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Old 01-30-2009, 07:45 PM   #1
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anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi
i will be having surgery in april 2009...have any one had anterior&posterior lumbar interfusion surery.and how was the outcome...my surgery will be 2 part 1st anterion which include a vascular surgeon along with the orthopedic surgeon.then to icu and next posterior lumbar interbody surgery..pls reply if anyone out there has have this surgery

 
Old 02-01-2009, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi Mckinney, and welcome to the board! Sorry you needed us, but glad you found us!

I have had this surgery, although mine was done all at once. They went in through the front first, stapled me up, flipped me over, and went in through the back. It's a harder surgery to recover from than just going in from one direction or the other, but it has a higher success rate. The failure rate is around 3-5%, so you've definitely got the statistics on your side! Listen to your doctor, follow his instructions to the T, and you should be fine!

Now that you’ve made the big step of deciding to move ahead with this surgery, it’s time to prepare. The more you prepare ahead of time, the easier and more comfortable your recovery will be. Be sure to read the thread at the top called “Post Surgery Tips.” It’s got lots of very helpful suggestions that will make a big difference for you.

Out of all the suggestions people gave me, the best one was to get a grabber tool. My grabber was worth a pot of gold 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 one called “The Gopher,” too, because it was a third of the price, but in my opinion it wasn’t worth a nickel. It was really flimsy. I ended up returning it and got a good one instead. But that’s just my opinion. Others here have used that one and had no problem with it.

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 to make it easier to move, put a plastic garbage bag in your car for the ride home from the hospital. You can slide on the seat getting in and out 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. Whoever is driving you will be most appreciative!

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'll 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 gently but firmly 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.

I had my surgery in Sept 2006. I had a bone growth stimulator, a TLSO brace (long plastic body brace, armpits to hips), tried to eat good well balanced meals, walked as much as I could tolerate, was not a smoker, and had a lot of people praying for me for a good, fast, solid fusion. At only 6 weeks post op, I was already showing bone growth on x-rays. That's very unusual, especially with an extremely long fusion like mine. It usually doesn't even start being able to be seen until at least 3 months. At 6 months, I was fully fused. For having 8 levels fused (this time) and having early onset osteoporosis, I consider that a miracle! And I was at higher risk of nonfusion, too. I'm not bragging. I'm just letting you know that there are good success stories on this board. Actually, there are a lot of them, but most of the success stories are back at work full time, going to their kids' soccer games, enjoying the movie theaters, and all that stuff. They pretty much don't hang around here. There are some of us here, though, and we're happy to answer whatever questions you have from our own experiences. No question is too big or too little. We won't sugarcoat anything, and we won't make up answers if we don't know. We may even urge you to not ask us on some things, but to call your doctor. So however we can help you, please post and ask. This board was such a wonderful help to me as I approached my surgery and went through my recovery; I hope it will be for you, too.

I wish you the best!
Been there, done that,
Emily

 
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Old 02-02-2009, 05:56 AM   #3
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

I had this same surgery and wanted to wish you luck...there really isn't much to add that BlueAtlas hasn't already....I was very pleased with my outcome....its a tough first few weeks but not overwhelming!

If you have any more direct questions I/we will try and answer them for you.

just to add something...Im not sure with this surgery that you will even have the brace BlueAtlas had...my doctor told be that this surgery is kind of a internal brace....I think Blue was the exception to the rule with her problematic back. (assuming) So you might ask....I was sure glad to not have one but I hear they arent so bad anyway.

Devon

 
Old 02-02-2009, 07:08 AM   #4
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi Everyone, Good MORNING!!
I had the 2 level 360 fusion in July of 2006. I did have a "soft" brace that wrapped around and velcroed in front. I wore it for almost two months anytime I was out of bed.
Devon is right-the first few weeks nobody can tell you how it will hurt because everyone is different. I do know that once I got out of the hospital I started healing faster. Home is always more comfortable than a hospital bed so don't get discouraged early on.
Emily (Blue Atlas) has been there, done that, has the t-shirt and proboably won a Pulitzer for the amount of writing she has done the last few years encouraging all of us throught these surgeries. The best HOUSE thing I did was move everything to the shelves above the counter so I wasn't bending and lifting or reaching too high.
Keeping the spreadsheet of meds by my bed with the medications was important too. You will be taking lots of stuff for a variety of reasons at all different times of the day. I used the sheet to keep track of when I took what so I would know when my next dose was. No waiting till the pain starts. STAY AHEAD OF YOUR PAIN. DOn't wait till you start hurting to take something. Pain stresses the body which can hold up healing. A resting body is a healing body.
We will be here for you!
Blessings,
Michelle

 
Old 02-02-2009, 07:58 AM   #5
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Ah, thanks Michelle. But YOU were the one who saw ME through this surgery. I'm just following your lead! Since I don't work anymore, I usually have the time to pop on here most days. ***REMOVED****.

Take care,
Emily

Last edited by Mod08; 02-02-2009 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Please stick to health topics.

 
Old 02-02-2009, 05:25 PM   #6
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi everyone
thanks so much all the repsonse.i needed that so much.
Blue atlas thank you so much.reading the response did heilp.
The pain i am in now is unbareble now.
I do work now 1 full time job 12hrs a days 3days a week and 2 partime jobs 12hrsday prn...
..will i be able to work again.
I was hoping to be back to work after 4 months is this possible.. The job that i do, i sit for 12hrs a day...

Thank once again.

 
Old 02-03-2009, 04:52 PM   #7
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

How many levels are you having done? Everyone's different, so it's hard to say how you'll be at 4 months post op. Some here have gone back to work sooner than that, albeit not happily, but they did okay. A few have had to go back within just a week or two. If you're having only 1 or 2 levels done, you may be fine to be back at work by then. I hope so! Wouldn't that be great?

Emily

 
Old 02-04-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

It will be l5/l4/l3 l1 down to sciatic ..

 
Old 02-05-2009, 01:29 PM   #9
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi, I had ant/post fusion of l3-4,4-5 for degenerative disc disease in October 2006. I am sorry I didn't get a second,third or fourth opinion. It was very painful and I still have the original pain. It has been a longgg road.Take your time and take care! I wish you all the best.

 
Old 02-18-2009, 12:54 PM   #10
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

I just had a two level fusion l4 l5 s1 with a disc replacement at l3 l4 on Jan 8th 2009. The surgery took about 10 hours. I was in ICU for 3 days and out of the hospital in 5. The first two to three weeks are really really hard. I am now 6 weeks post op and starting to see alittle light at the end of the tunnel. This is going to be a very long road to recovery. You are scheduled in April? What do you want to know. If I could be of help I will. The boards are very helpfull.

 
Old 02-19-2009, 07:57 AM   #11
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi Mckinney.........

Good luck to you on your up coming surgery. I had a ALIF 2 level surgery on dec 16. I am SO glad i did it. I was very apprehensive about a back fusion because I had heard so many negative stories. BUT....mine surely is a success at this point and time. I hope your outcome is as good as mine....good luck to you....

LYNN

 
Old 02-22-2009, 09:59 AM   #12
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Smile Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Hi Mckinney.

I had an anterior/posterior L5/S1 fusion in summer 2007. I'm not sure if my surgeon would have fused from both directions if it weren't for the fact that the whole surgery was necessary to remove a prosthetic disc at that level, which a different surgeon had put in badly some five years earlier. So I had the anterior removal of prosthetic disc & posterior fusion one week, and the posterior fusion seven days later.

I was in hospital for just under two weeks, but able to manage & look after myself when I got home. Others have already given excellent advice about gadgets to make your life easier: a grabber to help when things get dropped, a raiser for the toilet so the seat is not too low, etc.

Constipation will almost certainly be a problem, both because the surgeons will have moved your stomach around during the anterior surgery, and because it is a side effect of all codeine & morphine medication. So stock up on some stool softeners before you go in & don't refuse any that get offered in hospital... this is one problem you need to prevent because it will HURT if you don't!

When you get home, allow yourself to sleep whenever you feel the need. If you can, ignore the time, just follow what your body tells you: eat when you're hungry, sleep when you're tired. But do try to drink lots of water.

Finally: to help reduce the scarring, try using Bio-Oil, or any other vitamin E based oil.

Good luck!

Bella

 
Old 02-23-2009, 08:33 AM   #13
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Michelle,
Why ICU for 3 days?

 
Old 02-24-2009, 01:53 PM   #14
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

I was in ICU for 3 days due to the length of the surgery 10 hours. I had a little problem with my memory which was a little scary. My wife stayed with me for long periods of time just asking me question after question. It is a long time to be under. they took the breathing tube out about 24 hours. I ran a little fever and had a fast pulse for a few days which was very normal.

 
Old 02-24-2009, 02:05 PM   #15
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Re: anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery

It seems like people have failed fusions. WHY !!! what should you look for ?? I am seven weeks out now and the doctor said everything looks good. The two fusions and the disc replacement. I am trying to get rid of some of the pain so I can think about going back to work. I want to get off of the painkillers and muscle relaxers but I still have a trouble sleeping and during the day my legs feel like the 4th of July. I do walk about a mile and a half a day. Driving stinks

George

 
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