L3-4 and L4-5 Laminectomy and Fusion

I had my Lumbar surgery 1 month ago, and for several months before, spent alot of time on this forum looking for others experiences with this type of operation. Feeling pretty good if anyone is looking for more info before their surgery like I was...just ask!



  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,454
    edited 07/18/2019 - 4:18 PM


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    Glad your surgery was a success, feel free to jump in and participate in discussions


  • Me... me... me! Having L3-L4-L5 fused on the 17th.

    Did you need a walker after surgery? I'm not quite 5'5" will I really need a toilet riser? Are you still in a brace? How much "stuff" do you have on your kitchen counter because you can't bend for anything? How difficult is it to put on clothes by yourself? Have you started PT? Can you drive? 

    Thanks, and yes, I will likely have more questions. I had my "Surgical Readiness" visit at the hospital today, and it is starting to get real!

    PS Please tell me you're an old couch potato, not a strapping young athlete! I never was a strapping young athlete, and at 63, the couch and I are really, really good friends. 

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,634
    edited 07/31/2019 - 12:12 PM


    I will jump in and help answer some of your questions, as I have had lumbar surgery too when I was 60.  

    I would suggest a walker, button up pj's or shirts, slip on slippers or shoes, a grabber to get things off the floor. In your bathroom or kitchen, anything you think you will need, put it at least waist high. Have food on hand in the refrigerator and/or freezer.

    Do not drive until your doctor says you can. 

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

  • Chelie, No walker or toilet seat raiser needed...but I am still using my small shower stool. Although a walker would have been very helpful when I started my driveway walks. I am supposed to wear my back brace whenever I am not laying down. The hospital sent me home with a pincher pickup thing which I still use(it's fun!)  I wore a robe or drawstring pants with a big top for the first 3 weeks. Hopefully someone can be with you the first week or 2, cause everything IS a struggle. Started driving after 3 weeks. No PT scheduled until after 3 months to give the fusion time to solidify. I walked circles on my driveway starting the 2nd week, starting at 3 minutes twice a day, and now try to do 1 hour a day divided into 3-4 trips. I am a 5'3" overweight 65 yr old who dearly loves her recliner(or did...because I can't sit in it anymore)  I was about as frightened as I could be before this surgery. I held off for 18 months after the Ortho said I HAD to do it.

    Neither the surgery or recovery(so far) has been as bad as I imagined it. I did stop the opioids 3 days after surgery (except for a couple nights at home) cause they made me feel horrible. I started Tylenol and Flexeril after that and they have worked well. 

    I really think spending alot of time outdoors helps. I have a straightback chair and a cushioned patio couch on our deck and I have been spending hours sitting/laying out there. The time goes much faster and I get less "antsy" than when I'm inside.

    If you think of anything else just ask!

  • Alphawaves, I am nothing short of terrified! Not sure why this scares me so badly. I've had breast cancer surgery & a hysterectomy, but this just seems so much bigger.

    We have something in common. My doctor told me I needed this surgery early in 2018. I finally agreed to it, and will have it this month.

    I thought of a rather weird question. The doctor has told me to walk, walk, walk as soon as I am able. Our house sits on somewhat of a rise. Our driveway is quite steep, so I don't want to walk outside in that direction. If I go out of our front door, I can cut through the front lawn and get to a relatively level sidewalk. When my back was at its worst in late 2017 & early 2018, I couldn't walk on an uneven surface. I actually walked on grass for the first time in months in the middle of March that year. After all that... can you walk on uneven ground? I really don't want to spend all my walking time circling around and around in our little house.

    Thanks for your help.

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  • Oh... forgot to post that my husband will be at home with me for the first 3 weeks. He'll be "off" the first two weeks, and then will work from home the 3rd week. We've been married for 41 years, hope he can put up with me through this!  :p 

  • Chelie , after 41 years, I don't think you have anything to worry about!

  • Chelie, Crossing the lawn may be a problem.  I stayed away from anything uneven until just this week. Maybe your husband can hang on to you when you cross it to get to the level sidewalk...or drive you somewhere. I really think it helped to walk at least a few minutes several times a day as soon as I got home. 

  • Thanks all for sharing your experiences and for your advice!  I will be having l4/l5 fusion in a few months and am trying to learn all I can prior to the surgery.

    Good luck Chelie!

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,634


    When you know your surgery date please let us know. I will send you the link for Surgery Buddies so you can join other members waiting on surgery. It would also be a good idea for you to start your own discussion on your surgery, more members will be able to read it and reply.

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