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I'm having back surgery on tuesday!!! :( Lumbar L4-L5, sacral decompression + fusion (PLIF)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm 28 years old. It has been almost two years since my back pain started. And after physical therapy, pilates and medicines..I still have a lot of discomfort doing a lot of everyday stuff like walk or sit for a long time and even sleep!
I've a herniated disk on my lower back L5, I'll be having surgery next tuesday.
I would like to know any advise you have for post surgery. How long will recovery take? Is it painful the first week after surgery? Do you gain weight?

Any advise will be really appreciated!! :) thanks!



  • Welcome to the board, we need more info!!! :)
  • kattoo's threads are loaded with great info. here are two links that i found:

    you can also read others' experiences by the surgery type.

    hope this helps.
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  • As Heidi asked, what kind of surgery are you having? Knowing this info will help us with giving advice. Are you getting a fusion, artifical disc replacement or something else. What tests have you had to confirm your diagnosis? Did you have a discogram done. There are many threads here with helpful hints and info for pre and post surgery. I will see if I can find any others and send to you if it's something I think you will find useful.
  • this is a great topic that a lot of people have found helpful:
  • Hi Johip

    I am having my surgery on Tuesday, too. I have had several different surgeries in my life, but never on my spine. I am having a 2 level lumbar fusion (TLIF). I am pretty anxious about it, even though I have worked in a hospital for over 20 yrs. But my doctor is great.
    I am not as worried about the surgery as I am the post-op recovery period. I am making myself crazy trying to think of everything, like, how do I not bend or twist or lift to do the normal things. But I have a wonderful sister to help me the first week.
    Try to think about the positive, as will I, and hopefully we can check in next week sometime and say all is well.
    Good luck!!
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  • Hello!! thank you all for your support! and thank you for the links you sent, they are all very helpful !! I'll print out today the post surgery list to make sure I bring with me everything I need :)

    Here are more details of my surgery (sorry i didn't specify before, I'm new on this!)
    -Lumbar L4-L5, sacral decompression + fusion (PLIF)

    Ann: good luck to you too! I'm more worry about the post surgery too!! Yes let's keep in touch to see how it goes, everything will be well I'm sure!

  • I hope your procedure goes well and gets you started on a fast and successful recovery!
  • Good luck Johip! I'm sure we'll both do fine. I always over-think everything. I have to be at the hospital at 5:45 am, so hopefully my surgery will be early. But since I work in a hospital, I know how that goes sometimes.......

    Thank you to everyone for their well wishes and all the posts which have made me more prepared. My sister and dad are coming to stay with me for the week, so I'll have plenty of help.
    I'm tired of thinking about it...time for a nice, relaxing bath.

  • I agree with Gwennie about the hospital - I was pretty dopey most of the time. I did take my MP3 player and listened (sort-of) to audio books - I found that very soothing.

    At home, I needed quite a bit of help the first week I was so weak and dopey. Turning over was a challenge - I would get "stuck" about halfway over and have to get my husband to help me. I think the "post-op Must-haves" list mentions a chart to keep track of what meds you have taken when - that is a must!

    The recovery is long and slow and requires much patience. Remember that recovery is your priority for awhile - rest, walk, eat, take your meds.

    For me, the recovery was not really terribly painful after the first couple of weeks and I quit taking the pain meds and used ice and heat for pain control. (The meds just made me so tired and sick). Getting back my stamina and energy was the real challenge for me.

    Have lots of little things as diversions - DVDs, books, music, etc. It will help time pass.

    Oh, and my surgeon would not allow showers for 14 days after surgery! Knowing I would lose my mind at not being able to wash my hair I bought an inflatable shampoo bowl at a medical supply store and had my husband wash my hair using it for the first few days. Then I figured out how to sit so we could do it at the bathroom sink. but that first shower after 2 weeks was heaven even though I was weak and shaky - and very glad I had the shower chair!

    Good luck with your surgery!
  • I had the same surgery you are having back in Dec. I had a L4/L5 fusion with decompression. PLIF

    It was painful, but they gave me plenty of pain meds afterward. I had 5 days int he hospital mainly due to anemia and blood loss.

    I followed the list on this website and gathered the things I thought I might need. The Physicla therapist gave me most of what I needed in the hospital - a walker, shower chair ,grabber (a must!!)...

    Just remember to take it slow, have things ot do in bed, you will need it, and any help you can get in the beginning.

    If you have any questions you can PM me at anytime...

    Good luck!!
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