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My wife had spinal fusion surgery two days ago. It lasted several hours. They stabilized her spine which should improve the function and relive the pain. I know that it is been only two days after the procedure but she already complains on pain and ache. Her surgeon said that it is due to inflammation or muscle spasms across the back or down the legs, which happens often after spine surgery. How long her recovery is going to take?

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Recovery time is individual thing, you should know that. I know that she can take medication to reduce the inflammation or relieve muscle spasms. Spinal fusion surgery is major procedure. You have to be patient with her. You can help in her recovery by massage or repositioning her occasionally. She will need your support now.
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paton wrote:


Recovery time is individual thing, you should know that. I know that she can take medication to reduce the inflammation or relieve muscle spasms. Spinal fusion surgery is major procedure. You have to be patient with her. You can help in her recovery by massage or repositioning her occasionally. She will need your support now.


do NOT use ibuprofin as sweeling is necessary for a bone to heal. advil can greatly jeopardize this situation...ask your doc for perkisettes and or T3's
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I know this is old, but I had spinal fusion from L3 through s1...that was dec 30th 2004. Yesterday I ended up in the er while simply taking a shower when my foot slipped and I went to stand and I heard and felt a "pop".

Talk about pain. You know when you go through daily pain, that never goes away, you tend to forget what a 10 feels like. Well I got a good reminder of that yesterday. Of course the ER found nothing relavent in the xrays, so they referred me back to my spinal physician who thinks it's just some torn cartilage.

Recovery time...heck who knows. I do hope the fusion was a success for your wife, but the problem with spinal fusions are that then to chase up or down your spine. While they may temporarily do their job, they also transfer all the stress to the discs and vertberae above and below the fusion, which often results in more surgery.

There is a new technique that Dr. Thomas Haider helped pilot (he invented the pedicle screw),(google Haider Spine Center), in which he can replace up to 2 discs with synthetic discs. I have seen first the results are MUCH more promising then post op fusions. I'va talked with patients who've had the procedure and they are doing great. While most post op fusion patients continue to be debilitated and trapped by their own bodies.


If you should happen across this thread, and have serious back problems or large herniations that contribute to sciatica, consider any and all alternatives to a spinal fusion. If you are a candidate for disc replacement, DO IT.

To the OP:

From my personal experience, I can only tell you that I wish I would have had someone like myself telling me to NOT do it. I am no better then when this all began, back in '03. In fact, I am worse. I have been devastated both finacially and physically. The fusion almost killed me, I spent several days in ICU, because the pain was uncontrollable. My heart rate was getting up to 180 when the PT would stand me up...

Anyways, I wish you, your wife and family well. And I sincerely hope she is feeling better.
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I had a fusion on Dec 1st of 2008. i had the pedicure screws done. i feel great. No more pain. Just healing aches. went to the dr today he did xrays and says everything looks great. I also had pain after the surgery with some pain running down my leg that went away quickly. The same disc herniated 3 times so i had no choice. I was really scared. I am so glad I did it though and it is not true that most spinal fusion dont work. Sorry to disagree
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I also had spinal fusion surgery on Dec. 1 2008. My L3 & L4 were fused together. I suffered with sciatica nerve pain down my leg everyday for 3 years. I finally made my decision to go through with the surgery. I found a fantastic surgeon & I was very scared to go through this type of procedure. But I'm glad that I had the surgery. It has already changed my life. I am now 100% pain free from nerve pain. I am still recovering from surgery with very little surgical muscle pain & I have returned back to work after 5 weeks. I will start physical therapy next month. This surgery has given me my quality of life back and has totally changed my life for the better
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hi, I just had a fusion at c6/7. I am 3 and a half weeks post op. I am doing alot of things I think I shouldn't like bending down and reaching. I pay for it the next day, but I am much better than I was before the surgery I can't help it. I was told by the dr to judge it by my pain levels. He said he didn't disturb my ligaments. Would you think that this would interfere with bone growing for the fusion? I hope some one can help me with this.
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I WANTED ESPECIALLY TO WRITE TO THE PERSON WHO STARTED THIS THREAD. I have had four spinal fusions and each one was very different. I think the worst was the lumbar- I have had three cervical. They took bone from my hip in the three oldest fusions. I had my last one on c6/7 , a cervical discectomy/fusion. He used a microscope and inserted a plastic disc. It was much better than all of them, I was out of the hospital in one day. The ligaments were not disturbed and I am doing so much better.
I especially want you to realise that all fusions are different and it is all dependent on how much cutting has been done. Your wife needs you support, she certainly hasn't gone into this lightly and she is probably very worried about being dependent on you and the restof your family. Take care of her now and she will gain from it later. I found that the doctors usually use 6 month as a bench mark to see if the surgery went well- then 2 YEARS to see if it was a real success. This doesn't mean that she doesn't have relief sooner. My most recent nuerosurgeon told me the oldest symptoms take the longest to go away. To me that is scary but then if it is a recent injury- lol.
my husband has had to deal with my pain for approx 15 years give or take. We almost broke up from him not understanding how bad chronic pain is for a relationship. Join you local Chronic Pain group and maybe if you can go to counselling. Believe me it all helps. She seems to have very bad pain atm - do what you can, you will be happy you did. Best wishes
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I had my surgery on 6/5/09. 5 vertibrae fused due to burst fracture of t12. Recovery with aggressive rehab took 6 months
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I had spinal dissection fusion surgery Nov. 17, 2008. They did my C-6-7, I still am very limited to just about everything I need to do for myself. I am finally down to only one muscle relaxer (soma) a day for most days, but I still am having to take percocett every 4-6 hours. Its a horrible existence, and to one of the previous comments.... It is very true that the longer you are in pain and are encroaching on any of your nerves that causes pain, the longer after surgery it takes to recover. I have in my life met plenty people that have had some sort of back problems or surgery and every situation is different. It has taken a long time, but I am starting to feel that the surgery was the best choice for me, even tho I am still in pain. And of course the fact that I have had to depend on pills the fear of addiction and health problems that stem from them... (Ive also suffered 2 heart attacks, one just two months after the accident.)
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Hey I'm with the person who just had their surgery. I had an L-5,L-6 fusion and am very much in recovery. My surgery was 7 weeks ago and I am still not supposed to "bend, twist or lift." I was in the hospital 3 days and started walking with a walker in the hospital. I am still on minimal pain relievers but my doc. said no driving at least for another 3 weeks. I am unable to go back to work as that would entail the above three cautions. I am very confident in my ortho. It's hard however to avoid those action. It is also very lonely not be able to get out very much. Unfortunately I live alone but my friends and family live by and visit often. Take care all.
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I got L5-S1 fused on 3/31/2009 - still a little stiff and sore. Pain in leg while standing or walking is largely gone. However, I find it more comfortable for menow to stand than sit. Also, when I lie down to go to bed, pain spasm return - like a tendon being streched. I feel I am better off with the fusion though.
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Hi all, Glad that people feel free to comment and examine they situations in a 'public' forum. I have to have a lumbar fusion L3/L4/L5 on 17th May, L4 is sliding off L5 and causing so many problems in my legs, buttock, groin. Doesn't matter whether I am just standing or walking all of a sudden my left knee will colapse. But, the worst thing is that I have lost 90% control of my bladder and a lot of control of my bowels. I can go from mmm need wee soon to too late, in a 30 second period. I am only 57 years young (female), and up to now my concern has been, that I CAN'T continue my life like this that something has to be done.

Having read the comments so far, have alerted me to some of the problems that "can" happen. But, not worried me.
I have put my problems in the hands of God to protect me. No, I am not a religious nut.
He knows that my 80 year old husband needs me to be back being his Carer soon.
Jan
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Hi, I had L-1 S-5 fusion with cadaver bone, titanium plate & a cage in May 09. It's a long hard recovery (at least for me). I have limited range (and am afraid to "push it"), and live with pain. My surgeon advised me in 1997 to get the surgery done, that the epidurals(steroids) were in my case, a waste of time. I opted to not have it done at the time, because I had a family to support. I dealt with the pain, stress, anxiety for about 10 years and numerous epidural shots, both awake and under, to no avail. I finally decided to get it done
It's been over a year, doctor says fusion took. I still deal with lumbar pain and pain in my left thigh. The surgery IS a major event, mine lasted about 6 hours or so, as I had 1 surgeon cut my abdomen and move all of my organs, and my neurosurgeon to do the spine.
Thank God for insurance as my surgery and associated costs were almost 200k.
I still have daily pain, and doubt if I will ever not. Best wishes for all who deal with back pain, and hopefully a "fix" for your particular issue(s)
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Hi to all and thank you for posting all your thoughts and recommendations, I am 37 y/o fem that was diagnosed with L5-S1 DDD, only a 7 mm disk herniation. Although pain per say was initially 3 years ago, it only took the past last year to my problem to get worst.
I have dragged this for awhile thinking maybe i do not need it, My ortho recommended fusion with allograft at that one level. A year ago my MRI showed some degree of DDD, and a year later it is all bad, the disk is so much going. Funny thing is the everyday sensation is mostly a numbness and weakness in my right calf, not a painful thing but for the most part annoying a feeling that I want to shake my leg but the sensation won't go away. At night time when lying down the same sensation wakes me up. I have tried epidurals with just temporary relief. As soon as I start back with my regular sports such as dirt biking it all starts worst. My md told me either find low impact activities, which I did for few months and gained 12 pounds or have the fusion. hmmm that took me sometime to decide, I am scheduled for June 28 this year and really wonder if I am going to exchange a sensation for another kind of pain? or if it will as my surgeon said after a year be good and ready to retake my old activities back. Your comments make me think that someway somehow the road to recovery is long. I am really scared even when I am a workers comp examiner and did my homework looking for the best surgeon. I see so many bad outcomes just because my claimants want to increase their award, that in reality, I wonder how many really have a successful outcome?. My best wishes to all of you that had it done and please keep on posting your progress it is really an eye opener.
Regarding pain after the surgery is it really that excrusiating? did any of you felt immediate relief to the numbness? please advise.
Thanks!
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