lumbar fusion recovery time? - GL1800Riders
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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lumbar fusion recovery time?

I am depressed. I went to see a surgon and he said what I did not want to hear. he said two discs need to be removed and fuse the vertebrae together.

I was a little out of sorts, even though I knew before going in and half the questions I had just never got asked. I know I have read other posts regarding back problems so I thought this would be a beter source of info.

Here is the bike related part:

How long before I will be able to ride again?

I have only talked to one other rider and he said two years for him!

I don't think I am a slow healer although I have nothing to comair this to. I have never even broke a bone.

I am 49 yrs old, a carpenter by trade I am not over weight, I'd say execpt for my back I am in good shape.

If it will be a long recovery time I will be forced to sell my wing, I have had it a year, still three years to pay on it.

who has had the fusion and how long before you could ride again???



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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:28 PM
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It has been a while since I have done Ortho surgery, but here are the things that will effect it are....

It is two levels which isn't too bad. It depends on if it is L-1 and L-2? or is it L-5 S-1 which is more common? the later is a shorter healing time...but you need to do the rehab and listen to your body.

Personally I would wait and see, good chance it could be 6-8 weeks. Ask your MD.


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:42 PM
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VIATORNADO I had lumbar fusion done in 1983 ,Hartford Conn. I had the worse ruptured disc my doctor had ever seen. He was 64 yrs at the time and had written a couple of books. I am a plumber by trade and our backs and knees take a beating. I am sure there has been some advancements in disc surgery since 1983. (1st) Make sure the surgeon that will actually do your surgery has done many of them himself not just assisted. You do not want ANYONE messing with your spine that does not have experience with this type of surgery. I know people that are crippled from letting the wrong person operate on them.(2nd) Do not try to return to work too soon before you have healed.(3rd) Make your surgeon gives you excercises for scar tissue and do them religiously. Many people go back for surgery just to remove scar tissue- seriuosly. It took me about a month to recuperate, and I was out of work maybe 6 wks max. Scar tissue excercises and doing squats helped regain strength in my legs. Sorry this is long winded but I want to make sure you have as much info as possible. Good Luck You will be fine

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:03 PM
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I had my L 5 and S 1 fused two years ago. I was 57 yrs old at the time of the surgery. I am a fire fighter and was off work for 8 week with the instructions of no lifting of anything over 20 pounds for that recovery time. I did manage to hop on the Wing at the 5 week mark and go for a ride. I was real careful putting it on the center stand after and stayed off of it for the rest of the recovery time. I did the surgery in the late fall so as not to miss to much riding good weather riding during the winter months. Good luck on what ever you chose to do.

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:22 PM
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No fusion here but I just had recent back surgery. I gave it a month before I got back on my ride. Best of luck.
post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:23 PM
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About 4 years ago my wife had C5-C6 which is the cervical (neck) area. she was back on her bike at 8 weeks. Just recently she had L5-S1 done and she was back on her bike in 6 weeks. The main thing is stick to your physical theropy and don't slack off.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should have put in there that it the L5-S1, and the one above also.
thanks for giving me a little relief, I do not plan on going in for surgery untill fall, I hurt like heck but pain pills work for now

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 02:24 AM
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I've been under the knife twice for L5-S1.

The first time was a simple fusion with some of the ruptured disk removed.

Note they seldom remove the whole disk unless it is replaced with something to fill the space such as bone or other options.

Anyway the first fusion failed.

Second time 6 years later after too much pain and complications from the failed attempt they put in instrumentation, Rods-n-bolts from L4-S1 to bridge the problems at L5.
This one worked and I was back on the MC in just over a month for short rides. Bicycles took longer. The Doc's never restricted me beyond the amount of time I could sit up or walk vs laying down to limit the stress on the fusions in the first six months or so. Sitting for long periods over 15 minutes or so as a big no-no.

Total Recovery time for a fusion varies with age & other factors but I was told to expect Six Months both times for the fusion part with a Year for the Instrumentation to set up fully.

Have a detailed discussion with your Neuro & Ortho that will be doing the work and insist on a plan or plans of action which may change when they get a better look in the OR.

Good luck.


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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 02:31 AM
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Never had it done but you will recover and be able to ride. As an RN I've read tons of charts where people have had this kind of thing done and they usually do well.
Now, not to be harsh or anything, but get your medical advice from your doctor, not the internet. What applies to someone else isn't necessarily the same as you. You do not want to screw yourself up worse by trying to rush things.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-20-2010, 01:09 PM Vendor's Avatar
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I have S1-L5-L4-L3 roded and screwed, and discs removed and bone grafted.

My surgery was rough. I would not have ridden a bike for a year, I was scared.

Note that they will make you get up and walk the day after the surgery.

My main regret is that I was scared to use donor bone for the graft portion. They took a plate of bone from inside my pelvis, and that site was excruciatingly painful, at least as bad as the surgery. I would always take the donor bone in the future.

My time to where the general dull pain was 90% gone was two years. But nothing acute since. That was 2002.

PS, it will help to be married! You will need some legs and arms for a couple of weeks after the surgery.

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