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nero 07-22-2007 08:41 PM

Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?
In 2003 I had acdf c5 6. Now that my l5 s1 microdiscectomy of 2004 success is coming to an end, I am living with much cramping and hip restricting disc pain. Tried to have a bowel movement tonight and almost passed out cold from the pain elicited after that. I am very sure this phase that has onset is serious and much more intense than prior to my 04 operation. I am scared but don't want to live like this so will attend surgeon hopefully soon. In the meantime can anyone tell me what the procedure and post op is like. I am trying to go back to school in September and wondering what the down time is like. I tolerate pain really well but I have been prudent in never jeopardizing my own being sensible about it. Help...any inform would really rest my mind tonight. Thanks. NERO

SpineAZ 07-25-2007 08:33 PM

Re: Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?

You'll probably find more lumbar information on the Back Pain board.

I won't lie to you , I found lumbar fusion surgery more painful than the cervical fusion. Going through the back muscles makes the recovery a bit more challenging (in my view). But, I am so glad I had the lumbar fusion - it really resolved the symptoms I was having at the time. It's just a whole different kind of surgery and recovery.

nero 07-28-2007 05:50 PM

Re: Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?
Thanks Karin,

I was wondering about this as my microdiskectomy hurt more than the acdf did re: the muscles.

I had a really bad bout again this week after a visit to chiro where he was loosening my ribs up. When I got out I could feel the disc start to herniate l5 s1 and next thing I knew my whole abdomen was starting that choking hold on my hips as well. Today is day 2 and I cannot stand up straight and having called to the surgeon's office on friday (his secretary was very sympathetic and said they will call), I debated whether or not to go to Emergency. THe hospital is out of town for me but hubby and I decided i could make it through to Monday and call in,

Bascially this is getting worse and the bouts way more often. I cannot live like this and having had acdf with great results I know what I can regain of my life again. Unforunately, sometimes it is a large waiting list. I was looking on the web for the cost of a lumbar fusion in NY and one site said $50,000.00. Up here in Canada we don't pay but sometimes have to wait significantly. So if I can't I would consider asking my hubby if we could pay for it if I get desperate. He is a good guy and knows what I have lived with for seven years in and out of this life of chronic pain from either the top or bottom of my body.

Anyway, thanks.. I need to know what is ahead of me.. I find having information allows me to better prepare. I think I am going to be a very educated woman in the next ten years because there is not a lot of physical stuff I can do anymore. I mean I love to exercise but it definitely will have to be rewritten too.

Well thanks for the input and glad to hear that in the end you are feeling a positive outcome was achieved.

Nearly new............Nero;)

Fiona_Jo 07-28-2007 07:37 PM

Re: Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?
I'm so sorry you're having pain, I have been there and completely relate. I'm actually in a situation complete reverse from you I had a lumbar fusion L5/S1 in 2004 and on July 17th I just had a Fusion of my cervical spine - C5-C7.

To be completely honest and I'm not sure this is what you want to hear, but for me the recovery form the Lumbar fusion was MUCH more difficult. In reality ALL surgeries are difficult, but the Lumbar fusion required a lot more special accommodations at my home (elevated toilet/shower seat) and because they cut through so much more (the anterior cervical procedure seems easier healing wise). I think it also makes a difference on if you have a hip bone graft. In both cases I did and it was from the SAME hip (my left hip) and unfortunately that is currently causing me the most pain post anterior cervical
fusion (I actually don't recall that being THIS painful post lumbar fusion).

However, I have to say even though I had post-operative pain from the healing involved, I noticed a difference in my symptoms immediately - it was just a matter of healing.
The difficult thing with lumbar fusion is you can't do a lot of sitting; so that's something to consider.[/B] I can remember I literally having to time the amount of time I sat - it was actually a relief to get up and walk. I did make sure I was up and taking walks by two weeks post surgery. I think that is really important to your healing and I fused really quickly and well. I didn't have a problem until I took a huge fall and as unlikely as it seems it caused a shift which caused the instrumentation to hit a nerve and I began experience a GREAT deal of nerve related pain again and the instrumentation had to be removed.

[B][I]IA .. you may want to check the back board for more answers. I found great support over there as well:[/I][/B]


Keep us posted on how you're doing and I will check into the back board also. :angel:

tessaoz 07-29-2007 10:17 AM

Re: Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?
Hi, I am in Australia and have just had (4 weeks ago) a s5/l4 or lower lumber fusion operation.
I have a fabulous neurosurgeon who operated on me when my bladder stopped working and the sciatic pain was so bad it felt like someone was stabbing me.

I had previously had 3 x discectomy and laminectomy at the same site but they all failed.

The recovery is harder as it is a much more major surgery. I have had a bone graft from my left hip as well. This is where the most pain has been ironically. Not from my spine. A big shock to me. The first 3 days after surgery were pretty painful, but I had a pethidine drip in and it helped a bit. Not total pain relief. But I soldiered through with lots of encouragement from my dr about how good it will be eventually.

Instantly my sciatic pain was gone, I could feel all parts of my lower body that had gone numb, my reflexes came back and my bladder started working normally as soon as the catheter was taken out. Wow, what a relief.

Now, 4 weeks later - I feel fabulous. I am only taking paracetemol/codeine over the counter for the pain and an anti-inflammatory. I am also taking valium for the muscle spasms which do linger as everything that has been cut - re-connects.

I can walk great, sit, stand and lie comfortably. Only thing, car trips are still very painful and I am not ready for these yet. Driving the car is also a no no yet, but maybe only another 2 weeks and I should be right.

My neurosurgeon is one of the best in the world - Dr Mark Davies - Sydney, Australia. He has mastered the technique of minimal surgery by using keyhole techniques. These allow for quicker healing and less pain.

Best thing I have ever done. Don't have any regrets. Find yourself a top neurosurgeon and have the surgery - you will not regret it. I have seen on here horror stories, but I can only go on personal experience to give you my advice. Good luck and let us know how you go.

SpineAZ 08-01-2007 08:59 PM

Re: Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?
Keep your eye out for centers in the US that are doing testing of cutting edge procedures (artificial discs, etcs) - part of the reason I say this is sometimes that's done at a reduced cost.

GramaD4Deb 08-20-2007 08:48 PM

Re: Having had ACDF how difficult is Lumbar fusion operation?
You said you had both surgeries and that the lumbar surgery helped with all your problems, right? I am so confussed and searching for answers about having both surgeries. I am only 51 yrs old. In short I had the cervical: C4-C5,C5-C6,C6-C7 done on April 18, 2007. At this point the neurosurgeon says "it will take time there was a lot of damage done." Now I am unable to walk except short distances. I fall down alot. The last 3 fingers on each hand are still "asleep" and I have very little strength in my hands and arms. Recently I have had pain in my neck and I can "feel" the grinding again. As you know my back is killing me and the nerve pain down my R thigh and foot is bad. I also have foot drop hence the tripping. The orthopedic surgeon is trying set the date for surgery on my L shoulder because there is a 2cm calcifation pushing in to the tendon. I hate to be a complainer so I do not tell everyone the whole truth. Any suggestions that you have learned that I could benefit from? Thank you for you time. Deb

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