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Tuckerolson 10-25-2015 07:38 PM

Need advice on ALIF L5/S1 Fusion
Hey there, I have my ALIF L5/S1 Fusion scheduled for Nov. 3rd which is about a week away and I am very nervous/anxious/scared ********/relieved to be having it done. I'm just looking for any advice as to what to expect and also any advice on what to bring to the hospital to help out along the way in recovery. Thanks in advance for any advice. I am 31, 6' 175 lbs. and pretty athletic.

teteri66 10-26-2015 06:46 AM

Re: Need advice on ALIF L5/S1 Fusion
Welcome to the board. More important than what to bring to the hospital is what to be prepared for when you get home. I don't know how others felt, but I didn't really need anything while in the hospital. I was so drugged up most of the time that I couldn't concentrate enough to watch the television, let alone read or use my IPad. Everything I needed was provided for me. The hospital I went to didn't want people wearing their own clothes, so I wore home the clothes I arrived in, and wore their gowns and robes and boogie socks while there.

Try to figure out a way to calm yourself prior to surgery. It truly makes the surgery itself go easier. Of course you are anxious, etc. You wouldn't be human if you weren't! But try to figure out a way to relax.

Will you have anyone to help when you return home?

Tuckerolson 10-27-2015 07:59 AM

Re: Need advice on ALIF L5/S1 Fusion
I do thank goodness. I have a very supportive wife who will be by my side the whole time and a very supportive family who will be here at the drop of a hat to help out. I'm just not good at going into something and not knowing what to plan for really, but I will be fine.

teteri66 10-27-2015 01:17 PM

Re: Need advice on ALIF L5/S1 Fusion
Plan for more than what the surgeon tells you. Plan on the recuperation taking a good 2-3 months, feeling better at six months and at one year, the fusion will be considered solid and set. After the fusion is complete, when one exercises, the body continues to lay down more bone and the new joint ultimately becomes stronger than the original one....this does not happen within a couple months. If one is too eager to return to activity they cannot do now due to pain, etc., it often results in actually slowing down the bone creation. So learn to be patient. You cannot will yourself to heal faster or grow bone faster! Always think "Big Picture." By that I mean think what you want to be able to do in your middle and senior years in terms of activity, not what you want to do in six months. If you act very sensibly during the first 6-12 months, your odds of a successful outcome with long lasting results increases.

Some surgeons tell patients they can go back to all activity in a matter of months. Technically while true, it ignores whether it is the smart thing to do!

Be sure you have sweatpants or elastic waist pants for post surgery. You will not enjoy having anything tight around hips and waist. There is a "sticky note" near the top of the page entitled something like Post Op Must-Haves" that includes dozens of things that people found useful to have on hand after the hospital. Read through it to get an idea of what life will be like post surgery and often for several months afterward.

You will not be allowed to bend or twist at the waist and will have a lifting restriction of a gallon of milk at the beginning. You will probably be on pain medication round the clock at the beginning. A notebook by the bed or wherever you will be spending most of your time, is handy for recording when you take your medication. People often have trouble remembering what they have taken and when. This avoids mistakes.

Stock up on fiber rich foods and drinks as pain killers tend to be constipating. It is very important to drink lots of fluids.

The amount of time sitting should be limited to 15-20 minutes at a time...and some surgeons say only sit for meals. (ie, 3x per day). The rest of the time should be spend in bed, recline with lots of pillows supporting you or walking. You should plan on walking often for short distances at the beginning. The whole point of walking is to stretch out the spinal nerves. This helps to prevent scar tissue from attaching to a nerve as it is forming and filling in during the first 12 weeks after surgery. This is extremely important! At first, when you get up to use the bathroom take a couple laps around the house, or up and down a hall, etc. You don't need to go outside....just walk for a few minutes every hour or two. (You may be told but you need to walk a mile at two weeks or something like that...but that is kind of old-school thinking. There is plenty of time for that later. At the beginning it is so important to walk frequently and to not tire yourself or cause any sciatic nerve flare that giving an arbitrary distance is not the best thing to do!)

Enough for you have questions? I was first fused PLIF at L4-5 and two years later had a second surgery and am now fused L3-S1 with a little spinal reconstruction thrown in for good measure, so I have sufficient experience to try to answer some questions! But right now, I am off for acupuncture.

Tommy153 11-18-2015 01:56 AM

Re: Need advice on ALIF L5/S1 Fusion
Hows your recovery going so far hope all is well. In January of this year I had tlif l5-s1 fusion immediately after the surgery the pain stopped in my legs and for the first 3 months everything was good. Well at my 3 month post op my surgeon told me he was leaving the practice and by my next follow up I would be seen by his replacement well that still hasn't happened and im at 11 months with only one post op appointment from about 5 months on i have had the worse pain from the top of my butt crack up to the middle of my back which is all new since the surgery i am afraid something is wrong but no one will touch me because it hasn't been a year yet. So a month ago I called Duke where i had the surgery and explained my situation while I was on the phone i asked the girl what I needed to do to get a prescription for pain medication (used to just send email request and it was mailed and delivered by the next day) well she told me I would have to see the new doctor first but told me she would call me back shortly with an appointment for the next day or two. I was very happy. 5 min later I got a call from the head of neurosurgery telling me that the neurosurgeons didn't have time to deal with someones pain problems I tried to tell him I didnt care about the meds I just wanted to get checked he told me if I was that concerned to go to my primary he can read an xray well needless to say I flipped out on him and used the f word (according to the phone transcript) 21 times in a min a minute and a half. After that call i was gonna be discharged and was told I would never be seen by another Duke Dr again. I ended up calling the head of all duke medical facilities and told him what happened he told me I was indeed being discharged for verbally abusing the staff he told me he had the phone transcript right in front of him so i told him to mail it to me so i could bring it to my attorney because it was funny that the only reason I got mad was because the guy pretty much accused me of being a drug seeker and told me I was discharged for that. So anyway the next day i got a call from someone at duke asking if I still wanted an appointment . Anyway my point is no matter how much research and advice u get you never know what the future holds i checked every neurosurgeon in the state till i found the best one which he was great unfortunately he left abruptly but now I'm in a lot of pain and no one will see me for another month.

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