Pedicle screws, rods, cross link and the radio-opaque markers in the fusion cage (from the back)
Pedicle screws from the side showing the hardware at the back and the radio-opaque markers in the fusion cage.
Last Monday morning, bright and early at the hospital for all the clerkly things to happen, then to be weighed, have blood taken, an ECG done and finally to meet Charles, the anaesthetist - and coincidentally the guy who was going to be keeping me alive for the next few hours. After those formalities and me grilling Charles, it was off to the holding bay. This is a little area just outside theatre and was the last walk I was to make for a few days. I was placed on a trolley with a big sign "Pre Warm". I was placed under a large bubble cell blanket that was in turn connected to a hot air blower. The idea being that I was going to be in a cold environment for the next few hours so I might as well get as warm as possible.
Next on the list of visitors was Tim, the surgical assistant. Tim was a friend of a friend so a nice chat helped to bust my mounting anxiety.
Finally Peter the surgeon came along for a chat and I was wheeled in for Charles to weave his magic. The next thing I recall was Peter telling me that he'd just rung my wife and that all had gone well.
Operative time was a very quick 140 minutes - we'd all been expecting 180 to 220 minutes, so that boded well.
During the operation Peter had removed the laminae from between the L5 and S1 vertebrae, together with the facet joints; cleaned out the intervertebral space; and inserted a fusion cage and finally placed 4 pedicle screws, two rods and a cross link. As well he had opened up what remained of the neural foramina on both sides to give a clear path for the nerves to exit.
So far, so good and I was off to the ward.