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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

That would be PLIF...posterior lumbar inter body fusion....I have been on the board quite awhile and have exchanged posts with lots of people. I think you need to be flexible in your attitude at this point. Some people are able to return to floor nursing, but many fusion patients are left with a lifting restriction after recovery. I had a three level fusion (L3-S1) in 2010 which was successful...and yet I have been advised to not lift over 30 pounds. Obviously if I go over occasionally I probably won't do too much harm...but if I did it on a regular basis I would very quickly develop issues at the L2 and sacroiliac joint segments.

The problem for you is that you never know when an emergency will arise when you have to jump in and support or lift more weight than is safe for you. You cannot plan ahead of time on having someone else there to do the lifting for you.

You would think that doctors would understand the physical demands of a floor nurse job, but they really seem not to!

If you do hope to return, the best advice I can give you is to give yourself plenty of time to recover and rehab. People get into trouble when they try to do too much too soon. They stress the joint that is attempting to fuse, and sometimes end up causing only part of it to knit together. I had a first surgery at L4-L5 for a spondylolisthesis in 2008. I was not working at the time, but my surgeon told me that if I were, he would tell me to be prepared to take off six months...I might be able to go back sooner, but that for many, six months is needed. And then, of course, even though you will see bone growth early in the process, it takes a year for the new bone to set up to the point tht it is set and durable.

There is a "sticky note" near the top of the page that contains many ideas of what people have needed in early recovery. I think it is called Post Surgery Tips. Most of it is not necessary, but reading through it will give you an idea of what life will be like in the early weeks post surgery.

You will find the first week difficult and may want to have someone around to help out. For most it is not absolutely necessary, but it is very nice. I used to tell people the few items I found absolutely necessary...a raised toilet seat and a satin bottom sheet so I could reposition myself in bed...but the experience with my second fusion was completely different from the first, that I now know that we all experience things differently each time we have surgery.

Please ask questions. A number of us currently on the board have experience with the procedure and would be happy to provide information.

Good luck.

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