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L5 S1 fusion surgery

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24

Comments

  • 8 weeks out from l5-s1 fusion. Started with foot drop @ 1.5 years ago - tried several alternative treatments,: neurologist, chiropracty, yoga, accupuncture, podiatrist, surgeon. No one wqanted to do the steroid injections. Was going to have surgery last fall, but put it off till this summer. Lot of the pain I was having in thighs is gone. Legs however are very weak - stairs impossible. Also have desk job, but large plant requires 1/4 mile walk from parking lot, which I can't do - very frustrating. Used a walker the first 4-5 weeks, but now just a cane, so there is some very slow improvement. My surgery was posterior.

  • Booked in for anterior fusion on 6th November. Getting kinda nervous now, but the leg pain and restless leg problems are a constant reminder that I’m doing the right thing. The doc seems to think I’ll be back to work within 2-4 weeks, and back to normal activity within 3 months. I hope he’s right!

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  • Hi andyg

    I have just been reading this whole post and feel you have had a similar life in some ways to me.

    Back pain for the majority of my adult life, with areas in between where I managed some normal life, during periods of full core muscle support by constant exercise and a set gym program for my back. I became great friends with my osteopath, who helped me out when I got to 'top, middle and bottom spine pain'. I wasn't aware at the time, that my c-spine was degenerating as well, so just carried on managing, thinking these upper and middle problems were being generated from the lower problem. I had one MRI in 1995 when it was suggested I had a fusion in my lumbar, but I declined due to prognosis and the risk of other surgeries. I had a very young, very active 2 year old and would have destroyed any work done, before it had time to heal.

    Fast forward to 2013 and life changed for the worst. This time the herniation was so large, it involved my nerve, so no option but to go down the surgical route to release that. I have had three surgeries now, but the first two were conservative discectomy x 3 and a Wallis implant, as my surgeon was worried about my young age for fusion lol! I was knocking on the door of 50 on my second surgery. I made it past my half century mark before having the TLIF L4-S1 surgery. Guess I am classed an old enough now :-D

    It is a nervous time for you now, but please look positively at getting that nerve untrapped and saving it from permanent damage.

    I had surgery in June and it is a 'Slow but Sure improvement'. I have had some relief in back pain, the crushing, compacting awful pain that used to have me leaning forward over the back of an armchair to relieve it. I still have back pain, but that is my normal state, so accepted that years ago. The nightly nerve entrapment and cramp visitors have reduced to once in a while now thank god, so I can actually sleep for more than an hour or so, without severe pain.

    I have not heard of any fusion surgery that has such a fast return to work, so maybe prepare yourself for a longer period of recovery. At my two week point, I was just working out how to achieve showering and washing my hair without fainting and was still on Morphine. Maybe your procedure has faster recovery but probably best to warn your workplace you will be signed off for longer. Pushing too hard will just put your fusion and healing at risk, so work at your pace in recovery.

    Maybe you could join the November Surgery Buddies group or visit October's group and join in as your surgery is early in November.

    AJ

    AJGormit
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • andyg,

    Wanted to jump in to encourage you on your upcoming surgery. While every surgery is different, mine appears to be close to yours. I am 2 days out of ALIF L5-S1 fusion and L4-L5 decompression. My surgeon also gave me the 1-3 weeks back to work and 3 months to "regular" stuff. At this time, I can say he is right on. I am home walking and enjoying quiet time with limited motion and tiredness. The back pain of no (0) L5-S1 disc is gone and the only real pain I have is the knife wound in my stomach. Also having light tingling of returning nerves in my dermatone (shins) which makes me smile knowing I am on the road to healing. BTW, this is not my first fusion. 5 years ago I had my C6-C7 fused with weakness so bad a closing door would hit me in the face if I tried to stop it with my left hand. I made a full recovery within 3 months.


  • Wow am I frustrated as I am now three months post op on an L5S1 anterior fusion and have gotten zero results. My main problem was and continues to be burning and major discomfort sitting. After surgery I developed severe nerve pain down the backs of both legs and have had to take Gabipentan to relieve it. Just now getting off that med. I worked from home for six weeks. I had a lot of pain where they took the bone graft from. Now I have pain in my left butt cheek. I see the surgeon for my three month follow up on 10/23. Am really unhappy. A discogram prior to surgery had confirmed the disc was my pain generator.

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  • Hello all first post here. I am a 28 year old athlete I’m going toward the 2 week mark post op of L5-S1. I’m standing,walking doing great. My doctors are stoked Im stoked. No pain meds necessary ( I’m not a fan of them so I’m happy not to need them).

    However just 2 nights ago a new problem arose. Spinal fluid leak. The headaches with it are intense. Is anyone else dealing with this? Right now it’s not leaking through the wound. I’m on strict bed rest until Monday. But these head aches that subside while laying down are starting to creep in even while laying flat. Next option is a blood patch. Seems standard but I’m new to all this. So if someone has some words for me. I’m listening.


    Thanks

  • Hey Manzig,

    You might start a new discussion about spinal fluid leak to get more responses. I remember my wife getting one many years ago and they gave her a blood patch. It worked for her, but I don't remember what all was involved.

    B.

    Left hip replacement, 2010

    Laminectomy L5-S1, 2014

    Prostate cancer open prostatectomy, 2014, pT3b

    Radiation treatments PCa, 2016

    2016 back pain returns

    2016-17 pain management

    Left hip revision, 2017

  • Day 1 after L5 S1 fusion. The surgeon told me that the bone spur he saw on the MRI scan was far bigger when he operated and it was pressing a long way into the nerve. Hopefully, now that the bone spur has gone the nerve pain won’t come back. It’s difficult to tell at this stage as I’m doped up on morphine so most of me is pretty numb, but fingers crossed he’s solved the problem.

  • Hi andyg

    Good to hear from you SO soon after surgery :-)

    Ahhhh, the Morphine muddle. Sort of remember it lol! It made a huge difference to my pain levels for my most recent surgery and helped me mobilise, when I was able.

    Sorry to hear the bone spur was larger than anticipated but hoping the surgery has resolved the problem.

    Take care and sleep when you can.

    AJ

    AJGormit
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • hi andyg i have not had a fusion but it might be a surgical option for me when i see pain management as my NS laid out a flat no to surger i am too young and its not severe enough but wouldnt you think age would be on my side age wise? i hear fusion surgery recovery is hard but if i have to i will i just dont know i had a l5/s5 lamii in may of 2016 and augest of the same year i started having similar pains like prior to surgery had an EMG MRI x-rays and ended up with DDD as the diaosis but i still have 2 bugling discs alone with that i am frustrated and i dont know what to do anymore ive experinces severe back muscle spasms and its driving me nuts

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