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L5 S1 fusion surgery



  • Day 5 after surgery. I came home on Thursday, had to take a 2 hour taxi ride home due to the train strikes. The cab ride did me no favours at all. Yesterday I was in a lot of pain, but, with the help of painkillers, I got through it ok. I had 4 days on morphine, and since Thursday I’ve been on OxyContin and OxyNorm. The OxyContin is 2 a day, and the other one is a top up when the pains bad. Today I’ve just managed to use OxyContin, paracetamol and Naproxen. I’m walking around a lot more, doing the basic exercises that the physio gave me, up and down stairs is also fine. Sitting for more than 5 minutes is still pretty sore though, but definitely improving day by day. My back muscles are still pretty rigid; I’m able to stand up pretty straight, but have very little flexibility in my lower back. It’s early days, so I’m not surprised to honest. The wound below my belly button (yes, I had anterior and posterior surgery) gets a bit sore if my stretch too much, but most of the time I don’t notice it.

    (btw, when I asked what my disc looked like when the surgeon took it out he said, it was complete mush and looked more like mashed crab meat - so surgery was definitely the right option!)

  • andyg, I’m so glad I found this thread again. Glad to hear you are doing well.

    How is it going to laying to standing...is it difficult?

    My surgery is scheduled for Dec 13th. Currently, the plan is a TLIF but that his approach may change depending on what CT scan shows. They are supposed to call me tomorrow with appts for ct scan and pre-op appts. He also said there’s a chance he may not be able to get a cage in the disc space since it’s so collapsed. Not sure how I feel about that.

    He said to expect a 3-4 day hospital stay.

    I hope you will continue to post and keep us updated on your recovery. I’m very interested!

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  • Hi star0210. Moving from sitting to standing is ok as long as I roll into my side first (but I’ve been doing for that years anyway). In general my movement seems ok, but sitting for more than 5 minutes is painful I can walk a few hundred yards pain free, which is great

    My disc space had collapsed completely - it was bone on bone close to the nerve. The surgeon said that the hardest part was removing the bone spur as it was larger than the mri scan showed; he used some sort of robotic gadget to place the cage. I’d check how your surgeon plans to insert the cage.

  • Day 13 after surgery. I came off the stronger OxyContin on Friday and am now on Codeine Phosphate, 2x30mg, 4 times a day (as well as paracetamol and NSAIDs). Funny how, whilst it’s supposed to be weaker painkiller than OxyContin, it gives me a much bigger brain fuzz and sends me off to sleep within 30/40 minutes of having the tablets

    Anyway, now I’m on lower strength medication I’m waking up in a lot of pain in the morning (codeine only last 6 hours), and I seem to have a lot of random nerve aches and pains - primarily in the left lower leg and foot, which was where I felt the pain pre-op, but I also feel some pain on the right side. I’m hoping this will settle down, as it’s a bit scary to think I’ve still got nerve pain after the bone spur was removed.

    Walking more than a few hundred yards is still painful, however I am able to sit for longer than last week. I have a physio appointment on Thursday, which is close to where I work (approx 1 hour commute). Let’s see what they say about my progress so far. I’m going to take a good seat cushion for the train journey to London.

    I’ll check back in after the physio appointment and let you know how it goes.

  • Day 23 after surgery. No back pains, but I’m getting some pretty bad muscle spasms in my left buttock, keeping me awake at night, and spreading down my left leg. I think I need to move around more, but I’ve been pretty much bed bound for the last 3 days due to some sort of stomach bug.

    The incision under my belly button is still slightly infected despite a week of antibiotics (these have also screwed up my stomach).

    So, after my last post, I actually feel worse. I’m still not back at work (I might try to go back on Thursday or Friday ffor a few hours) and until the wound heals the physio doesn’t want me to do any more strenuous exercise. The good news is that he sees the surgery has worked well, I have good movement, good flexibility, no nerve impingement and, other than the infection, sees no reason why I can’t get back to some cycling, cross training and stretching in the gym.

    Recovery is slow progress......

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  • I’m sorry you’re having a few complications. I hope the I faction clears up soon. I hope you’re feeling well enough to get a decent amount of walking in each day.

    And yes, recovery is definitely a slow progress. I already know I’m going to have a problem with patience and after a little while I’m going to be questioning whether it helped or made things worse even though I KNOW that it will take time. Just being realistic about myself. Lol

    Praying for you for better and easier days ahead.

  • Can someone please let me know how bad is the pain after the fusion? I have a drop foot, the doctor said most likely it will not get better with a physical therapy but still give it a try.. I have 4 herniated discs and had a microdisectomy done 2 years ago at l4/l5 level, now my l5/s1 is also giving a problem. Please share all your pros and cons for the fusion

  • Back into hospital yesterday to have the infection debrided. The surgeon got me to have another CT scan to check why I’m still getting leg pain. Unfortunately it showed that he wasn’t able to remove all of the bone spur 3 weeks ago, so it seems likely I’ll need more surgery.

  • Oh no...I, so sorry to see this! How did they not remove it all? Was it not visualized properly?

  • I don’t think he was able access all of the bone spur. He said today that he would need to remove part of the facet joint in order to get to all of the spur.
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