine, which is essential for bone growth. Getting up and down from bed will be hard at first, so take advantage of already being up anytime you need to use the bathroom and walk, walk, walk. Even if you just do laps around your bedroom, walk for as long as you can tolerate. At first, that might only be 10 minutes. That’s fine! Then lie back down and rest.

If you have any particular questions, please ask away. We'll do our best to help you from our own experiences. We aren't doctors, we've just already been where you are!

I wish you the best,
Emily

 
Old 11-02-2008, 02:20 PM   #5
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Thanks for you insight, by the way if you do not mind me asking, how long were you in the hospital and how long was your sugery?
Tami

 
Old 11-03-2008, 04:56 AM   #6
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

My surgery took about 6 1/2 hours with two spine specialists and one general surgeon working on me. I was in the hospital for 8 days, but that's longer than usual. I had complications from the anesthesia and wasn't allowed out of bed for the first 5 days. Most people are in for 3-5 days.

Blessings,
Emily

 
Old 11-03-2008, 06:20 AM   #7
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Hi Tami! Welcometo the boards. I notice you are from Anna-I used to live in Plano. Where are you having your surgery done? I used Dr. Stephen Courtney and had the surgery at Baylor in Plano. I had a 360 two level fusion done in July of 2006. My surgery went great-about 41/2 hours and 5 days in the hospital. I am seeing a pain management doctor now for scar tissue that developed around the nerve root. He said it was one of the best fusions he had seen because I am so flexible and active(I ca bend forward and touch palms flat to the floor-tho why I would ever want to I don't know-LOL). The scar tissue wasn't the dotors fault-it is just how my body healed.
I will be praying for you!
Stay in touch with us here-this group got me through my surgery and I came back to help whoever I could. Only someone who has been through this surgery can really understand what you are going through! That is what we are here for and believe me-I have been on here at 3AM from too much pain to sleep and someone else was on posting back because they were too!
Blessings,
Michelle

 
Old 11-03-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Thanks for your reply. I am having my surgery done at the Texas Back Institute at Plano Presbitarian Hospital.

Tami

 
Old 11-05-2008, 05:29 AM   #9
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Hi tami and welcome I had this surgery in March of this year. I was in surgery for 12 and a half hours but the one to do my surgery this time was not the one that did the first so they said they had alot to clean up. I had a PLIF in 2002 and the fusion never took causing the screws to break in 2007. I was in the hospital for 5 days it took so long cause they ddint want me getting up until i had my brace. I am now 7 months post op and i am doing good really no pain at all. I have not gone back to work cause it is really hard i cannot stand longer than 4 hours or more like 3 so it makes it really hard to find something that works for me. I am not sure if the fusion took this time as when i went to see the doctor in september they released me (at 6 months? ) and i asked about the fusion and he just said it all looked good. So i dont know.

If you have any specific questions dont hesitate to ask. Good luck!

 
Old 11-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #10
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Thanks for the reply. I am getting closer to my surgery, but it still seems so far off. The longer it seems to take the more nervous I get. I just try not to think about it. I started a list of questions to take to my doctor, can anyone give me questions that I may ask that I have not thought of?

Thanks
Tami

 
Old 11-15-2008, 09:44 PM   #11
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

I can tell you some of the questions I asked before my surgery:

Will I have a brace? If so, how long will I need to wear it? (Yes, 3-5 months whenever up except in the shower.)

How long to abstain from sex? (Hubby's question, of course. First answer: 1 year. Doc grinned and said he always tells the husband that because he likes to watch the expression on their face! Then he said the real answer is 6 weeks, and at that point, the person who had surgery needs to only be on the bottom and flat.)

How long to not drive? (6 weeks.)

Will I need a walker after surgery? (To be determined after surgery. If necessary, I'd be discharged with one. The hospital may also provide other equipment, depending on the insurance policy.)

What kind of metal will be in me? Will it set off metal detectors? (Mostly titanium. It probably won't set off detectors, but if you have a lot, it might. Some detectors are more sensitive than others.)

Will they use bone from my hip or "donor" bone? (Donor bone for me, plus BMP, a protein matter that helps get bone growth going.)

Will I be able to go upstairs once I get home? How long do I have to stay up there? (Go up and down as often as you want, said his mouth. But his eyes said, you're not going to want to. I went up and down once a day for the first couple of weeks.)

Do I use an enema prior to surgery? (No, they don't do that anymore.)

Is there a weight limit guideline for lifting after surgery? (Yes, 5 pounds.)

How common is it for the fusion not to happen? (Not very common, but I was at higher risk, so they did the 360 on me -- higher success rate -- and also gave me a bone growth stimulator.)

Is there anything I can take (vitamin, etc.) that will help me to have a strong fusion? Are there things I shouldn’t take (caffeine, ibuprofen, etc.). Is it okay to take my vitamins, Fosamax, and calcium up to the day of surgery? What about percocet? (There are no vitamins, etc., that will help. Just eat a well balanced diet. No ibuprofen, regular meds are fine up to the day before surgery.)

Will I have staples, regular stitches, or dissolving stitches? (Staples in the front, dissolving stitches in the back.)

Can I use a vibrating massager on my neck? (Yes.)

Is it possible to get a temporary handicapped parking permit? (Yes.)

Is it okay to use a heating pad after surgery for leg cramps? (Yes.)

What should I expect my limitations to be and for how long? How long sitting in a time span, how long to be up and around, etc. (Doctors tend to downplay this. Plan to mostly be in bed for the first month, maybe longer.)

First follow-up appt when? Make appt today? (1 week. Make appt after discharge.)

That's about all I can think of. You probably already thought of most of these, but it's always a good question. Sometimes even one question you hadn't thought of makes a difference.

Keep as busy as you can in the last week or two. It helps!

Emily

 
Old 12-05-2008, 04:55 PM   #12
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Question Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

This is Tami36.

I am getting nervous. My sugery date it is coming up at the end of this month on the 29 of December. I am having the 2 level fusion of the lower back. Is there anything anyone else has done to calm themselves down unil they had thier surgery? I can't seem to find anything. If anyone has any ideas I would appreciate it.

Thanks
Tami:

 
Old 12-06-2008, 10:54 AM   #13
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

It is me again, it is Saturday Dec 6,2008. I was awake until around 3 this morning because my back was hurting soooo bad. i had taken my 2 hydrocone pills that I am aloud to take and it did not even touch it. I woke up hurting even worse this morning

i have been reading on some tips you guys have put up for me to know before I have surgery, but does anyone have anymore. i need all of the help I can get to make sure I have everything addressed before I get my fusion done. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Tami

 
Old 12-06-2008, 11:13 AM   #14
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

I have a correction to make to the posting before the last. I said I was going to my post op surgery on the 16 of this month. Well obviously it is my pre op oppointment.

Tami

 
Old 12-07-2008, 09:11 PM   #15
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Re: 2 level Anterior and Posterior fusion at L3-S1

Hi Tami,
I just had my fusion (L4L5S1) done 12 days ago and before that had been on a cancellation list in hopes to get worked in sooner than my scheduled date...didn't work out that way, but in your case it might be an option.... I was so scared and nervous as you are now. The only thing I can suggest is to try to spend this waiting time preparing your home and helpers for your change of life style following surgery..I tried to place everything I needed at about waist level..soaps and lotions and shampoos, things that were in "below" cabinets I tried to place on counters so I would not have to bend to put my hands on them. I also found some bath wipes at a medical supply store that you can put in the microwave to warm for those times you need to freshen up but do not have the energy for a full fledged shower..I felt so much better when I was clean...I also did all the reading I could on my surgery..(finding this board was one of the best things) but try to keep in mind that EVERY one is different every surgery has its unique situations and not everything on the web is totally applicable to your personal situation...or even entirely accurate.... What I did find is that the things I read that confused or disturbed me I was able to write down to ask my surgeon about before surgery. Also if you are in pain as you describe (not unlike me before surg) ask your doctors office if you can be moved up if possible or different medications that might work better for managing your pain. Also I found some pre and post op affirmation mp3s that I could ******** to my player to listen to..they were wonderful to calm me down and to relax about the reality that I was soon going to feel much better following the surgery and that I was in competent hands...Im not usually a person who goes for this type of thing but was surprised how the soothing voice actually took my mind off the nervous feeling. I hope some of this helps just a little bit...Im keeping good thoughts for you
Lena

Last edited by NLena; 12-07-2008 at 09:12 PM.

 
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