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Going in for L5-S1 Revision ALIF this Thursday. Very Nervous.

Hi all,
I had an L5-S1 in Dec of 2013 that failed. Going in for a revision this Thursday, but the new doc is doing an ALIF (last time it was PLIF).

The PLIF was cake, not having to go through the front, etc. I am scared to death at the point where I want to back out of doing it.
Someone please tell me that this surgery is safe and I will be ok! :) I hate the thought of them having to move organs around
and the risks of bleeding from the main artery, etc. I am 43 and in perfect health otherwise.

Thanks to anyone who can shed some light that has gone through this type of surgery.



  • Hi, I had both ALIF & PLIF done on 8/11/14. In my case, the Doctor inserted a small tube around the Organs allowing access to
    the anterior lumbar area. This allowed the procedure to be performed without removing and or damaging any
    Organs. As for the pain and discomfort level post op, it really only hurt when coughing or laughing. However , this soom
    dissipated in about 3 months. I my case, the surgical effects , PLIF, took longer to heal as the incision was larger and this aspect
    was the larger of the two.
    How am I doing now? GREAT! I'm back to all pre surgical physical activities.
    About me; 53 yo HWP active male.
    I hope this helps! The VERY best wishes on your impending procedure:) Feel free to PM me for further details and or questions.
    Bilateral L5 spondylolysis L5 with grade I anterolisthesis L5-S1.
    Stable multilevel degenerative spondylosis contributing to mild canal
    narrowing L2-3 and L3-4.
    360 ALIF & PLIF L-4 - S-1 on 8/11/14
  • RaregemRRaregem Posts: 4
    edited 08/19/2015 - 3:07 AM
    Hi. Having surgery tends to provoke a nervous internal response. I had spinal surgery 2 weeks ago. I kept telling myself that everything will be ok. I trust my doctor. Unfortunately medicine is constantly evolving and each surgeon evolves at their own pace. You must have a reason why you chose your surgeon, so trust your choice. Good luck!
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  • I understand your fears and frustrations. I am 6 weeks post op from an ALIF / PLIF. Your intestines are encased so they won't be moving them around individually. Have you talked to a Vascular surgeon about your procedure? Your back Dr doesn't work on the stomach area and will have a Vascular surgeon there to assist. I am so glad I had the ALIF done. If you would like to read my story it's titled "PLIF gone wrong turns into a blessing".

    If there is one bit of advice I can offer it would be to take stool softener's, eat plenty of fruit and drink a lot of water for the first two or four weeks. Best of luck.
  • susannessusanne Posts: 11
    edited 08/19/2015 - 2:57 PM
    I had an ALIF on L5-S1 done on August 10, 2015 and am doing very well so far. I can relate to being nervous and scared about the procedure but it really is a good approach because the muscles are not being cut and the surgeon will work behind your peritoneal cavity which houses your organs. I am 54 years old and pretty healthy outside of DDD. My experience was really a good one, my anesthesiologist gave me some relaxing medication in the pre-op room and I was so relaxed that I fell asleep and really don't remember anything about the operating room at all. The Vascular surgeon started the procedure to dissect down to the spine then my Orthopedic Spine surgeon replaced the disc and fused it. The surgery itself was less than three hours with no complications or much bleeding and both doctors were very pleased with the outcome. I was able to gain 10mm disc height and don't experience the deep pain to the buttock and leg that I had before because I was bone on bone and in constant pain. Even though I am only nine days post-op I am feeling pretty good. I am very mindful of the term BLT, no bending, lifting, or twisting. I would agree with Iceman, take your stool softeners, eat fruits and vegetables and drink as much water as you can. I also drink a fiber drink every morning too. Your abdomen will be sore for awhile but that is to be expected. Other helpful items for me was a toilet riser with handles and a lift chair. I am walking now about 1 mile each day and gaining strength each day. I am so glad I had this surgery and really wish I had done it sooner. Remember, you have a very experienced surgeon who has done probably thousands of this particular surgery and they will take great care of you! Focus on the outcome of this which is pain relief. You are going to do real well and I wish you all the best and will be thinking of you.
    Blessings and Best Regards,
  • Thanks Susan! Great feedback!!! I'll post when I am home. :)
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  • susannessusanne Posts: 11
    edited 08/19/2015 - 4:36 PM
    I will look forward to hearing from you. Stay positive!!!
    All will be good!
  • So glad everything went well for you and your home. Prayer makes all the difference. God Bless
  • So now, my wife who took 2 weeks off of work to help me came down with a violent flu and can't help me
    and is in even worse shape than I am now. Wonderful timing!
  • Hang in there. I feel your pain. Been there, done it and posted about it.
  • Glad your wife recovered quickly! I hope your feeling somewhat better. It sounds like you've had it rough. I'm approaching 3 weeks tomorrow post surgery (ALIF) L5-S1 and stopped taking my meds only to feel this very strong, deep leg pain going down to my calf. I also have experienced a cramping in both calves and tingling in both legs. I didn't have this kind of pain before the surgery so I called the doctors office to see if this is normal but they said I may feel different sensations going through the recovery process and everyone is different in their experiences and they called me in a steroid and they advised me to continue to take my pain meds . Before I took my meds I couldn't even walk any distance or sit without the pain getting more intense. I also went in for an ultra sound looking for a blot clot but thankfully I didn't have one just a cyst behind my knee. I did get back on the pain meds and within days the pain and tingling has lessened so I'm grateful for that and I see my doctor this week so we'll see if everything is still in tack. I just wanted to post this in case anyone else is having the same experience. Broken, I pray each day you continue to gain strength and feel better and soon you can change your screen name. All the best to you and your wife.
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