Discussions that mention morphine

Back Problems board

Hi all,

I added a post last week (or maybe the week before...can't remember) when I was so scared and freaked out to learn I had to have a two level lumbar fusion... A couple of you helped to ease my mind and now I have the whole procedure outlined to me. I would like to see if any of you have had this and if any advice would appropriate!!

I was most fearful of the IC graft, but he is not going to do that. My procedure will be an L4-5 and L3-4 fusion using bone dowels, my own lamina bone (??) on the sides with pedicle screws and rods. I did ask if they were the infamous Harrington Rods and the nurse said no. I also asked (thanks to you all here) if the hardware would have to be removed and he said no, it would stay in.

He told me this is a "really big deal" and a four hour surgery. He said I would be a world of pain the first three days and pretty uncomfortable for about a month. I will not have to have any blood transfusions and the brace I wear after the surgery will be the velcro type with the "warm and form" insert. (I'm pretty pleased about that, too).

I am concered whether I can take the pain because when I had the same levels decompressed back in 1995 with a full fat graph (incised from my upper buttock) I thought I would die from the pain. He said I would have IV meds till I could tolerate the pain and about a 3 - 5 day hospital stay. He said they wouldn't let me go til I could walk. (whatever that means). I would be discharged on valium and percocet. I am concered that percocet is not strong enough as I am taking it now and sometimes it barely cuts the pain enough to sleep. Anyone ever use a morphine patch?? Or something like that? My ex husband had gastro bypass surgery and they gave him a morphine patch because he couldn't keep the oral meds down...

Anyways, sorry to ramble on and on, but anyone out there who has had this or similar that wants to share info, would be great! The surgery isn't til Dec. 17, so I have some time to get ready. With any luck at all I will be home by Christmas..

Thanks to everyone who responds. I have learned that to respond back to YOUR responses I must type back on this page. I will do that tomorrow, if anyone writes. Thanks again and talk to you all later..

Mary in Iowa
Hi Mary,

I am having a two level lumbar fusion on 12/6/02.
When I'm able, I will be posting about my experience.

I'm having L 2-3 & L5-S1 fused.
Iliac crest bone graft (my own bone,pelvic)
Titanium BAK cages,rods and pedicle screws.

I was told I don't have to wear a brace, as he thinks the cages are enough support.

I also am really worried about what pain meds I will need at home.
I know the Vicodin I take now, won't even touch the pain.
I am also going to ask about the morphine patches.

I got some good news today, the bone stimulator he is prescribing me, will only have to be worn 1/2 hour a day,for 9 months, compared to the ones that are prescribed for 12-24 hours a day for 9 months.
He said it was top of the line, a real cadillac !

I wish you well, and I will catch up with you later.


[This message has been edited by BAXTER (edited 12-02-2002).]
Hi Mary:

I had my third fusion this past Feb and was on a morphine drip for four days and then sent home with hydrocodone 750's. I took them around the clock for about three months. I tapered down a bit, but things went downhill for me after that and pain got worse. I went to a pain dr and they put me on fentanyl patches which I am on now 50mcg. The are effective, but I'm not sure about dr's sending home patients with them. They are used mostly for patients with chronic pain, for they are the highest dose of narcotic available. I would speak to your dr and I'm sure he will be able to ease your anxiety. The success of your surgery as, Pebbles mentioned, should be enough with the percocet or vicoden dosages. I did wear a brace from my armpits down to my left leg for three months, but I had 6 vertebra fused going down to S1. Keep positive thoughts for they are important and let us know how things go...Jo H.

1979: Fell from scaffold onto gymnasium floor. Decompression Laminectomy L1-L3 w/Spinal Fusion and Harrington Rods Insertion.
1992: Harrington rod breakage and dislodging. Removal and refitted with smaller hardware and re fused.
2001: Pain Again. MRI inconclusive due to hardware
2001: Diskogram shows bulging and DDD at L4-S1 due to domino effect
2002 Feb: 10 hr. surgery. 360 fusion and hardware extended with "connector" to S1. 3 Titanium cages placed anteriorally. Fused from L1-S1.
2002 Sept: Pain worse than before surgery.
2002 Oct: EMG shows damage to L5 and S1
2002 Oct: CT Myelogram ordered.

Duragesic Patch 50 mg
Morphine Sulf 15mg for bt pain
Nitrofurantoin for UTI prevention

Believing God will heal me!
Hi, Mary. I had a fusion (L5, S1) in May and am still on the road to recovery. The surgery lasted a little less than 5 hours and I was in the hospital for 4 1/2 days. I went home with a 'turtle shell' brace-hard, rigid, unbendable. I was in that for 6 weeks. I was on a Morphine pump for just the first few days and after that until about a week or so after coming home, just Vicodin as needed. I still only take occasional Vicodin. I had the bone grafting from my IC-but my doctor did it through the original incision so there wasn't any separate incision made. I didn't even know which bone he took it from and it's only recently given me any pain. I have 5 screws in my spine and I can feel them on occasion. If I over-do or sometimes just out of the blue, I get the pain that I had before and sometimes it's different and in different areas. I had researched, and had had so many other procedures done before surgery even became an option, and at that point, it was either try it or end up in a wheelchair. I wish you lots of luck-make sure you let us know how you're doing! PG
Mary ..
I forgot to mention what lots of peeps her have mentioned that you will have a morphine pain pump to help you in the first couple of days..

Mary don't you dare just put up with lady! if you are in pain in hospital you ask for something else and keep asking untill you get! It is not a walk in the park hon..

love pebbles xxxxx
Hi Mary:

I am caring for someone who had that exact same procedure done as you are going to have. No IC bone graft, but bone from the spinous process used as the graft with six titanium pedicle screws and rods. This was done Oct 15 and discharge from the hospital was Oct 20 of this year.

During the hospital stay, a morphine pump was used, but only for the first day. Tylenol 3 was used for the remaining hospital days, and for about two weeks after. After about 4 weeks, even the Tylenol 3 was discontinued. Residual numbness occurred for several weeks after surgery, and surgeon said it was the body not used to all the pain the past several months and the body thought the pain was still there. It was just a reaction that eventually will dissipate. sorta like phantom limb syndrome. Pain level is now down to 5% or less, but still tired in the evening and still need to lie down after a long day. Could climb up a whole flight of stairs after three weeks.

This procedure is a fairly common one to do that lasted exactly 4.5 hours, just as the surgeon said. Of course, the first two days will be really numb and sore, but you really look forward to the future, as each day gets better and better. Surgeon said that normal daily activities can resume in 4 - 6 months.

best of luck on your surgery. hope to hear from you afterwards!