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L5-S1 Fusion - EXCELLENT so far

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Unread 04-04-2011, 04:37 PM   #1
photobike1964
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Default L5-S1 Fusion - EXCELLENT so far

On 3/22/11, I had an L5/S1 fusion with 1 cage and screws and rods.

Why did I have this done? For 9 months I was suffering from intermittent pain down the right side of my leg which was obviously following the S1 nerve root (from everything I read). Through MRI, I was diagnosed with a grade 1 Spondy at L5/S1 and it was obvious that my S1 nerve root was being compressed. The PARS defect was obvious and the right solution was a fusion. Was I in constant pain, no. Just when walking, standing, running. And the pain was not "excruciating", but was keeping me from the things I wanted to be able to do for the rest of my life (like walk with my wife and dog!). I could not walk more than a block and a half without leg pain which left me limping. So call me crazy for WANTING to have surgery, but I was not going to wait to be one of those persons that waits 10 years then doesn't get better. I used no pain meds beyond occasional Tylenol and Ibuprofen ('cause they didn't work anyway), and I refused to try narcs.

It is now just shy of 2 weeks after my surgery and the results are AMAZING. I have no leg pain at all. I've been walking 2-3 miles per day and enjoying it. I stopped pain meds (narc's) 5 days after the surgery as I hated the way they made me feel. I now only take a Tylenol once or twice a day, and not sure I really need that at all.

Maybe I'm a lucky one, but I've had a result (so far, knock wood) that far exceeded even my own expectations. I have a brace I wear all the time and I follow to a "t" the requirement of no "BLT" (Bending Lifting Twisting). I know it is going to take up to a year for full healing, but I'm confident that following the rules I will have a great outcome.

I pretty much can do everything myself right now (with modification) except tie my shoes (so I wear loafers) and change my anti-embolism sox (that's what wife's are for). I have my first follow up appointment with my doctor on 4/6 and will post back here how things are going.
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Unread 04-05-2011, 05:11 AM   #2
gabbycakes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photobike1964 View Post
On 3/22/11, I had an L5/S1 fusion with 1 cage and screws and rods.

Why did I have this done? For 9 months I was suffering from intermittent pain down the right side of my leg which was obviously following the S1 nerve root (from everything I read). Through MRI, I was diagnosed with a grade 1 Spondy at L5/S1 and it was obvious that my S1 nerve root was being compressed. The PARS defect was obvious and the right solution was a fusion. Was I in constant pain, no. Just when walking, standing, running. And the pain was not "excruciating", but was keeping me from the things I wanted to be able to do for the rest of my life (like walk with my wife and dog!). I could not walk more than a block and a half without leg pain which left me limping. So call me crazy for WANTING to have surgery, but I was not going to wait to be one of those persons that waits 10 years then doesn't get better. I used no pain meds beyond occasional Tylenol and Ibuprofen ('cause they didn't work anyway), and I refused to try narcs.

It is now just shy of 2 weeks after my surgery and the results are AMAZING. I have no leg pain at all. I've been walking 2-3 miles per day and enjoying it. I stopped pain meds (narc's) 5 days after the surgery as I hated the way they made me feel. I now only take a Tylenol once or twice a day, and not sure I really need that at all.

Maybe I'm a lucky one, but I've had a result (so far, knock wood) that far exceeded even my own expectations. I have a brace I wear all the time and I follow to a "t" the requirement of no "BLT" (Bending Lifting Twisting). I know it is going to take up to a year for full healing, but I'm confident that following the rules I will have a great outcome.

I pretty much can do everything myself right now (with modification) except tie my shoes (so I wear loafers) and change my anti-embolism sox (that's what wife's are for). I have my first follow up appointment with my doctor on 4/6 and will post back here how things are going.
Hi Photobike1964,

It's great to here a good outcome. I hope you continue to progress so well. My Husband has had 3 back surgeries with positive outcomes. His last one that was 2/25/11 of the cervical area C4-T1, his first 2 where L4-L5. The cervical was the hardest for him,we thought it would be easier. He's also doing well at this point.

Gabbycakes
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Unread 04-08-2011, 08:14 AM   #3
photobike1964
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Default So Far So Good

Had my followup appointment on 4/6 and got to see xrays of all the hardware in my back, pretty cool. Was told I was walking TOO MUCH and should back down a bit, so I'm now only going twice a day for about 1.5mi each. I'm cleared to drive short distances and I can start riding the bike at the health club in about 2 weeks. No more bandages on my incision, and no more AE socks. Next appointment in 4 weeks.

Only "setback" at the moment is that my right leg is sore overnight. By morning, it feels like nerve soreness down the S1 nerve (the one that was affected). Doctor said that this is not uncommon and should ease up over time as everything heals. Good news is that once I get up and start moving around, the soreness subsides, and the better news is that there is no pain when walking. So I'll take a little soreness over pain any day.

Looks like 3 months is the target point when I'll be able to ditch the brace and start physical therapy, we'll see how it goes.

For now, I'm still pleased with my outcome and my healing progression
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Unread 04-30-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
Spiney95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photobike1964 View Post
Had my followup appointment on 4/6 and got to see xrays of all the hardware in my back, pretty cool. Was told I was walking TOO MUCH and should back down a bit, so I'm now only going twice a day for about 1.5mi each. I'm cleared to drive short distances and I can start riding the bike at the health club in about 2 weeks. No more bandages on my incision, and no more AE socks. Next appointment in 4 weeks.

Only "setback" at the moment is that my right leg is sore overnight. By morning, it feels like nerve soreness down the S1 nerve (the one that was affected). Doctor said that this is not uncommon and should ease up over time as everything heals. Good news is that once I get up and start moving around, the soreness subsides, and the better news is that there is no pain when walking. So I'll take a little soreness over pain any day.

Looks like 3 months is the target point when I'll be able to ditch the brace and start physical therapy, we'll see how it goes.

For now, I'm still pleased with my outcome and my healing progression
I am guessing that you are relatively young and this is your first lumbar surgery. I have had five now and each one at least involved L5-S1. In the beginning, I rebounded quickly as you are. I really had to be careful and mindful of instructions as it was a real temptation to push the envelope. I felt so darn good right away. Regardless of how you feel, there is a lot of healing left to do. Don't aggravate the process. Congratulations on a successful surgery.
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Unread 05-02-2011, 08:54 AM   #5
photobike1964
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I am guessing that you are relatively young and this is your first lumbar surgery. I have had five now and each one at least involved L5-S1. In the beginning, I rebounded quickly as you are. I really had to be careful and mindful of instructions as it was a real temptation to push the envelope. I felt so darn good right away. Regardless of how you feel, there is a lot of healing left to do. Don't aggravate the process. Congratulations on a successful surgery.
Thanks for the advice and you are quite right. I'm only 46 and this is my first (and hopefully last) back surgery. I absolutely want to heal well and completely and I am definitely following the direction of the doctor. I have a followup (6 weeks) appointment on Wed 5/4 and will post my status.

I am pain free at the moment and the only lingering issue at the moment is just sensory stuff in my toes and top of my foot. Mind you it isn't pain, and I can walk just fine (in fact it is relieved by walking), it's just a feeling of slight numbness and a stinging every now and then. But it is never constant, just comes and goes. I'm chalking it up to the healing, inflammation, muscle tightness, etc. All things that will subside over time and when I am able to start PT.

Thanks.
Corey
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Unread 05-03-2011, 08:00 PM   #6
Spiney95
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You didn't say exactly which procedure was done but irregardless, it most likely involved moving things and general "rooting around". I know that doesn't sound terribly informed. Personally, I think they drop in a grenade for good measure. The bottom line is that while your spine is now stablized, you have very angry nerves and muscles that need to be woed back into good health. This requires a balance between activity and rest. Listen to your body. It is wise. Hopefully, this is your first and last lumbar surgery.
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Unread 05-24-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
Janesaiz
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Default Me too

Hey, I am ina similar spot, had a fusion in 2009 and bottom part didn't take quite right, screws broke due to a deformity I was born with and pressure exerted on screws too much. I could have fused around the screws but I didn't and that was probably due to the fact that I returned to work and was under insane stress. So, I never healed all the way and 1.5 yrs later the pain was horrible and I was also limping, could barely walk etc.
Just had the L5-S1 redone. He removed bad stuff and found part of my sacrum broken off and sitting on S1 nerve root, so your S1 nerve root was probably compressed by your bone narrowing nerve root canal somehow. My bones were actually moving prior to both surgeries and so the hardware was redone this time and inserted into my hip bones. I had pain in the hospital which I knew was the nerves that were compressed for this whole time being really mad. I needed a walker to walk for hospital time and 3 days at home.
Finally, I started moving again slowly.
Pain went away quickly and was off meds quickly, I am also walking a lot daily and now basically have tingly left foot / toes sometimes.
It is b/c the area gets inflamed and if you have had a fusion, you can't take anti-inflammtories so use an icepack, you can buy one to strap on which is awesome.
I use this after every walk for about 15-30 minutes time. I am still in a brace which I hate. this Friday is 6 weeks post op for me. I am guessing I will have to wait till 12 also to be able to drive and do PT. I start work PT in 2 weeks. I still tire easily. Have lost a lot of strength in general. It is a mix of not over doing or under doing. I find walking about 3 miles a day up to 5 has been okay but more or walking too fast or hard can be bad. I sometimes break it up to get the mileage, icing in between etc.
I also got a GREAT new firm mattress which makes a big difference. I can't put my walking shoes on really well but I have a technique that kinda works and I can use my toes pretty well to pick things up. i also have a grabber.
One more thing-
For nerves, you can buy Lecithin granules, look for brand by NOW. You sprinkle them on cereal, yogurt etc. Basically, they are the stuff our nerves are coated with so they are giving your body what it needs. ALso make sure you take your Vitamin D, I would suggest 5000, you can get that at GNC. Make sure your protein intake is good too, more protein than carbs or fats now as you need to grow bone. I am continuing to assume you had a fusion.

I have a friend who had a decompression sugery done for same area, no fusion and had a small brace for 10 days and could drive quickly and she even has some nerve foot numbness. I take that as an indicator to slow down or go home and rest.

I also get tired of people telling me what to do and having to ask for help. over it all!!!! keep me posted on your nerve recovery, always like to compare notes! L


Quote:
Originally Posted by photobike1964 View Post
Thanks for the advice and you are quite right. I'm only 46 and this is my first (and hopefully last) back surgery. I absolutely want to heal well and completely and I am definitely following the direction of the doctor. I have a followup (6 weeks) appointment on Wed 5/4 and will post my status.

I am pain free at the moment and the only lingering issue at the moment is just sensory stuff in my toes and top of my foot. Mind you it isn't pain, and I can walk just fine (in fact it is relieved by walking), it's just a feeling of slight numbness and a stinging every now and then. But it is never constant, just comes and goes. I'm chalking it up to the healing, inflammation, muscle tightness, etc. All things that will subside over time and when I am able to start PT.

Thanks.
Corey
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Unread 06-05-2011, 11:54 PM   #8
just not right
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Default Did great right after back surgery

On may 4 2010 had spinal fusion on L4-s1 no hardware just bone,after 1 week was doing great very little pain and walking ok. About month later pain was back like before surgery and walking with pain. Dont know what want wrong or happened. Still feeling pain in lower back and legs. On 2/7/11 had neck surgery c4-c5 fusion this time with plate and screws. Feel better in neck and shoulders since surgery. If thats not enough just a hip arthroscopy surgery on 5/26/11. Went in for labrum tear in right hip,had to have labrum repair and then had to have microfracture surgery on hip because damage was worse then surgeon thought. Hopefully this helps with some back and leg pain.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 05:49 PM   #9
Spiney95
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Why didn't the surgeon use instrumentation to maximize the the outcome of the fusion? When I had my first cage installed back in............maybe '97....the surgeon did not use anything to support the position of the cage while fusion was supposed to be taking place. I obeyed instructions to the letter. At approx 3 mos. post op, I was in more pain than I was pre op. It turned out that the cage had tilted forward and rotated. The revision was worse than the original surgery.
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Unread 06-07-2011, 07:03 PM   #10
just not right
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i think using just bone is old school, hopefully it works, its been a year and im not worse then before surgery just not that much better. But i need to do pt to make back muscles stronger. But need to recovery from hip surgeries first.
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