View Full Version : 1st surgery - spinal fusion, questions...

06-29-2012, 05:18 AM
I am having a spinal fusion done in a few weeks, I have a 47 degree lumbar curve w/ herniated / degenerative disk disease. The vertebrae being fused are L5-S1. I'm scared to death and any advise or anything would be much appreciated.
I am making a list of questions for my surgeon, as I will see him the week before my surgery, but here are a few for you guys..

...How was your pain managed, both after the surgery in the hospital and after discharge?
...How many days were you in serious pain after surgery?
...Were your original symptoms gone right after the surgery?

I have many more, but for later... =)

Anyone can feel free to message me or whatever too. Thanks!


06-29-2012, 08:19 AM
Hi Ryanne!
Try to relax, although I know it's hard.
I had significant pain probably the first week or so but it's all such a fog now. There was no limit to pain relief while in the hospital. My biggest issue was needing to turn a lot and it being such an ordeal each time. But, I got through it.

My symptoms were immediately alleviated and continue to be. Other than varying degrees of tightness in the thoracic area, I feel great. I was not in major pain pre-surgery, though. Just some annoying discomfort that was getting progressively worse and I'm sure would have turned into pain at some point.

I was on pain meds for seven weeks post surgery. I was reluctant and scared to wean off the major stuff but every time I did, I was fine. I found that the discomfort I was having at 7+ weeks post op couldn't be alleviated through any pain meds that I had anyway. Because I had no pain prior to surgery, my post op weeks/months were uncomfortable. Now, almost a year post op, I'm finally feeling normal again.

Good Luck!

06-29-2012, 08:39 AM
Hi Ryanne

I agree, try to stay relaxed.

My first fusion was a long time ago but I do recall the pain post op being no worse to pre op just a different sort of pain and I had all the pain meds I needed whilst in hospital and once at home.

A list of questions is always a good way to put your mind at rest.

The main thing is to listen to the specialists and nurses etc and then listen to your body, take things easy because it will take time for you to recover but it will happen. Also make sure you tell the specialists and nurses how your pain is so that they can manage it in hopsital and when you are discharged.

When is your surgery? I'm scheduled for futher fusion on 26th July and haven't had surgery for so long I think I can imagine what you are going through but I'm trying to stay positive and think of what I will look and feel like once I get through the operation and the initial pain.

Stay positive.

06-29-2012, 10:14 AM
Hi Ryanne

L5-S1 is only one level. Its our lowest level. Could you have meant T5-S1?

Being knocked out is the easy part. You fall asleep and you wont remember anything while under. Pain is controlled with meds, IV and injectable’s are the ticket, Orals are much weaker. I took Oxycodone and Percoset.......

All the pains that I had before my surgeries were replaced with surgical pain. As you heal, this pain slowly tapers down. My recovery took 12 months, and healed at around 10% per month. You are much younger and should heal faster....

Just like Marina and Jenna have said, stay positive and try to relax. Always think ahead.....think healing thoughts, think about how well you will be doing after this is done.

If you have sciatica at your age, it’s a hard thing to deal with. I did about 6 years of it, and it wasn’t worth it. I should have had my surgeries much sooner. Sciatica happens because of problems in the lower (lumbar) spine. L1-L4 area usually.


06-29-2012, 06:06 PM
My pain was well controlled in the hospital and after I was discharged. They had me on oxicontin, Valium, Norco (Hydrocodone) and Flexeril. As you can imagine, I can't remember a whole lot from those first days!

I decreased my meds slowly and am now down to about 10-12.5 mg Norco per day (2-2.5 pills) and an occasional Flexeril (muscle relaxant). I am almost four months post-op. I had hoped to be off all meds by now, but I am pretty active and need these to control the pain still. It is mostly muscle cramps and mild sciatica.

My original symptoms were curve progression and deformity. So yes, those were immediately halted. I was not in much pain before surgery and knew this would be a long process.

Good luck! If it really is just L5 to S1, that is not a long fusion, so I would think your recovery would be faster. Not sure if they do single levels for us scolis, though. Linda?

Best wishes,

06-29-2012, 08:37 PM
Just wanted to wish you good luck
I had A PCA in the hospital. Pain pills at discharge
well I was in serious pain for like 1 month after surgery
yes all my symptoms was gone after surgery.