Back Issues :: Anyone ALIF And PLIF Revision?
Apr 13, 2014
Would like to hear from someone who has had ALIF and PLIF surgery, especially if it was a revision. I joined this board 10 years ago as I was anticipating my first lumbar fusion (L5/L6 and L6/S1 with rods and screws). It was so helpful to me. Now, 10 years later, I am facing more surgery. CT Myelogram shows that my screws have come loose and are moving, my fusion at L6/S1 is no longer fused, and my L4/L5 now has so much stenosis that it is pinching nerves. [Yes, I have 6 fully formed lumbar vertebrae, so that makes it a little confusing.] I have an appt in 2 weeks with the back surgeon to go over details about the surgery. He has already told me that he would plan to go in through the abdomen and through the back, and also get bone graft from my hip. So I think that means 3 incisions. I can't imagine the recovery from that many incisions. Can anyone share anything to help me prepare? Has anyone had successful surgery of this type? I don't see any alternative to surgery, since my hardware is wiggling around.
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Surgery was 'success' they were originally planning on putting a bracket on the posterior side but said my bone structure wouldn't allow it or something.
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So it was mainly an ALIF but they did go through the back to do some bone grafting, so I have incisions on both sides.
So far so good on recovery, obviously very ginger but have been up and moving since 24 hours after and was in hospital for 2 1/2 days.
Have used painkillers when needed but I plan to take it very easy and not push anything. Doing my regular exercises / walking each day has worn me out pretty good but overall so far so good. ANy questions let me know and I will keep updating this thread over the next couple weeks.
Posting on behalf of my father. He is 48 years old and developed severe back pain and leg pain from Feb this year. We've been to a spine surgeon specialist and have been getting some advice. We have been given a nerve root block (steroid injection) and we tried conservative treatment (swimming + physiotheraphy) for 6-7 weeks but the condition has not improved. It is looking like we need to take surgical action as I can't image what type of pain he goes through every day. He is currently off work and on Lyrica 25mg + panadeine forte (basically tylenol a bit of codeine).
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Here are the MRI findings for his lumbar back summarised:
* L2/3 - mild broad based disc bulge, minimal impingement on thecal sac.
* L3/4 - mild broad based disc bulge, minimal impingement on thecal sac. Mild narrowing of neural exit foramina on the left.
* L4/5 - broad based disc bulge, right para foraminal bilateral annular tear. Bilateral facet joint hypertrophy noted. Mild narrowing of the neural exit foramina bilaterally with potential irritation on exiting L4 nerve root weight bearing.
* L5/S1 - broad based disc bulge with facet joint hypertrophy causing mild impingement on the thecal sac. Narrowing neural exit foramina on left with potential impingement on left L5 nerve root. Mild narrowing on the right with potential impingement of exiting L5 nerve root weight bearing.
The surgeon has told us that it is basically bilateral foraminal stenosis on L5/S1 due to the disc degeneration on the L5/S1 level that is causing the back pain and the sciatica. He wishes to fuse L5/S1 anterior and posterior. There will be instrumentation (rods, screws, wedge). I was wondering if there was anyone out there with similar problems who elected for surgery. If so, how did it go and how much of the pain went away.
Also concerned if the 1 level fusion is actually sufficient upon reading some posts on this forum and the internet. I'm quite scared at this stage and my father even more so. However, the pain is really getting to him and I understand that we are left with no choice.
I am new to the board and am now one year out from lumbar fusion. I am a very physical person and a Personal Trainer as well. My low back pain has all but disappeared however neck and shoulder pain,stiffness and numbness are very concerning !!! I am currently treating with acupuncture and muscle relaxers. I also am a chronic migraine sufferer and believe this is partially being caused by cervical issues.
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8 days ago I had ALIF surgery on L5-S1 disc. I can not get over how good my back feels. I never thought that I would be pain free again. I spent the last 2 1/2 years in extreme pain, I had tried everything to relieve the pain but nothing seemed to help even a bit. I had been taking 10/325 norco 4-5 times a day. Now after surgery I have absolutely no back pain, I do however have some discomfort in the stomach area from the incision. I go to get my stitches out in 6 days and still have 3 weeks before I go back to the surgeon for my follow up. I am hoping he will let me go back to work after my follow up. I know that all surgeries are not this textbook but for me it was remarkable. I am hoping that I can do some kind of working out once I have total fusion. I have put on 35 pounds over the last 2 1/2 years and have not been able to exercise. I hope others have had such great success with this surgery.
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Had ALIF surgery almost 3 weeks ago and now bad leg pain on back of my thighs and under left knee. Is this common and when will go away. Back pains I knew but leg is bad.
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I had ALIF L5S1 revision surgery on 12-4-2014
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To repair a failure to fuse after TLIF
In 2012. The past week my left foot at various times during day is ice cold. I started using a digital thermometer to measure and the bottom of my left foot would be 84 degree at same time my right foot is 97degree. My left leg and foot is the leg I have had problems for years along with my back pain. My left foot will return to normal temperature and then get ice cold again. I cannot figure a specific behavior pattern that may cause this. Anyone have any ideas? I am having usual back and leg pain as well.
How was it decided that you were a good candidate for revision? I am 13 months out from TKR. Still so much pain and doctor says maybe a revision might help. Plan on waiting until it's been 18 months to revisit it.
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I was diagnosed with a hyperflexible big toe via a weight bearing scan. Two years ago now, my surgeon fused the first and second metatarsals and removed a mild bunion in the hopes that this would sort out pain and swelling in that area. Swelling around the hardware (specifically the plate) lasted a while but has calmed down now. However, my big toe is completely stiff. My surgeon was surprised as he didn't expect so much scar tissue to form (I was 27 when I had the surgery and very active). This doesn't cause pain so much as discomfort on a regular basis and I've had to completely change what activities I do now (no running or long hikes without causing swelling and a stiff feeling). My second toe is also now significantly longer than the first (it wasn't before). This doesn't cause pain either but again discomfort when it takes the load for the big toe and it sometimes sets me off balance eg in yoga. I'm not sure if this is due to the length or simply that the big toe isn't taking weight anymore because it's so inflexible.
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My surgeon recommended surgery to: shorten the second toe, remove the hardware, remove the scar tissue, AND loosen the fusion (if that's the correct term).
Due to the intense recovery period last time and general concerns about surgery risks including that I'll end up either worse off or with the same stiffness, I'm not sure whether this is a good idea. I feel I can "manage" with my foot, but it's certainly not in the best condition to return to the activities I want to do, and I'm only 29.
It's scheduled for the week after next but I'm not sure whether I should go ahead. Neither my GP nor my surgeon seems overly confident, I think there's no real answer but I'd love to know your opinions on whether this second surgery might end up better or worse.
I had surgery the middle of last year for suspected HR. Decompression osteotomy with Cheilectomy had a few problems with the recovery and had to have revision surgery which included further cheilectomy and debridement.
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11 weeks post 2nd surgery and still getting swelling and some joint pain which is different than the before the initial surgery.
I have read that swelling can last anywhere up to a year. My worry is the joint ache and pain. I'm not sure if this is post op healing raw bone etc. Or is it something else.
Does anyone here have similar experience of HR surgery and did they eventually get rid of the pain?
Has anyone found anything to help neuropathy after ALIF surgery? It has been 19 months and the pain is increasing. I cannot bear to wear anything except the loosest of clothing, I cannot walk without a cane or walker, I have new bowel and bladder function problems within the last 3 months. Is there anything that would even work temporarily to allow an airport ride? I buy even groceries online. I am in pain management with a respected doctor. I have have PT, water PT, massage, acupuncture, and narcotic medication. The fusion on L4/L5 and L5/S1 is fine; my life is not worth living.
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I have asked to be removed from all pain medications as they were not helping at all and did not want to just keep increasing dosage. So my PM Dr. suggested i try Ativan or Diazepam before bed and also a muscle relaxant called Baclofen for spasms during the day (which i had been on in 2013) it did not work, but he insists on trying it over the Soma 350mg i had been on before the surgery.... any input
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I am finally on my way to getting a long awaited L4-L5 Fusion. My doc decided on ALIF due to my previous L4/L5 Laminectomy (2003) creating a lot of scar tissue. That surgery was done posterior and it would not be a good thing to reopen the same L/4 area. I am relieved that this fusion is finally being done. My disc is about 98% gone and I deal with bone on bone pain daily in addition to bone spurs and osteoarthritis. However, I tolerate it pretty well. In addition to the L4/L5 issue, I also have 2 herniations in my neck and another few in my mid back. But these are secondary to my initial problem and need to take care of this fusion first and foremost. I read a lot of negatives about fusions on this board, but I try my best to think positively. Everyone is different and not every situation is similar. My plan is to help anyone I can with my experience and give support. I will try to post my progress after surgery. If anyone had recently (2013) had a ALIF fusion on L4/L5, I would like to hear about your experience. This will be a journey that I will not forget and I am planning on making it the best I can given the circumstances.
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I have my ALIF L5/S1 Fusion scheduled for Nov. 3rd which is about a week away and I am very nervous/anxious/scared ********/relieved to be having it done. I'm just looking for any advice as to what to expect and also any advice on what to bring to the hospital to help out along the way in recovery.
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I am 18 months out from my 4 th spine surgery, ALIF at L4&5-s1. The surgery has been a huge success, no back pain and only occasional mild aching in my legs with ibuprofen for pain control as needed.
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My problem is the continuing cramping in my foot, calf, back of the thigh and buttock on the affected side. One or more of those areas cramp multiple times a day. I lay in bed at night and can feel the Calf muscle twitching, have to keep my foot flexed to prevent cramping. As soon as I doze off, my foot relaxes and the calf immediately cramps, meaning I have to get up and walk to stop the cramping. Anyone else have this issue? Any insight? Muscle relaxants have only minimal effect, and I hate the thought of taking them every night. The problem intensifies the more exercise I get, which is discouraging.
Had this op performed by Mr Reece at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow just over 3 weeks ago. I have 8 screws and two cages in my disc space packed with synthetic bone grafts and injected with bone marrow taken from my vertebrae.
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I was up walking the same day, baby steps buy nonetheless, walking. I was in hospital for 4 days (I would have been out earlier if my bowels had moved sooner).
The first 2 weeks were pretty uncomfortable. Very sore to move as the front stomach wound was very swollen and tight. Once this initial period passed things became easier.
I can now get up from lying in bed or on the couch without much pain, it's still there in the background but not all controlling.
I'm walking everyday, not far but doing this a number of times.
I'm taking this recovery very slowly as this is last go at resolving my back pain after having two previous surgeries on the same site (S1-L4).
Only sitting for very brief spells, not driving yet due to wound, plus sitting does bring on the pain. I have had some nerve pain down my left leg, probably every few days or so but it settles after some meds.
I am still on my nerve pain meds as the damage from previous surgeries won't be fixed by the op. Also still on Dihydrocodeine 60mg X 4 daily but I'll try and reduce these over the coming months.
Would I say that it's been successful? Yes! I have greatly reduced back pain which was my dominant pain source.
It is a major decision to have this op but I had been through all conservative methods previously which didn't assist at all.
Hopefully things will continue to improve over the coming weeks and months. I'll report back over this timescale.
I had surgery exactly three weeks ago. I developed a fever (99.9-101.8) in the hospital two or three days post op. They gave me antibacterial iv and oral meds from the surgery on. As I developed the fever, they gave me antiviral medication to treat a huge and painful fever blister I developed just two days after surgery thinking that this sore was the culprit. The fever had gone down to low grade but now i'm concerned because it does not want to go away. Im taking Norco and the tylenol in it keeps the fever below low grade but when I don't take Norco ( which i take less and less) the fever and chills/ night sweats keep returning. It is generally starting at noon or afternoon, almost always present in the evenings. Usually 99.5-100.5.
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Im very worried that it can be some kind of a stubborn infection. I'm three weeks after surgery, i should not have a temp at all. Plus I'm not fever prone, i hardly ever had a fever in my life, flu or any other illness i pull thru with no temps.
I am interested in how you have recovered and how your nerve pain is.
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i just had an alif L5=S1 on oct 22 and i think things are going ok. I only have slight discomfort around my spine, have slight nerve aches in my left leg but my feet ache like i have been standing all day. My surgeon told me to expect nerve pain for up to 4 months but i cant help worrying when i get pain where i never had it before I don't get pain walking or sitting, only the foot pain when standing and nerve pains when lying down.
I am going to be scheduled for an L5/S1 (ALIF) fusion surgery. While I am in significant amounts of pain, I am nervous about the recovery for this procedure. I would like to think that I have a high tolerance of pain but I am very nervous about this procedure. How long is the typical recovery time and how bad is the post-op pain? I am having a difficult time deciding when to have my surgery because I don't know how long to expect to be incapacitated.
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I am 4 weeks post op from ALIF at L5-S1. I've had discectomy done twice (2002 and 2012) The last one didn't help any so we did injections and that offered no relief so it was on to the fusion. So far I haven't reached that point where I'm feeling any relief. My surgeon acted like I should have felt relief immediately. I'm still having lower back, butt, and all the way down my leg into my ankle and foot pain (all of this on the LEFT side) I've read and been told it could be quite a while before I get any relief. I was told I would only be in the hospital for 24 hours and was in there for 4 days. I used a walker for the first week and a half or so. I can now move around without it, I'm just very careful. I mostly lay flat in bed with ice. I do get up quite often to walk around the house and have started sitting up in a chair that my Home PT set up for me when he came to visit immediately after surgery. I also do the exercises my PT gave me.
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About 4 days ago, I was laying on my side and I reached back to turn my heating pad on. I guess I wasn't thinking and twisted too much. I felt a sharp pain in my back that shot down my leg. Every since then, I have had the worst pain in my back. (I still had the same amount of pain in my back/butt/leg/foot as I did before this surgery 6/10. This new pain has been added to a new place in my back, and when I move it goes up to about a 8/10) I was giving it a few days before I called my surgeon because I don't want to be one of those people who constantly call the dr with small issues that go away after only a few days. This definitely is showing no signs of letting up) The worst part is, they just moved my meds down from hydrocodone 10-325 every 4 hours to Hydrocodone 7.5-325 every 6-8 hours. (Previously to surgery I had been on percocet 10-325/6 hours since June of last year. My surgeon prescribed that for one week after surgery then refilled me with hydrocodone 10-325/4 hours the last 2 weeks. These really didn't do the job, but at least I was somewhat comfortable so I dealt with it.) Now that they changed me down again, I'm getting no relief. Especially with this new pain. Over the weekend I was taking more than I was suppose to and now I'm worried I won't be able to get a refill when I need it. I've been taking pain meds for a little over 2 years now. I look forward to the day I no longer have to rely on them just to be able to get up out of bed in the morning. That day just doesn't seem to be anytime soon. I feel that at the age of 36, I am too young to be in this kind of physical condition.
When I walk, I am bent over to my right side like a little old lady. I can't stand up straight. And each time I take a step with my left leg, it feels like someone is stabbing me in the lower back on my left side. Hopefully I can get some answers tomorrow when I call. I knew this surgery was going to be a long recovery, and I was prepared for that. This new pain really has me worried and I really hope I haven't done something to mess it up. I just don't feel like this pain is something I should be having
Has anyone else injured themselves while recovering from a fusion like this? If so, what was your results? Did it heal on it's own or what? I know everyone is different, it's just good to not feel quite so all alone thru this. No one understands unless they have been thru it. Especially doctors they seem to think that everything goes exactly like the "book" says it should. That's just not always the case.
I am a 40 year old male that has had two back surgeries. First Surgery February 2014 Lumbar Spine Posterior Discectomy Micro-discectomy on L4 & L5. Surgery failed no improvement. My Second surgery March 2015 Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (alif) surgery on L4, L5, & S1 with cage implants and bone grafts harvested from my own hip bone. I experience sciatica on my right leg and most frequent on left leg ;shooting pain down my right/left hip/buttocks, goes down the back of the leg. The last 3 years left foot numbness. My worst pain is in bed getting up is very painful. Before my ALIF surgery I suffered from sciatica foot numbness and pain in mostly my left leg region. After 6 weeks post ALIF surgery or so I started getting pain in my buttock/hip region. This actually started during my physical therapy. At first I was doing water therapy this is when it started. My last day of water therapy I was literally about to go to ER from P.T clinic. From there on it just had gotten worst, no real improvement. I went back for more P.T sessions stretching and other exercises . What Physical Therapist did notice that my hip motion was very limited and not much improved happen during all my sessions about 40 or so. Its being about 10 months after surgery and 4 months of P.T. and pain on hips doesn't go away. I have to be careful going up or down stairs. Getting out of bed or moving around in bed its a battle. I have spoken to my surgeon and he says it will take more time for recovery and possible have to live with this pain as a fact of life. I have also spoke to other doctor s and pretty much same response. Once thing I just found out recently is about Hip Bursitis. I was diagnosed with Arthritis. My surgeon keeps on saying its my Arthritis causing pain but prior to ALIF surgery I never had this buttocks pain , specially getting in and out bed. I was wondering if anyone has had same symptoms after spinal fusion surgery having Hip Pain From Arthritis or Hip Bursitis?
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