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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Hi Twindragons - I've joined this forum especially to reply to your post.

I am a 35 year old female who has had back problems for around 10 years. My husband is military and lost his leg in Afghanistan 3 years ago - due to being his full time carer my back deteriorated very quickly. I did all of the conservative treatment available to me - physio, osteo, chiro etc. I eventually realised that in order to get my quality of life back I would need surgery.

My consultant took one look at my MRI and recommended a fusion due to lumbar spondylosis and spondilolisthesis. I have permanent nerve damage down my right leg which has resulted in numbness. The pain in my legs, hips and back was at times excruciating.

I am now 3 weeks post op from having L5/S1 decompression and removal of posterior neural arch, decompression L5 and S1 nerve roots. Posterolateral fusion with pedicle screws at L5 and S1 and PLIF cages at L5/S1.

Like you I was absolutely terrified of having the surgery - the most serious surgery I had previously had was the removal of my wisdom teeth! I spoke with my consultant and after admission into the hospital also with the anesthetist regarding my fears. They were fantastic and put my mind at ease.

I requested a pre-med before the surgery which helped calm me down. The surgery lasted for 6 hours and when I came around I was hooked up to the pain pump. I requested not to have a foley catheter and was able to use a bed pan straight away. I was going to the bathroom on crutches the next day. I had my pain pump removed the next day after not using it at all! The only medication I took was the same as what I was taking prior to the surgery. The pain relief is immediate after the surgery. I have no pain in my legs at all. In fact the only pain I have experienced has been the surgery pain. I had no bone graft and if possible make sure you go with donor bone or genex putty (which is what I believe I have had put in). Apparently the site of the graft causes a great deal of pain.

My incision is about 6 inches long down the centre of my spine - the itching has driven me crazy at times. I have a wound assessment tomorrow where they are going to remove the steristrips - all of the sutures are internal and dissolve over time - I must admit to feeling the tightness of them but I do know that this is only temporary.

I am moving around quite easily now with crutches and I have to wear a corset during the day. I walk daily which helps the fusion. No bending, lifting or twisting for 6 weeks which is very frustrating. My husband brought me a grabber which has been a life saver. I am now helping to fix meals with my husband and have been to the store a few times. I don't have the confidence to leave the house on my own yet and I find I get tired very easily. I only take pain meds at night now and that is more to help me sleep. Occasionally I do too much during the day and have to take something but overall I'm far better now than I was before the surgery.

I was in the hospital for 5 days. My consultant has advised that I can drive after 4 weeks and travel after 6 weeks although I would check that with your consultant. As regards work as you are in a highly active role it may be as much as six months before you are fully fit again - it can actually take up to two years for full fusion. If there is a sedentary role you can do at work temporarily then you could possibly be back to work after about 6 weeks - again it is up to the individual. You really need to check with your consultant.

There is still a long way to go but each day gets better. I understand your fear as I was the same but trust me when I say you are doing the right thing. I have heard so many horror stories about surgeries however I was lucky to have an excellent surgeon and I also have a very high pain threshold. Each person is different but I am sure all of us on here would admit to being scared at some point.

Good luck with your surgery,
Ruth
[QUOTE=Ruth9901;4296331]Hi Twindragons - I've joined this forum especially to reply to your post.

I am a 35 year old female who has had back problems for around 10 years. My husband is military and lost his leg in Afghanistan 3 years ago - due to being his full time carer my back deteriorated very quickly. I did all of the conservative treatment available to me - physio, osteo, chiro etc. I eventually realised that in order to get my quality of life back I would need surgery.

My consultant took one look at my MRI and recommended a fusion due to lumbar spondylosis and spondilolisthesis. I have permanent nerve damage down my right leg which has resulted in numbness. The pain in my legs, hips and back was at times excruciating.

I am now 3 weeks post op from having L5/S1 decompression and removal of posterior neural arch, decompression L5 and S1 nerve roots. Posterolateral fusion with pedicle screws at L5 and S1 and PLIF cages at L5/S1.

Like you I was absolutely terrified of having the surgery - the most serious surgery I had previously had was the removal of my wisdom teeth! I spoke with my consultant and after admission into the hospital also with the anesthetist regarding my fears. They were fantastic and put my mind at ease.

I requested a pre-med before the surgery which helped calm me down. The surgery lasted for 6 hours and when I came around I was hooked up to the pain pump. I requested not to have a foley catheter and was able to use a bed pan straight away. I was going to the bathroom on crutches the next day. I had my pain pump removed the next day after not using it at all! The only medication I took was the same as what I was taking prior to the surgery. The pain relief is immediate after the surgery. I have no pain in my legs at all. In fact the only pain I have experienced has been the surgery pain. I had no bone graft and if possible make sure you go with donor bone or genex putty (which is what I believe I have had put in). Apparently the site of the graft causes a great deal of pain.

My incision is about 6 inches long down the centre of my spine - the itching has driven me crazy at times. I have a wound assessment tomorrow where they are going to remove the steristrips - all of the sutures are internal and dissolve over time - I must admit to feeling the tightness of them but I do know that this is only temporary.

I am moving around quite easily now with crutches and I have to wear a corset during the day. I walk daily which helps the fusion. No bending, lifting or twisting for 6 weeks which is very frustrating. My husband brought me a grabber which has been a life saver. I am now helping to fix meals with my husband and have been to the store a few times. I don't have the confidence to leave the house on my own yet and I find I get tired very easily. I only take pain meds at night now and that is more to help me sleep. Occasionally I do too much during the day and have to take something but overall I'm far better now than I was before the surgery.

I was in the hospital for 5 days. My consultant has advised that I can drive after 4 weeks and travel after 6 weeks although I would check that with your consultant. As regards work as you are in a highly active role it may be as much as six months before you are fully fit again - it can actually take up to two years for full fusion. If there is a sedentary role you can do at work temporarily then you could possibly be back to work after about 6 weeks - again it is up to the individual. You really need to check with your consultant.

There is still a long way to go but each day gets better. I understand your fear as I was the same but trust me when I say you are doing the right thing. I have heard so many horror stories about surgeries however I was lucky to have an excellent surgeon and I also have a very high pain threshold. Each person is different but I am sure all of us on here would admit to being scared at some point.

Good luck with your surgery,
Ruth[/QUOTE]


Ruth,
I thank you for your response, and i greatly appreciate it. :) GBU and may you have continued success with your recovery.





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