Re: Having ALIF surgery and scared.
Do you know where you will be fused to? It's not necessarily a given that it will be to the sacrum even when it is flatback revision surgery - my first fusion was to L2, and the flatback revision only took it to L4.
If the loss of lordosis is modest, then it probably makes a lot of sense to try to gain the correction as an ALIF procedure (for anyone reading who's not familiar with the abbreviation, this is an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion - basically, the disc is removed and fusion material is packed in place of it. In most cases these days, a shaped cage is used, so that it both re-shapes, instruments and fuses the spine. It can be done at one level, or multiple levels, and a few degrees of lordosis can be added with each cage).
I ended up with a combination of small osteotomies (probably Smith-Petersen) and a huge one (probably Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy, in my case the entire rear of L2 was removed, so what's left is triangular when viewed from the side), but I didn't have straightforward flatback, and a lot of correction was needed.
As far as ALIF goes, although few people here will have been fused to the sacrum when having them, plenty of us have had it done My first surgery involved ALIF at T12-L1 and L1-2, and most people who have had lumbar anterior surgery will have had some form of ALIF procedure. I hope that is comforting to know!
It's very nearly 21 years since I had my original surgery, and although I was an adult I was not quite 21 so still very young. As such I'm sat here wracking my brains for advice related to it, but it all seems a remarkably long time ago! If you have any particular questions, do feel free to ask them. The few things that stand out as specific to the ALIF aspect of it were that I felt very weak on that side initially, so I'd get tired rapidly once I was sitting a bit. It also gave some really weird sensations when recovering, basically as a result of the way the nerves healed back up, but I found a solution to it which is that where you'd expect to want to be as gentle as possible around a scar, gentle touch drove it mad as feeling was returning, so I found that after the initial superficial pain had gone and this weirdness started, wearing close fitting jeans, or leggings, or a pair of tights made all the difference in the world, so I'm mentioning that just in case it proves helpful
We've had quite a few members who've had surgery in their 40s and later. Bluestone springs to mind as someone who is still around from time to time, and also MOB - she had flatback revision surgery, and considerably more recently than me, so could be a good person to search for messages by
Diagnosed at 15 with 50° curve, but probably juvenile IS. Fused in kyphosis (by non-specialised ortho) with a/p surgery T10-L2 @ 21, posterior only revision surgery to correct kyphosis @ 29. Now 38 with further revision surgery and extension of fusion to sacrum required to correct residual kyphosis, restore lordosis and address spinal stenosis.