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New Pain following ALIF Surgery

Hi I am new to this Forum and I am looking for some experiences please...I had ALIF surgery January 27th. I had crushed my L5-S1 in an accident.  Surgery was a complete success.  In the hospital for 3 days.  Came home and the pain that was in my lower back and right leg (it was terrible pain) was gone.  I am 3 weeks out of surgery, and now my left leg is experiencing terrible pain in the thigh and calf when I lay down.  Very bad pain.  Scaring me.  Anyone have any words of wisdom from their own experiences?


  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 995
    edited 02/19/2016 - 6:11 PM

    Hey Robbie...

    It's perfectly normal in lots of cases of lumbar fusion surgery to experience the pains you are feeling post-op.  The ALIF surgery is a MAJOR surgery and unfortunately there is lots of trauma to your insides and muscles that comes with the surgery.  Also your nerves were badly crushed and inflamed and it will most likely take a long time for them to recover. Nerve healing and recovery is very unpredictable and often times very slow... months not weeks in some cases.   During that time there will be lots of ups and downs with pain and discomfort... you are barely one month out from surgery... so it's still early days for your recovery.  For myself I've had two L5-S1 fusion surgeries (the first one failed) and it took four long months for the post-op nerve inflammation and pain to go away after my second surgery... despite my surgeon doing a great job.  About the only thing you can do until the nerves calm down is take pain meds to help reduce the pain and discomfort.   Hang in there... you WILL get better.

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,241
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • Robbie - 
    I have an L4-L5 ALIF on November 24th, so although I am about 2 months ahead of you, recovery is still very fresh in my mind :smiley:" alt=":smiley:" height="20" /> Everything that hvills is so true. Our bodies are not only healing from the surgery, but from the damage that was already there. I freaked out (I'm talking sobbing to the point I couldn't speak) when pains returned, but after some time they went away! One of my biggest issue after surgery was some terrible pain in my calf that made it impossible to walk correctly. They put me on Gabapentin and it slowly went away. I urge you to ask your surgeon's office as many questions as you want during recovery (mine always answered!), and just breathe. It's a marathon, not a sprint!
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