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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery questions

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Old 07-06-2009, 09:53 PM   #1
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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery questions

My grandmother is going to have surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Can anyone tell me how long she might have to stay in the hospital? She didn't bother to ask the doctor and hasn't called yet to schedule anything. I need to have some sort of idea so I can start figuring out how to rearrange my schedule. Someone has to stay with gramps while she's in the hospital.

Also, could someone give me an idea what the recovery is like for this surgery? I suspect I'll be made into a slave for several weeks or possibly months.

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Old 07-07-2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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Re: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery questions

Typically with older people who have spinal stenosis surgery, the recovery is very easy and they are mostly healed within a couple of months. This is a surgery that has a very high success rate when it's only stenosis due to aging. If there are other problems or complications it can take longer. It also depends on how many levels they are doing, and what other health problems (including obesity) your grandmother has.

A 70-year-old neighbor of mine just had 4 levels done and is doing great after just a few weeks.

Her hospital stay will probably be 1-3 nights depending on how she does and if she has other medical conditions.

Old 07-07-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
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Re: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery questions

Thank you.

Thankfully (for me, not for grandma) the surgery is scheduled for 5 weeks from now. She was hoping she could get it done this month.

Do you know what the recovery is like at home for the first two weeks? Last time she had back surgery I think she said she had to stay in bed for two to four weeks. I'd look up the information myself but reading about that medical stuff makes me ill.

Old 07-07-2009, 04:39 PM   #4
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Re: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery questions


I had lumbar spinal stenosis surgery in '06, but I was only 37. Of course for someone older, it may take longer to heal. Also, it depends on if she has any other conditions that could possibly cause complications, such as diabetes, heart problems, etc.

The usual hospital stay is 1-3 days. My insurance company allowed up to 3 full days, I stayed for 2 1/2, if I remember correctly.

Yes...the first couple of weeks are brutal, pain wise. Of course I was given painkillers, but it did not totally eradicate my post-surgical pain. I had a multi-level laminectomies, which caused my incision to be larger, so I guess it also depends on how many levels she is having done. I normally have to go down a flight of 13 stairs to my bedroom, but for I think the first week, at least, I did not even attempt to go down those stairs. I actually slept on a couch in the living room. If she has to go down stairs, I found it is MUCH easier to hold onto the railing and go down backwards, very slowly. It hurts a bit less that way. Until one has surgery like that, one has no clue just how many different body muscles are involved in walking, sitting, standing, going up & down stairs, etc. Every movement seemed to hurt my back.

She might want to get a raised toilet seat..a plastic seat that sits on top of one's toilet, that can be taken off again when it's no longer needed. Also, a walker, maybe a cane, definitely get one of those grabbers, maybe a long shoe-horn. I also had bought beforehand a mattress genie, which is an inflatable thing that you put between your mattresses at the head of your bed, and while laying on your bed, you inflate it, and it raises your mattress. THis helped a lot for getting out of bed. Whomever picks her up from the hospital should also bring along a large garbage bag. You can put this right on the carseat where she will sit...this makes it a ton easier to get in and out of the car because you can just use your arms to turn your body towards the outside of the car. It requires a bit less use of your abs/back muscles.

She will definitely need someone's help during at least the first 2 weeks, I certainly did. Ohh, another thing she should get is a large shower seat. I couldn't even shower for a few days after because it hurt too much to even step over into the tub. Then I was afraid I might slip or something. When I did get in, I used a shower seat. She may need help getting dressed. I didnt' ask for help doing that, but it sure took me a while to do it on my own. Another thing she might want are a pair of slip-in shoes that slip on easily. One is not even supposed to bend or twist for a while after surgery, plus it hurts too much.

I hope this helps and if I remember anything else, I'll let you know.

Old 07-08-2009, 04:41 PM   #5
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Re: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery questions

I was in the hospital 4 days. I was 55 years old. The first few days I was pretty tired. I used a walker the first day home. I was able to do things but I tired very easily. I would sit on the couch for a short time and then go lay down. I was thankful my husband had just retired so he could take care of me. I would have been ok alone by the third day if necessary. It was two weeks before I felt human really.

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