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Back Problems Message Board


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My situation was slightly different. I first had a PLIF at L4-L5, and then two years later had surgery to fuse L3 to S1. The hardware was not compatible with new hardware so my surgeon had to take out the pedicle screws and rods at L4-L5 and then replace it with new pedicle screws and longer rods.

In my case, this "revision" surgery was much more complicated than the first, and yet my immediate recovery was much less intense. To this day I cannot figure out why the second experience was so much easier.

Once you get over the initial recovery from the surgery itself, you will not notice much difference. L5-S1 is already connected to the sacrum which is fused into a solid block and doesn't carry much movement of the spine.

Where you may notice it initially will be in the sacroiliac joints, which will now be the first area that is capable of movement beyond the immovable block of L3-S1. The SI joints are not designed to have much movement, so initially after surgery and in recovery, they may become sore and act up as they get used to the demands of their new job.;)

I have no way of knowing if my experience was typical, but I felt much better from the recovery room on after my revision fusion. Once I got home, my husband had a difficult time with me because I kept wanting to go out for dinner. I didn't feel at all ill and my sciatic pain was gone for the first time in about six years...so I guess I felt like celebrating!

I did do a couple things differently. In my case, I regarded this surgery as my last chance to resolve my problems. I had run out of options, so I decided to try everything in my power to help to make my surgery a success. I used a CD for preparing for surgery that I listened to every night before falling asleep. I only had a chance to listen to it about four times because I didn't get it any earlier...but I think it made a difference. I was completely relaxed going into surgery. The nurses in pre-surgery and again in post-op commented on how calm I was, and then how quickly I woke up from anesthesia and was relaxed, cheerful and in control. The anesthesiologist told me he had such an easy time with me because my blood pressure stayed so even thoroughout the surgery...and because I was relaxed, I had very little blood loss because my heart wasn't pumping hard.

I'll never know if listening to this CD really helped, but it is the only thing I did differently from my first fusion.

It is important for you to do your homework and know that your surgery is necessary, that you have the right surgeon for the job and that you are comfortable with your decision to proceed. Once that hard work is done, try to relax, put your trust in your surgeon and believe that this will be a success.

Good luck.





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