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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


hello
i am brand new to this site , and support all that are unfortunately on here ! i am scheduled to have a lumbar back fusion in 14 days , i had a decompresion "lamectomy" spelling off - in 2004.. my back has ben killing me for the last 5 months and had a number of tests in the last 2 months :
mri - discogram - mylegram - ekg <> they all were positive , 2 herniations at both levels , stenosis , nerve compression. my roght leg is numb along with my right butt cheek , i'm in tons of pain and have not worked since 11/07. if anybody can tell me what to expect after my surgery and the recovery time , i would appreciate that.. i'm on oxycodone 7.5/325 for pain and it just does'nt work for me !!
god bless evrybody that has to deal with suffering in there lives !!!
Hello and welcome to the board. Glad you found us, but sorry you're joining the bad back club.

I just had a one level fusion at L4-5 4 weeks ago, so I can tell you a few things while it is fresh in my mind!

I think the most important element of this procedure is to be sure you have found a well-qualified, fellowship-trained spinal surgeon. Fusion surgeries have become the second-most frequently performed surgery in the United States, and as a result, there are many surgeons out there doing the fusions that do not have additional spinal training.

If there were any questions in your mind about the procedure you're having, I hope you have gotten more than one opinion. I assume you are comfortable with the findings since you have made a date for surgery!

As I stated, I had a one level fusion 4 weeks ago. Perhaps due to the fact that I had read so many threads on this board, I was expecting a great deal of pain. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well I have felt ever since having the surgery.

Of course they kept me suitably medicated in the hospital. I was in the hospital for 3 days and then came home. (Be sure to read the "sticky" note near the top of the first page that lays out what to do after surgery to make your home more comfortable for you. It has TONS of good ideas that will make your life easier!!) I had put satin sheets on my bed which made turning over a breeze. In the hospital it felt like I had velcro holding me to the sheets. This was the single best tip I got from the sticky note post!!

I have been healing according to schedule and have really felt quite well since I got home. I am babying myself to some extent, taking it easy...resting a lot, letting my husband do the cooking. We are having the snowiest winter in years so I have been content to stay indoors and watch it through the windows!! I walk through the house for exercise at this point. In a week or two I plan to start going to a therapeutic pool and walking in the water. I may start physical therapy in a couple weeks. My surgeon is quite lax about this sort of thing.

I cannot tell you how long your recovery will be. They say you need to be careful for the first year and that the nerves may not be healed for 18 -24 months.

I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences. So far the whole experience has been better than I was anticipating!
My surgery was 3 1/2 hours long. It was a PLIF using a cage and BMP and my own bone from the laminectomy. My incision is about 5" on my back. To tell you the truth I don't remember much from being in the hospital. They kept me sufficiently medicated that I slept or napped most of the time when I wasn't in PT.

I had my surgery on a Monday evening and went home on a Thursday at 4 pm. I was able to go up and down stairs almost like "normal."

Again, on the first page of the Back Board, about 5 threads down, there is a "Stickie" that contains many useful tips on how to arrange your home and yourself for post surgery. It is worth reading.

Try not to be nervous. You've done your research and are comfortable with your doctor. If you think you'll continue to feel nervous, you might want to get a relaxation CD that you could take along to the hospital -- one that includes breath work; there are a number out there that are guided meditations for relaxation and healing.

I'm happy to answer any of your questions that I can. Hopefully you will feel so much better after the surgery, that it will all be worth it. ;)
Hi Billy,
The satin sheet idea is a great one. What a difference it made for me! If you have some slippery pj's, that will help, too, as you'll be able to slide to turn and not have to lift or shift your weight. For the same reason, put a plastic garbage bag on the passenger seat of your car for the ride home. It will be much easier to get in and out if you can slide on the seat. Also, put a large zip lock bag in the car in case you get nauseous on the ride home. If you have to throw up, it can just be zipped into the bag and no one will have to clean anything up.

Once you get home, you're going to want a grabber tool. You'll be told not to bend, lift (usually no more than 5 pounds), or twist. Anything you drop will have to stay on the floor unless you have a grabber tool or someone else available to pick everything up for you. (And that will get old for them and for you real fast!) I used mine constantly. If the remote slips too far away, you can snatch it with your grabber. Putting on clean pj's? Get them over your feet with the grabber. Magazine on your nightstand that you can't quite reach? Use your grabber. Mine was worth its weight in gold the first day home. But spend the money for a good one. Mine was about $30. That one you see all over the place for $9.99 is way cheap and not worth its weight in dirt.

It's good to have a little notebook so you can keep track of your meds. You'll be groggy for a while and it's easy to lose track of what you took, how much, and when. Keep a log of all your meds so you'll know you have an appropriate amount in your system all the time. You'll need to keep up your pain meds in the beginning, even if you have a little time when you're feeling better. If you let the pain get ahead of you, it will take longer for the meds to kick in. You'll heal faster if you're not in pain. It's also good to have a place to keep a running list of questions for your doctor, times of upcoming appts, etc.

Are you having a back incision, front incision, or both? This is a good place for support. We're not doctors, but we've got lots of first hand experience and are happy to try to answer whatever questions you have. Like Marlosmom said, make sure you read that sticky with the post surgery tips. It made my recovery so much easier!

You have about two weeks to go. Hang in there! You'll be on the other side of surgery before you know it!

Take care,
Emily
[QUOTE=deviphish76;3429704]hello
i am brand new to this site , and support all that are unfortunately on here ! i am scheduled to have a lumbar back fusion in 14 days , i had a decompresion "lamectomy" spelling off - in 2004.. my back has ben killing me for the last 5 months and had a number of tests in the last 2 months :
mri - discogram - mylegram - ekg <> they all were positive , 2 herniations at both levels , stenosis , nerve compression. my roght leg is numb along with my right butt cheek , i'm in tons of pain and have not worked since 11/07. if anybody can tell me what to expect after my surgery and the recovery time , i would appreciate that.. i'm on oxycodone 7.5/325 for pain and it just does'nt work for me !!
god bless evrybody that has to deal with suffering in there lives !!![/QUOTE] I too, had 360 fusion at the same levels you will be having. My surgery was performed June 2006. Unfortunately, after the surgery I've had many complications including bronchitis and pneumonia. Due to the severe coughing the hardware shifted in my back requiring two additional surgeries to remove the hardware and the surgeon also had to perform a laminectomy (unsure of correct spelling). I don't want to scare you but I will be totally honest with you in regards to what I've been going through and have gone through-but remember each case is unique! I felt really good after the 360 fusion surgery... The doctors had me up and going two days after surgery...it would have been sooner but I had such a migraine headache and was so nauseous that I could not move the first day or so after the surgery. However, I was out of the hospital after the 4th day of surgery. It was not until I got the chest infection that everything went down hill. I also have an underlying thyroid condition that has been effected by the different pain meds and radioactive tests that were performed to determine the extent of my back injury... this has complicated my case as well. But long story short...after 3 surgeries I still have severe back, groin and hip pain. I can not stand, sit, walk or lay down very any length of time. I had to limit my driving because of the pain and numbness in my legs and feet as well as because of the meds I am on...the med that worked the best for me was Opana, however the doctors believe it contributed to my thyroid "conking" out...now I am on Oxycodone 20 mg, 2 times a day. It is NO WHERE as effective as the Opana was for me. Just last week I had an arthrogram to determine why I am having such debilitating back, groin and hip pain...I won't know the results until the end of Feb. (that is my next appt. with the back surgeon).

I can tell you this... this has affected my life in all aspects. I had just recently gotten married prior to the accident (2004) and to make matters worse I was injured at work-so it is a workers comp. case. If anyone knows anything about dealing with workers comp. you are at the mercy of a nurse case workers who is the person that has the final decision as to your treatment including tests, pt, etc. This delays the treatment significantly. None the less I am on my 6th case workers because they either rotate them, promote them or they leave because they are "gal fridays"...so my care is being managed by a person who probably is so over worked, underpayed that he/she has not the adequate time to review my file and my case is very involved due to so many complications. Just as an example, the doctors had thought I had developed a hernia after the first surgery...workers comp. scheduled me for surgery prior to me being looked at by a doctor who specializes in the field. However, I allowed them to schedule the surgery but finally succeeded in having them send me to a doctor to determined that it was NOT a hernia but a blood clot. (I certainly would not have gone for the surgery if I wasn't checked out by a physician first, but sometimes it is easier to have the surgery approved and then be seen by a doctor...and yes... it is putting the cart before the horse...but I had to do it to cover myself).

I have to say many people are against worker comp. doctors fearing substandard care, but I have to say my Dr. has come to bat for me and I feel is a very compassionate doctor and an excellent Ortho. Surgeon. Do yourself a favor, research your doctor(s), use stool softeners because you will develop a problem with bowel movements, do the stretches and the exercises that physical therapy teaches you...however, DO NOT over do it.
Eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids..., don't smoke- or be around others that do, it only impedes the development of new bone growth, know that you are not alone as you can see from this board...and don't ever be afraid to ask questions...and to express your fears/concerns to your doctor(s)... The surgery you are about to have is not a simple one...they go through your abdomen- move major organs and arteries...place a titanium cage and remove the damaged discs, ...then they turn you on your back, and replace the removed discs with cadaver bone/or your own bone add rods and pedicle screws to secure everything...the doctor was able to see new bone growth in me just weeks after my 360 fusion surgery.

Driving will be an issue for some time. I would recommend you not drive for at least 8-12 weeks after surgery, if not longer. I was unable to sleep in my bed, I was most comfortable sleeping in my recliner for the first 6 weeks or so post-op.

I wish you All the Best!!! And if I can help you further please, do not hesitate to ask...





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