Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
What is it?
The surgery is performed through an incision in the left side of the abdomen. The surgeon may choose to remove disc or bone material to allow space for the nerve roots. A cage will be inserted into the disc space with a bone graft that will allow the fusing of the two vertebrae.
How do I prepare for surgery
Nil by mouth - eating and drinking should be stopped temporarily before surgery to decrease complications, you will be informed how long to fast for by your doctor. On average, eating is stopped 6 hours prior to surgery and drinking is stopped 3 hours prior to surgery. Bring Previous Scans - It is advised that patients brin all previous scans and x-rays on the day of surgery. The scans can help the medical tream identify any changes in your condition. Stop Smoking - It is highly advised that you stop smoking if you are going to be having surgery. Smokers have increased complication rates during surgery, longer recoveries and increased risks of clots and infections. Early Admitance - You should arrive a couple of hours before the surgery is schedual to allow time for a discussion with your surgeon and aneasthetist, a wardrobe change, and to allow for your height, weight and blood pressure to be taken.
What should I expect after surgery
Time in Hospital - Most patients will spend 2 to 5 days in hospital following following surgery. Recovery Time - You should see improvemnts within 2 weeks following surgery if there have been no complications. Scaring - The scar will be around 8cm to 13cm in length on the side of the abdomen. There will be another scar where the bone graft was taken from (often the pelvis)
What to do after surgery
Stay mobile - You are encouraged that once able, to move around and not remain sedetary as it is important to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. Washing the wound - Do not have baths or submerg your wound until it is closed. It should be washed with soapy water or skin safe disinfectant once a day and patted dry. You should leave your wound uncovered (if not leaking) Showering - You are safe to shower following surgery but you must take precautions to not allow water into your wound. This can be done by placing a water proof material over the wound as you shower. Ice packs - Application of ice packs can help ease pain INSET HYPERLINK Driving - You should refrain from driving in the first two weeks and only return to driving when you feel able to. If you are on heavy pain medication you shuold not drive Exercise and Stretches - Once the wound is healed you should start an exercise and stretching program to regain strength and flexibilities. You should discuss your exercise program with your doctor before starting.
Risks and Warning Signs to seek medical attention
Risks Operation Complications are rare, but can be very serious, complications include clotting infections paralysis, etc Warning Signs to seek medical attention Fever Increasing swelling and reness around the incision Incision comes apart Fluid oozing from incision Sudden bruising or worsening bruises Increase in severe pain New numbness, tingling or weakness in arms, hands, fingers or legs Increasing pain in arms and legs Difficulty swallowing Sweating