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If you're contemplating multi-level spinal fusion

Started by SusiePM on 01/07/2018 3:26pm

In May 2016, I had a lumbar osteotomy and 16-level instrumented fusion. I had had back pain off and on for 40 years, and it seems degenerative disc disease had literally changed the front-to-back shape of my spine, from top to bottom. If you face similar surgery, just keep in mind that your recovery will test your will to the maximum. I had days when I wasn't sure I was going to make it and other days when I wasn't sure I wanted to. I was on opiates for three months and took a month to wean off them. The whole experience was absolutely brutal. BUT I no longer have pain in my back with every move I make. Luckily I had a skilled surgeon who had done similar surgeries on many occasions. I would say the recovery took about a year and I still am restricted in my movements because of the rods and screws holding things in place. But to be out of pain is sweet.

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3 Responses


Hi, SusiePM--thank you for taking the time to share your spine surgery story with us. You mention some excellent points, namely that spine surgery is not a quick fix. The recovery period is often just as you described: It may be long and incredibly challenging.

But in the end, you can look at your pain as a thing of the past--and we are so happy to read that. Thank you again for sharing your experience with us. It will no doubt help many others facing the same surgery. We wish you the very best!


I'm curious how long you were in Hospital? Did you go to a rehab afterwards? I ask these questions as I am having a fusion from T10 to my pelvis this Monday. I understand that everyone heals differently but am curious as to time frame. I had a fusion 23 years ago from L2 - S1 and was in hospital for three nights then rehab for 10 days.
My current doctor is saying I'll go home after 4 days... Has surgical prowess increased so much?


I was in the hospital for five days after this procedure. After 4 months, I was allowed to start physical therapy. The PT lasted three months. I think by now you have had your surgery and I hope you're doing well. Good luck!