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ALIF questions (kinda long)

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Old 08-19-2004, 05:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1
mredwing HB User
ALIF questions (kinda long)

Hi all,

New here and I am looking for some input from folks that walk in my shoes. Sorry if this is a little long but I don't thnk I have ever pieced it all together until now and just maybe I am feeling a little bitter and some sorry for myself

In 1999 I was complaining of *some* back pain. Nothing major, just hurt, so I go to my family chiropractor. She works on me for several weeks/months and it is now not just hurting , but major pain. The pain decends down my leg, leaving my foot floopy, so now I am on a cane. Barely coherant, I can't sleep, work or live really. I am now in agony so my chiro orders an MRI which shows a herniated disc at L5-S1. Surgery time for me. Unfortunately, as I am walking out of my house on Feb 7 in 2000 to go to the hospital, the surgeons office calls and will have to put off the surgery until the 14th. During that week the pain almost stops - but I have now lost the feeling in my left leg. The surgery is done and I recover without complication. The feeling never comes back to the leg, I now have horrible leg cramps due to nerve damage and there is lingering pain from buttock to toes under that numbness. The surgeon tells me to lose the cane and stop complaining; I am malingering. I change doctors.

January 2001 finds me having what the second doc calls a 'redo'. The first one didn't get all the dics material so that is why I still have pain after a year. I still have the numbness which I am told will never resolve.

Although I have been fairly pain free with only an occasionaly episode of horrific sciatic pain since 2001 I now have recurring bouts of pain in 2004, sometimes lasting several weeks completely incapcitating me. I have had several series of epidural injections, take oxycontin, and celebrex. I have recently had an MRI which showed an almost total collapse of the minimal space left after the surgeries.

Because I have a enlightened doctor who believes I have a brain. We discussed this and he has given me a couple of options to investigate and then we are going to meet and talk. One of those options is an ALIF.

I have done a fair amount of reading on it so am pretty comfortable with what the procedure entails, but what I can't seem to get a handle on is the recovery time and the return to work time. I am hearing anywhere from 6 weeks to 6-8 months. Anyone else had this done? I am also curious to know if anyone can give me input on harvested bone from the hip? Synthetic bone for fusion use?

So thanks for listening. I try very, very hard not to complain and keep a cheerful and upbeat attitude, sometimes though ... I get tired.


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Old 08-19-2004, 09:31 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Posts: 184
Love2cook HB User
Re: ALIF questions (kinda long)


Hi, I had my ALIF L4-L5 on June 30 w/cages. I am doing great. Still some achiness in my back and some pain if I overdo it, but overall I'm fine. I would say for 3 weeks, I was really wore out. Then I started to snap out of it and begin normal duties around the house. I am a stay at home mom of 4 boys ages 6 and under. At this point, I'm doing just about everything. With the exception of carrying heavy opject or twisting and bending to extremes.

Eight weeks out and doing great. Recovery time isn't the same for everyone, but that's how it went for me.

God bless,
6/30/04 Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion L4-L5

Old 08-20-2004, 04:57 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 172
onthemendnow HB User
Re: ALIF questions (kinda long)


I don't have "back to work" input because I'm between jobs at the moment. I had the bone harvested from my hip though so wanted to comment on my experience with that. I had a TLIF on 2/25/04.

I'd read that could be painful so that worried me the most pre-surgery. It turned out I didn't have any pain from the harvest region for about 7 weeks after surgery. It began around week 8 and continued for about 2 months. It's now about 98% gone. It never got unbearable, but it did hurt. I was allowed to take Aleve because I was 2 months out of surgery and that helped a lot. Took a leftover pain pill (prescription) for a 'bad' day.

Work-wise -- I'm a computer tech, jobless at the moment. But I do jobs 'on my own' and got back to that in June. For me, I think I would've felt ok going back to work f/t after about 10 weeks -- not so much before then.

Also btw, my surgery ended my sciatica. Per my x-ray at last visit, the doc could see the beginning of bone growth. In general, I feel terrific.

Good luck!

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