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How long does it take for a fusion to heal
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How long does it take for a fusion to heal

I was wondering about two level fusion. I had l4-5 and s1 done on feb 4 2009. The doctor said I will not be able to go back to my job i perform of over 20 yrs. I am on california state disability and I don't know about retraining programs that might be available to me but I'm 46 now so what next?I am 8weeks post op and still have all restrictions in place until at least may 26th my next visit 4 month post op. Hopefully I can start pt to get my hamstrings streched and maybe start swimming agin. Wow this is hard doing nothing but laying and walking!!! but very happy so far I feel great no more pain!!
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847433_tn?1243013252
Sorry to hear about your pain kat.  I have an L5/S1 herniation with severe muscle weakness in my legs and burning in feet leg and groin area.  My ortho scheduled me for fusion surgery but after about 2 weeks the weakness started to get somewhat bettter.  I still have it and still have the burning and numbness but I am getting around better. I cancelled the surgery for the time being.  He said I had the beginning of cauda equina syndrome.  As I said I didnt have the fusion surgery (yet) and will continue to hold off but am afraid of permanent nerve damage.

I am curious, what were your injuries and symptoms and how long did you suffer before deciding on surgery.  I am about your age too, no disability yet but I am applying, i am a nurse.  I also have 2 herniations in my neck which thank god for the time being are being controlled with the 2 epidurals I had.

hope u feel better soon.
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missy,
I was doing awesome after a l4-5 microdiscetomy  in feb of 2006. stated swimming and as of jan 25,2008, i was swimming 3500 yards in a hour and 20 min. I started working in the field again due to emploee losses and the down economy. I did repairs on cars rock chip touch up and headlight restoraion. lots of bending stooping and squatting. within two months my hips began killing me so bad I could hardly walk. by november 2008 at the end I WENT TO A HIP SPECIALIST AT THE SAME PLACE i HAD SPINE SURGERY BEFORE. THEY TOOK EXRAYS AND DID AN EXAM AND FOUND I HAD 3 INCH MUSCLE LOSS IN LEFT LEG, NO FEELING COULDN'T GET UP FROM SQUATTING POSITION, HOP ON LEFT LEG. WASN'T ABLE TO BEAR WEIGHT ON LEFT LEG . THEY SAID I WAS OUT OF THEYR'E SCOPE OF PRACTICE AND SAID TO GO DOWN TO THE SPINE CENTER RIGHT AWAY. THEY MADE A APPOINTMENT FOR THE FOLLOWING TUES DEC 2,2008 AND AFTER EXAM DECIDED TO DO CONTRAST MRI BECAUSE OF MY NEURODEFITCITS.HAD THE MRI AND APPT IMMEDIATLEY AFTER AND THEIR WAS NO SPACE AT ALL BETWEEN L4-5 AND S1. SURGEON FOUGHT FOR 2 MONTHS FOR ADR, INSURANCE WOULDN'T APPROVE IT SO FOR MY NERVE SITUATION HE FELT WE NEEDED TO FIX MY BACK ASAP. SURG ON FEB 4 2009, 8WEEKS POST OP TODAY FEEL AWESOME. I'M GLAD I WENT THROUGH WITH IT AND FOLLOWING DOCTORS INSTRUCTIONS TO THE T. HOPE THIS HELPS, DON'T WAIT TOO LONG IF YOU NEED SUGERY, SO YOUR NERVES AREN'T PERMANTLY DAMAGED.
IF I COULD HAVE I DEFINATELY WOULD HAVE HAD ADR BUT AT LEAST IM OUT OF PAIN AND WELL ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY.
KAT1983
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Avatar_f_tn
I am glad that your surgery was so successful in reducing your symptoms of pain. Your pre-op status was definitely neurologically precarious and your doctor was doing the right thing to proceed with a fusion surgery.  ADR is currently only being done for one level disc herniation problems where there is no evidence of spinal degenerative changes that would not be appropriate for a disc replacement.  The purpose of ADR is to maintain the height between the vertebrae with the artificial disc and preserve as much movement and function of the spine as possible.  If there are other degenerative changes present which would make the spine particularly unstable, ADR would not be appropriate. You need the fusion with the hardware to stabilize the spine and prevent further damage.  
Complete fusion can take up to 8 months or longer, but your restrictions will ease incrementally over the next few months.  You are doing absolutely the best by following your doctor's cautions to the "T".
I am six weeks postop cervical fusion C4-C7 and have had a very good result with most of my preop symptoms gone within 3hrs of the surgery.  Still having some muscle spasms and neck strain due to the positioning on the OR table and my eagerness to return to "normal" activity.  I know that pushing beyond your limits is not the way to heal and I am now approaching activity with a new appreciation for my fused neck.
Keep up the good work and you will eventually be back to full form.
Being on state disability gives you the opportunity to take the time to assess your capabilities for returning to work.  You may not be able to resume your prior work duties as they certainly seemed labor intensive!  There are vocational counselors available that can assist you in determining what you will be able to perform within the limits of your situation.  Keep in touch with the disability office and make good use of the varied programs available regarding return to work issues.  You sound very determined and that will go a long way in getting where you want to go!
Best wishes ----
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