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L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion


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Old 05-07-2018, 02:12 PM   #1
JerseyGirl53
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L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion

I am scheduled for surgery on May 31st. Wondering if anyone had this type of surgery. How recovery was. How did you sleep? Back or side? Ive had back problems for the past 15 yrs just getting progressively worse. Pain mgmt Dr did trial SCS and it did help. But when I saw the NS he said my back was too bad and I would be risking permanent damage if I got the SCS. L2/3 got worse between last MRI aand ct scan in Feb. So Dr said he'll do that level too in order not to have to get later. I have arthritis in entire spine as well as hips knees hands. Lumbar is worst. Moderate to severe lateral and neural stenosis, ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, endplate marrow changes with edema. I have 4 herniated cervical discs and 6 thoracic. I figured id better get this taken care if in case the others areas git worse.
Thanks in advance for your help.
I am getting nervous. I just read fusion is the 2nd most painful surgery. With open heart surgery being the 1st. Yikes!!

 
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:16 AM   #2
teteri66
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Re: L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion

Welcome to the board. I am currently fused from L3 to S1 (first fused L4-5, then about two years later, the additional segments were added on) and recently had a laminectomy to open up the central canal at L2-3 but it wasn't necessary to fuse that segment. I can tell you about my experience and give you some general information about what is regarded as "typical" but bear in mind that just as each body is unique, each surgery is unique as well.

Generally speaking, spine surgeons do not like having to fuse more than one or two levels, but, obviously, sometimes it is necessary. Multi level fusions are more unpredictable in their outcome and it takes longer to fuse.

The most important information I can share with you, other than to be very careful in your selection of the spine surgeon, is to give yourself plenty of time to recover. I cannot really comment on how painful it is compared to other surgeries, but to me it makes sense to be mentally prepared for the worst. Then when it isn't "that" bad, you will be pleasantly surprised! I will say that the first three or four days are the worst. They will not release you from hospital until your pain can be managed with oral pain medications and you can take care of your own basic needs...clothing, feeding and toileting yourself.

Will you wear a back brace post surgery? Doctors have different opinions on the need for a brace. I didn't have one for my first fusion but did for the second. I actually preferred wearing the brace as it was a physical reminder to not bend or twist or be too active.

Your movements will be restricted during recovery -- no bending or twisting at the waist, limiting any repetitious movement like walking on a treadmill, restrictions on how much weight you can lift or carry. You will find that it is a big surgery that takes a lot out of you. Many people have said it takes a year before their energy levels returned to something like normal. I quickly learned to plan only one activity for the day...I couldn't do a string of errands. Usually by the time I got up, showered, fixed my hair and makeup, I was ready for a nap! That feeling lasted for quite some time! For people with jobs, it is all they can do to make it through the work day...nothing extraneous for awhile. If you do work, be sure to plan on taking several months off or whatever your surgeon advises. Many people create problems for themselves by trying to return to work before the body is ready.

Random thoughts, in no particular order: I found a raised toilet seat and a shower chair extremely helpful post surgery. Be sure you have comfy loose-fitting clothing, like sweatpants or yoga pants to wear. You will not want to wear anything like jeans for quite some time. I was restricted to going up and down stairs to one trip per day. Since our bedrooms are all upstairs, we moved a twin bed into the den and I used it for the first couple months.

I would suggest assembling a variety of pillows in different sizes that you will use to prop yourself when you sleep and recline. Sleeping on your side is most beneficial, or on your back with pillow supporting knees. You should not sit up for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Sitting puts 30%+ more pressure on the spine than other positions so while you are healing, you must get up and move.

One danger of spine surgery is the formation of scar tissue that adheres to a nerve. In order to keep this from happening, it is important to take small frequent walks. This activity helps to stretch out the spinal nerves which keeps scar tissue from attaching to the nerves as it forms and fills in after surgery, during the first twelve weeks of recovery. I cannot emphasize this enough! It is extremely important that you walk around your house or yard, (up a hall and back like you are pacing if you don't have a lot of room) for a few minutes every hour or two. If you awaken during the night, get up and walk for a few minutes! At this point you do not need to walk far. You are not walking for physical fitness! It is important to walk frequently and without tiring yourself. Bear in mind, it takes energy to grow new bone. You don't want to tire yourself by being too physically active!

I'm happy to answer your questions both now and post surgery when you will probably have more.

One more thing. I used a guided imagery cd to prepare for surgery. It kept me relaxed and apparently it worked as post surgery I had comments from various nurses, etc. that I was so calm, that I awakened quickly from anesthetic, my blood pressure was stable and easily controlled, etc. I don't normally do things like this, but decided to try it...have used it twice now and am convinced it helps surgery go more smoothly and may make initial recovery easier. All I did was listen to it as I was falling asleep each night prior to surgery....

Last edited by Administrator; 05-18-2018 at 05:41 PM.

 
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:18 AM   #3
JerseyGirl53
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Re: L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion

Thanks so much! Go for pre-op testing tomorrow. I have my shower chair and 2 grabbers. Also a bathroom wiping tool. I'm ordering more things today. I've seen many people saying to get a satin sheet to ease movement in bed. I get really hot so I was wondering if you had this and was it necessary?
Surgeon didn't mention this but saw on patient portal that he ordered a bone growth stimulator. Did you use one of these?
Thought about ordering a bar for bed to assist getting in and out of bed and adjusting position. Do you think that would be helpful?
By the time I'm in hospital and rehab it should be about 2 weeks post surgery when I come home. I've been reading a lot about not being alone. Unfortunately I don't have a choice. I'm planning on asking social worker at hospital about visiting nurses. Other than that shouldn't I be ok? I have a friend that is stopping every day to help with my dogs and go to store if needed.

 
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Old 05-16-2018, 06:21 AM   #4
JerseyGirl53
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Re: L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion

Thanks for the suggestions.
My toilet is one of the higher ones. Would this be ok without a raiser?

Last edited by Administrator; 05-18-2018 at 05:41 PM.

 
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:09 AM   #5
teteri66
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Re: L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion

I didn't have or use the bone growth stimulator but I think it is a good idea with a multi level fusion. While a bit of a nuisance, it should help to insure bone growth.

For some reason I was more immobilized with my first fusion which was one level at L4-5 than I was with the three levels. I remember in the hospital, wearing a cotton hospital gown, with the cotton sheets, I felt like I was stuck to the bed with Velcro when it can time to attempt to turn over. A satin bottom sheet is not necessary, but I found it useful. The bar for the bed would be helpful IF it is strong enough to support your weight pulling on it. I am not familiar with the particular product.

I think your toilet should be fine without needing the toilet seat raiser. It only raises the seat a couple inches, which I believe as about the same as the higher toilets.

Assuming things go as planned, I think you'll be OK on your own once you get past the first week or so.

 
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:06 PM   #6
JerseyGirl53
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Re: L2 - S1 PLIF Decompression & interbody fusion

Thanks so much for your reply.
The bar will hold my weight. It has a horizontal bar that goes between the box springs and mattress and the vertical bar goes from top to the floor. I'll look into getting the satin sheet too. If I just get fitted one maybe it won't be too hot. I've started listening to a meditation so that should help too.

Last edited by Administrator; 05-18-2018 at 05:42 PM.

 
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