Hi I had a XLIF/PLIF 12 weeks ago. I am doing great. I was scared out of my mind. It's normal. Do your home work. You can read all my post. Go to search on this page, type in sammieismtlab. I have been doing a journal here. I went to seven doctors before I found the right person. It's all in the hands of YOU and who YOU pick as your surgeon. I was given a 50/50 with the now traditional PLIF and a 75% with the XLIF but I had the hardware but in via the PLIF. I had doctors want to do three level fusion to a two level fusion with a complete disc replacement to a one level fusion, but they wanted to do a PLIF or a ALIF to a XLIF. I had a one level fusion XLIF but I had the screws and plots put in with partshal PLIF.My doctor wanted to go slow and just start with one level, he said you can always do more later. I am so happy with one level. After 11 years of pain meds I am completely off of them. I get sore but ice takes care of that now. It will all work out. There are great PPL here. Just keep asking questions.
Last edited by sammieismylab; 10-01-2012 at 08:10 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to sammieismylab For This Useful Post: CT06405 (10-01-2012)
Because I am fusing yes, but in three more months I should be good to go. The PLIF because it wasn't the full PLIF did not hurt much. It's the XLIF that still healing. Go to you tube, type in XLIF. Great animation or the real deal of the surgery. I have a lot of energy, that has given me two steps forward 5 steps back. I am so ready to be back at work, but I proved to me this weekend that I am not there yet. One of those 5 steps back LOL. I posted my doctors name. If your not in Southern Cal, maybe there office can give a referral. Good luck.
The following user gives a hug of support to sammieismylab: CT06405 (10-01-2012)
"Minimally invasive" just describes the way the surgical site is approached. Most spine surgeries can be performed this way. It just all depends on what is being done, if there are issues that prevent surgery from being done this way, etc.
What are your problems and do you know what surgery you need? Is it a disc problem or nerve compression or an instability?
An MRI done two and a half years ago showed several issues, but none severe enough to justify surgery at the time, based on the opinions of 3 neurosurgeons.
1) subendplate edema at the L5-S1 disc level eccentric towards the left side. Disc degeneration at L5-S1 with moderate left foraminal stenosis and potential deformity thickening of left L5 nerve root.
2) Mild grade 1 anterolisthesis of L3 on L4; no spondylolyses identified.
3) Prominent hypertrophic facet arthropathy. Mild bilateral neoroforaminal stenosis partially due to facet disease and mild disc covering and anterolisthesis. No clear compression of the exiting L3 nerve roots.
My interpretation of this is that the stenosis and arthritis in 2 and 3 are what cause my occasional stiffness, but are not major and are manageable at this point. I have heard they are typical of many people my age (58.)
The pain I have on my left lower back side is most likely due to item 1, and is what I think limits my activities and flares up when I do much bending, etc. I think this could possibly be helped by a very minor surgery. But I'll have to see what the new neurosurgeon I am going to see thinks, and I may need an updated MRI.
Hi again. I am also 58 years young. I have had the SAME problem for 2 1/2 years. Six doctors said that it really did not look like much, but if they were going to do a surgery then I got six different ways they would approach this surgery. It was my seventh doctor that I agreed with. I am complete pain free. My left butt cheek only will get that pain in it when I over do it. I am only 12 weeks and still fusing. Best thing I ever did.
I personally do not believe there is such a thing as a "very minor surgery" when it involves the spine.
What conservative treatments have you tried? What are your specific symptoms and how much are you affected by them?
Surgery, even minimally invasive surgery, is always considered as a last resort after all conservative measures have been tried and have failed. The only exception to this is when there is bladder or bowel issues that are considered symptoms of cauda equina syndrome.
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: workinmom572 (10-02-2012)
I have had several friends who had back surgery where the doctor went in and removed one small thing that was pressing on the sciatic nerve, and that was it. No hardware, fusions, or big incisions. In all 3 cases, their recuperation was quick and they've been pain free ever since. That is the type of successful back surgery that I'd consider, and I'm hoping it may be all I need.
As for other things, I've tried changing my exercise program, physical therapy, 5 steroid injections in different areas, rest, all kinds of stretching and strengthening exercises, special stressless recliner chairs where I don't have to sit, ultrasound, ice, heat, back braces, and even a chiropractor (once). I'm not overweight, but even tried losing 10 lbs. to see if it would help. You name it, I've tried it. I got this in 2007 so have had time to try just about everything!
Nothing makes much of a difference. Athletic activity, bending, too much walking, or sitting all aggravate it. I can ride a bike, so I do that for aerobic exercise, but had to give up my treadmill, stairmaster, and elliptical. I'm only fortunate that I don't have to work anymore, as I can't sit all day or stand all day without really aggravating it. When home, I'm up and down, and I recline rather than sit when doing deskwork or watching tv. So it is very limiting.
Have you seen an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon for diagnosis and treatment? It may be that you need a discectomy or a laminectomy to decompress the nerve....I just hate for anyone to think that if they have spine surgery, even a very simple procedure, that it will "fix" their problems and they will be good as when they were younger and without any back issues.
It seems like, more than any other surgery, there are unintended consequences that people are not prepared for, and often are left wishing they just had the pain and restrictions they were dealing with prior to surgery.
Nothing in your MRI really jumps out and waves a flag saying "this is what is the pain generator." As you suggest, it may be the issues at L5-S1, but it could also be the facet issues at L3. But since you mention pain on the left side, it is probably the nerve compression of L5 and associated left foraminal stenosis. It may be that the surgeon can do a foraminatomy at L5 and it will relieve the pressure.
Yes, I've consulted with four ortho surgeons and three neurosurgeons for a cat scan, MRI, and opinions over the years. They were the ones who prescribed physical therapy and injections, which is the standard protocol before even considering surgery, as you mentioned.
Because the problem is getting worse and not better, I see a new neurosurgeon in two weeks. He is supposed to be very good and is the head of a spine center at a teaching hospital. The main thing I am after is a diagnosis of exactly what is causing the pain. If it's just pain from a facet joint, then activity shouldn't be much of an issue. If it's pain due to a damaged disc pressing on a nerve, then I think that's more serious and I'd have to limit what I do so I don't make it worse. If the pain is from tendonitis then I'm probably stuck with it, but I'm starting to think that's not it.
I was supposed to have minimally invasive double fusion. Just a few tiny holes, but I woke up to two incision several inches long as once he looked inside, I was more of a.mess than he expected. There is always that chance. Surgery is HUGE recovery. I suffered for 17 yrs before just having it. Tried and retried PT, injections, etc over the years. You may need a good 6-12 months to.recover and.you won't ever be your old self, but have to learn to move entirely new.ways and modify your life style and activities forever. Got to be willing to agree to.this. good luck.
[QUOTE=workinmom572;5066183]I was supposed to have minimally invasive double fusion. Just a few tiny holes, but I woke up to two incision several inches long as once he looked inside, I was more of a.mess than he expected. There is always that chance. Surgery is HUGE recovery. I suffered for 17 yrs before just having it. Tried and retried PT, injections, etc over the years. You may need a good 6-12 months to.recover and.you won't ever be your old self, but have to learn to move entirely new.ways and modify your life style and activities forever. Got to be willing to agree to.this. good luck.[/QUOTE]
Thanks workinmom - due to the bone growth required, it sounds to me like recovery from fusion is a long process. I have assumed that this limits the flexibility of the spine afterwards. Can you do more or less physically than before the surgery? Is the fusion repair "at risk" if you stress it too much with bending, twisting, etc?
Oh yes. 6-12 months for bones to fuse, and no more bending, twisting. My lifting is still restricted to.half a gallon if milk at going on 11 weeks and Dr said will be lucky if he says I can lift 10 lbs max ever again. You will learn new ways to move eventually so you will move but in new ways. But no twisting or lifting. I still can't push anything either. Told J may never even push a vacuum again, but I am a complicated patient. Good luck, and these are all.things.to ask each surgeon.