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    T12-L1 fusion
    victoriacosta posted:
    I'm a 20 year old female and I had an emergency T12-L1 fusion in December because of a ligamentous chance fracture from a horrible car accident. I'm 2 months post op and I'm going back to work next week. I was wondering how long it's taken anyone to heal and really be back to normal after a fusion. It's much better than it was two months ago but it feels like I'm never going to be back to normal again and I don't know anyone that's had anything like this done.. Another question I have is if I should expect to have problems with it down the road, especially because I'm so young?
    bj1208 responded:
    Hi and welcome to the support group -

    When was your surgery? What hardware was implanted? Has your surgeon released you? Have you had x-rays taken every 6 weeks?

    Everyone heals differently and reacts to treatments differently. One thing to consider asking your surgeon would be the domino effect - meaning since you have a fusion at T12-L1 it's possible the disc(s) above and below may have problems down the road. You really won't be 100% back to normal though you will be able to do most things. One of the worst is lifting heavy objects. Normally surgeons will restrict this to either 5 or 10 lbs during recovery. Also most would stipulate NOT to BEND OVER but to SQUAT DOWN as bending over puts too much pressure on the plates, screws and cage during recovery. Some still cannot do this even after they have fully healed.

    You need to make sure you speak with your surgeon and get all the do's and don'ts to make sure you make this a good recovery and to not jeopardize recovery by doing something that could damage the fusion. So before you head back to work you need to make sure you have a clean bill of health from your surgeon. Most fusions can take anywhere from 4 mts to a year to fully heal. Most surgeons won't release a patient until they can see the x-rays (every 6 weeks) to make sure the hardware is intact and that the fusion has taken.

    You need to realize you are only about 12 weeks post op (depending on what date surgery was) and most surgeons would advise against going back to work so early fearful of re-herniating the surgery site.

    Surgeons will wait til you are at a good standing with your fusion before releasing you and then they may suggest physical therapy to help strengthen core muscle. So there are a few steps in the recovery process.

    I just had my 2nd fusion in Dec and am still under my surgeon's care. He did advise 6 mts to a year for recovery. You can click on my name or picture and read my story. I had a failed back surgery syndrome with my first fusion and am having it again with the 2nd. This just means that even though the surgery was fine and my fusion healed properly my pains are worse than before surgery. This is only reason they label it as failed.

    But please get with your surgeon and ask tons of questions regarding your recovery period, what's expected to happen after being released etc.

    Let us know how u are doing~~
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~
    ~~ Joy ~~
    dianer01 responded:
    Hi Victoria,

    BJ has given you some great guidance here, and let me reiterate please follow your doctors instructions and do not try to overdo everything.

    I had L3-S1 fused and initially did really well. I was doing water therapy, walking for exercise and went back to a desk job at about 8 weeks. I over did every thing! Not good. At about 12- 14 weeks out I was in pain again and my doc was unable to find any specific reason for it. Time to slow things down again. It was a tough spring and summer and it took about a year to really feel good again. I am now 7 years out and do pretty well most of the time.

    Listen to your body, If you are sore from sitting, stand up or lay down. If you have been standing for a while, sit down and for goodness sake, please be very choosy about what and how you lift anything.


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