L5/L4 Fusion & Disc Decompression

I'm going in for surgery on Tuesday for L4/L5 Fusion plus Disc Decompression and the anxiety is starting to hit. I'm 44 years old and had both hips replaced plus 3 other surgeries because of degenerative arthritis but this surgery is making me real nervous. Can someone give me a little inform regarding before and after surgery please.

21 Replies

  • I'm always very nervous before any medical procedure but try not worry I've not had this done so can't help on that part but your in good hands and it's never as bad as our minds make it good luck please try not to worry

  • Thank you so much...

  • They would not offer the operation if you didn't REALLY need it. It will give you a different type of pain after surgery, I tried to make sure that as soon as I came around I started moving, wiggling toes,circling ankles and by later in the day moving legs up and down the bed. It makes it so much easier to manage your own recovery if you own it and don't fear the post op pain etc.

  • Thank you so much...

  • I had anterior ( through the stomach not the back) spinal fusion at L4 L5 and it was easier than I thought, when I awoke from surgery I was not in a lot of pain. It was uncomfortable and very sore and controlled by myself with morphine pump, not sure if yours is anterior but try to not be concerned about the surgery. i hope this helps and get back in contact if you have any other concerns. regards Peter.

  • Thank you so much...

  • They are going in through the back. The Dr. told me he just did the same surgery on a 27 year old girl and she is doing great.

  • I have not had this surgery I have spine blocks just like to wish you a speedy recovery

  • Thank you...

  • Had the same operation done twice ! Once through the abdomen S1-L5 18 months ago and L 2_3_4 through the back 8 months ago. I would think you were very strange if you were not scared, it's natural to fear such a big op, having an ingrown toenail it isn't ! The ward I had mine done on were excellent, I had a Fentanyl pump and an epidural for the first three days, I got out of bed on the fourth,walked on the fifth day and went home on the six, don't get me wrong, it was one of the most painful things I have had done, but the pain relief was excellent and everyday it felt better.My back now feels stable and I don't get those awful electric shock pains you get when you pinch your spinal cord, or the awful throbbing aching feeling from having two discs bone- on- bone. I wish you well, and a uneventful recovery.

  • Thank you so much...

  • to SLRoth71,

    I don't blame you for being scared, but not yet having this surgery, I cannot advise you, but I can sympathize and tell you to get as much information as possible. There have been numerous surgery's like yours with great results. Good luck to you.

  • Thank you so much...

  • Has any one worked with your muscle problems. I am not a medical specialist, but I know a lot of surgeons have no idea how faulty habitual muscle behaviour contributes to bone destruction. You have had other surgeries which should be ringing alarm bells. The surgery you are offered may a short term fix, but not a long term solution with real fall out problems in the long term.

    I think you need to investigate your muscular behaviour and posture first. Alexander Technique and the other complementary therapies like yoga and massage is not a cure for the problem you have, but they could have a major difference on the quality of life you experience.

    The medical profession ignores the problems that muscles cause and because they are ignored the muscle problems do not receive treatment.

    have a look at


    Not sure if I have been helpful.

  • I'm going to look into it. I'm the only one on both sides of my family that has degenerative arthritis. I had 2 total hip replacements. Both elbows shaved and my right shoulder. The spine also has arthritis up and down then my L5 is cracked. I'm 44 years old and have been. Going for physical therapy plus lower lumbar shots and no relief. The neurosurgeon didn't push me into surgery until we went through all the options. Then when he recommended surgery he didn't push. I'm just so tired of the leg pains, feet pain, lower back pains everyday. I still push myself everyday but its depressing. When I decided to finally have the surgery my neck spasms where so bad I could not tilt my head back to the left.

  • Thanks for the reply. Did the muscles damage and crack the L5 or did something else do it?

    I have been getting McTimony Chiropractic on the NHS since 1994. This is worth looking into. Look at the NICE recommendations concerning chiropractic treatment. Cracked L5 is out of my knowledge.

    Put a proposal together for chiropractic treatment maintaining your quality of life and present it to your GP. You may need to pay for some treatments yourself first so that you know what you are talking about when you see the GP.

    McTimony Chiropractic also treat other joints of the body not just the spine. This is me talking from experience.

    Hope this helps.

  • I have had this done on two discs on my lower back twenty years ago by key hole surgery and was like a new man the next day. The pressure and pain gone, it was like taking a heavy rucksack off me! No problems, touch wood with re since. Now have similar issue with my neck and I'm frightened. You'd be mad not to have some fear! You can ask for a pre med something like Diazipam to calm you down before main anaesthetic.

    Very best of luck I'm sure it will be fine.


  • Hello,

    Firstly, it is totally natural to feel nervous about having an operation.

    Would it be of help to write down what you are actually nervous of? Then you can maybe add what can be done to address your fears? For example, I would be nervous about feeling pain. I would write down the answer that my pain would be controlled as long as I told the nurses how bad it was.

    It sounds as if you have been there and got the badge.

    Hopefully my post will be of use to you.

    I wish you a full and speedy recovery post op.

    Best wishes,


  • I am going in for surgery on Wednesday. I've been in sooooo much pain I'm looking forwards to it. It will take about 7 hours to remove the L4/L5 disc and fuse the vertebrae. But I'll be asleep for the whole process

    I have found the comments on this forum really helpful and reassuring. Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to post

  • I recently had surgery on August 18. Disc decompression and fusion (ALIF) the surgery took approximately 6 hours due to the situation being much worse once I was opened up. About 2 or 3 hours into recovery I had no pain In legs or feet. The recovery to me is not that bad very sore when laying down and nerves can be a little unruly but not the bad. Ask doctor about Lyrica for the nerve inflammation. Speedy recovery...

  • Hi there. I have had this exact op, and beforehand, I could walk because of the compressed nerve pain. Afterwards, before leaving hospital, they need to check you can walk up couple steps and that you have no after effects and six weeks recouping. Just short. Gentle walks. But don't push yourself. A lot of core excerises helped me after a couple months and gentle swimming. Hope this helps x

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