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Old 10-25-2004, 06:55 PM   #1
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injured betty HB User
what happens after fusion?

We were out for a walk yesterday and I got to wondering, what happens after fusion? My husband is just four weeks out but once it fuses, what happens if he falls? Once you fuse, you are solid bone, no more shock absorbers in your neck. If you fall and that breaks, because you are no longer able to spring right back, what then? What if he gets rear ended in his car? He has been rear ended before and his neck snapped right back. What happens when you are solid bone and you no longer have the rubber band qualities of the discs? Do you break your neck? What about your spinal cord? Are you in much more danger when you are fused?

Here we are, out walking and both of us afraid of falling. I don't want to have this fear because it just tightens up the muscles, which makes it harder if we fell to absorb the shock. But, since I have fallen before, it is a real fear.

 
Old 11-01-2004, 06:57 PM   #2
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Re: what happens after fusion?

I have that same question. Wish someone would have responded to yours. I will ask my NS on my next appt on the 29th of this month. When I find out, I will let you know.

 
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Old 11-01-2004, 07:26 PM   #3
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Re: what happens after fusion?

Since there are so many people here who have had fusion, I was/am surprised that no one has stepped forward and said what they thought would happen. This scares me.

 
Old 11-01-2004, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: what happens after fusion?

why don't you give the dr a call tomorrow. See, I mentioned the outpatient thing to my PM doc and he in no way supports the outpatient surgery for any back related surgeries. His doc should have gone over these issues and questions with you both before discharge. But, foremost, give the office a call.

 
Old 11-02-2004, 03:15 AM   #5
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Re: what happens after fusion?

It's my understanding that the disks above/below would take the shock. It helps if you can relax and roll as you fall.
fly

 
Old 11-02-2004, 08:20 AM   #6
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myspine HB User
Re: what happens after fusion?

The area fused is actually the strongest area after it has healed. Esp. if you had instrumentation. I was told by my surgeon and my family member who is a physician, that if they have someone who fell from a 2 story building (example) that the although other parts of the spine may be more fragile then before, the fusion site is the one site they would not have to worry about.
Shelley

 
Old 11-02-2004, 10:27 AM   #7
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Re: what happens after fusion?

But you do have to be concerned about the disks above and below. If the fused section separates from the rest of the spine you're in big trouble.
fly

 
Old 11-02-2004, 10:45 AM   #8
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Re: what happens after fusion?

[QUOTE=mel1977]why don't you give the dr a call tomorrow. See, I mentioned the outpatient thing to my PM doc and he in no way supports the outpatient surgery for any back related surgeries. His doc should have gone over these issues and questions with you both before discharge. But, foremost, give the office a call.[/QUOTE]


We can't just call the doc although that would be great. Once the Neuro is done with you, they are done. You get the nurse or another helper. We are so short on Neuros in the state where we live that if you are hurt and have bleeding on the brain, you had better do it between the hours of.... and the days of.... because there are only two of them to serve the entire sourthern part of our state.

Out patient surgery may not be supported by doctors but that is the trend. In fact, I read on a site that there is a bill right now looking for signatures so that women who get mascectomies are allowed to stay overnight. At this point, it too, is being done on an outpatient basis.

Our health care system is falling apart.

I would agree that the fusion would be strong once it is formed, but would it be any stronger than bone? Wouldn't it be line breaking a bone if you fell? That is a scary thought since the spinal cord is right there and that discs are out bodies shock absorbers.

When you are released from the doctor's, after the fusion, you are basically handed a sheet of things that you can eat, instructions on the dressings, and when you can shower. You are not given referrals, any instructions on what you can and can't do physically, or an reference what can be expected. He goes back for X-rays and that is pretty much it.

Thanks for the replies.

 
Old 11-02-2004, 12:33 PM   #9
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Re: what happens after fusion?

That was the reason for my fusion revision. When I fell, I cracked my fusion. I'm still not sure if that was the actual case once the neuro did the surgery. I'm not getting a lot of answers from my neuro right now. Of course I always forget what I want to ask when I get in there. I know I should make a list before I see him, but I always seem to forget to do that too.

I'm waiting to get my reports so I can read up and see what was actually done. But obviously it is possible to do, because that was his initial diagnosis.

Memaw

 
Old 11-02-2004, 02:30 PM   #10
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Re: what happens after fusion?

betty, sure you won't talk to the doc, but his nurse should take the message and talk to him and he will help. If he doesn't, he is not a good dr. I have never had a dr who wouldn't help me or answer a question after surgery. Nine times out of ten, if I call with a question, the nurse will get back to me with what the dr suggests. But, I see you have gotten some good answers here.

 
Old 11-02-2004, 05:34 PM   #11
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Re: what happens after fusion?

Mel,
First, it is OWCP. That speaks volumes. Next, the doc works/lives about four hours from us. The doc is a very busy person. The nurse can't answer doc questions. It is hard to even get a return call. Our state is sorely hurting for doctors, especially Neruos.

We can't ask our primary because his case was turned over to the Neuro. We are stuck in limbo. I was kind of hoping that someone here would have more information that we do. There are lots of people with fusions on this board. Someone must wonder. It is a two level fusion, so that is kind of a long stetch, in my mind of what will be solid bone, no shock absorbers. With the area that it is in, it is likely that if he were ever rearended, without the discs, the neck could not whip and it would break. We have taken up walking, almost exclusively until we are comfortable with this. He has already been rear ended twice in the last five years. (not the cause of his injury)

 
Old 11-02-2004, 06:44 PM   #12
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jewelly HB User
Re: what happens after fusion?

betty,
its my understanding from working in the er, that many spinal cord injuries are due to a fracture/dislocation of the separate vertabrae, if you can picture it you can see that with the right amount of force, this could happen. however, if an area is fused i would imagine that you would have less of a chance of damage to that area-but still the same chance in the unfused area. Also i think that when bone repairs itself, in the end its stronger.
this is just a guess though, im not a doctor.

 
Old 11-02-2004, 07:38 PM   #13
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lfoster21 HB User
Wink Re: what happens after fusion?

I am so sorry that I didn't see your thread when you 1st started it, or I would have answered earlier. I fell a few weeks ago (at 8 wks. post op), and I put my arm out to protect my back. I find I am a lot more nervous about how I walk and drive. The good news is that I didn't do any harm to my back. I do know that they say the level up and down are more likely to be damaged.

Good luck,

Lorie
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