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Old 09-24-2005, 11:36 AM   #1
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can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

My son had spinal fusion in April, 2005. It was an L4/L5 L5/S1. He just had an MRI and we got the report back. It says "There has been fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1 with rods and pedicle screws." It goes on to say that it is stable. But, it doesn't say anything about new bone forming and the fusion taking.

I don't know if that means that the fusion has taken or that it means it's only fused with the rods and screws. I don't want to read anything negative into this, but it makes me nervous.

Bobi

 
Old 09-24-2005, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=BobiM]My son had spinal fusion in April, 2005. It was an L4/L5 L5/S1. He just had an MRI and we got the report back. It says "There has been fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1 with rods and pedicle screws." It goes on to say that it is stable. But, it doesn't say anything about new bone forming and the fusion taking.

I don't know if that means that the fusion has taken or that it means it's only fused with the rods and screws. I don't want to read anything negative into this, but it makes me nervous.[/QUOTE] [I]"There has been fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1"[/I]. [I]"It goes on to say that it is stable"[/I]. That right there tells you the fusion has taken. Was donor bone used in his surgery? Bone CANNOT fuse to rods and screws. Didn't you talk to the surgeon after the surgery?

I had a lamectomy with fusion of the L4-S1 and I can see on my last x-ray that the bone is fusing.

 
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Old 09-24-2005, 12:02 PM   #3
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

Bobi,
Hi, (my fusion is from C7-L4) based on the written report it sounds like the fusion has taken, have you seen a x-ray of that area, initially it is a black area on film, you'll see the machinery, then as the area fuses and bone grows it will turn white and will look solid in that area.

My fusion took a year to be completed and a full 2 years of recovery to build my strength back and get the muscles and nerves back in place.

What time frame of healing did the surgeon give you? Please give your your doctor a call for peace of mind.

wish you and your son the best, uvm

Last edited by ukiahvalleymom; 09-24-2005 at 12:06 PM. Reason: spelling error & additional info

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:07 PM   #4
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=YaYa04][I]"There has been fusion of L4-5 and L5-S1"[/I]. [I]"It goes on to say that it is stable"[/I]. That right there tells you the fusion has taken. Was donor bone used in his surgery? Bone CANNOT fuse to rods and screws. Didn't you talk to the surgeon after the surgery?

I had a lamectomy with fusion of the L4-S1 and I can see on my last x-ray that the bone is fusing.[/QUOTE]


Of course we talked to the surgeon after the surgery and he has an appointment Monday. I just don't recall him saying that it was beginning to fuse at his last appointment in July. He was 3 months out at that point. He had a bone harvest from his iliac crest which he had no pain from.

His MRI right after the surgery said the exact same thing as this one did and we know he wasn't fusing 4 weeks after the surgery. Possibly bone formation only shows on an xray and not on an MRI. I don't know.

Also, you can have stability and not have bone formation. Some people don't even know they haven't fused as long as it remains stable.

Bobi

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:15 PM   #5
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=ukiahvalleymom]Bobi,
Hi, (my fusion is from C7-L4) based on the written report it sounds like the fusion has taken, have you seen a x-ray of that area, initially it is a black area on film, you'll see the machinery, then as the area fuses and bone grows it will turn white and will look solid in that area.

My fusion took a year to be completed and a full 2 years of recovery to build my strength back and get the muscles and nerves back in place.

What time frame of healing did the surgeon give you? Please give your your doctor a call for peace of mind.

wish you and your son the best, uvm[/QUOTE]>>

Thank you so much for your kind words. He only had an MRI this time and not an xray. I have no idea how to read an MRI. The surgeon said that he should begin fusing in 3 months. We'll have a better handle on this on Monday when we go back to him.

Bobi

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:18 PM   #6
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=BobiM]His MRI right after the surgery said the exact same thing as this one did and we know he wasn't fusing 4 weeks after the surgery. Possibly bone formation only shows on an xray and not on an MRI. I don't know.[/QUOTE]It is possible that he was starting to fuse 4 weeks after surgery. Unless the surgeon said otherwise. I started fusing about 6 weeks after my surgery.

[QUOTE=BobiM]Also, you can have stability and not have bone formation. Some people don't even know they haven't fused as long as it remains stable.[/QUOTE]I believe MRI's show if it has fused, I know x-rays do for sure. People do know if they have fused or not after surgery when they go back for their follow up. When the surgeon says it is stable he means it is fusing together nicely.

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:26 PM   #7
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=BobiM]The surgeon said that he should begin fusing in 3 months. We'll have a better handle on this on Monday when we go back to him.[/QUOTE]Odd, my surgeon said different and showed me the x-ray. How often does your son see the surgeon now?

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:42 PM   #8
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

I just looked and I made a mistake. It was an xray and not an MRI. But, I'll be darned if I can see any bone formation. My question still is, I guess, is new bone formation mentioned on an xray? Do they use the words bone formation?

Bobi

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:48 PM   #9
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=BobiM]I just looked and I made a mistake. It was an xray and not an MRI. But, I'll be darned if I can see any bone formation. My question still is, I guess, is new bone formation mentioned on an xray? Do they use the words bone formation?[/QUOTE]I don't know about anything like that. I only go by what I see in the x-ray when sitting with my surgeon. He pointed out a white part of my x-ray and let me know that it was the bone from the donor bone fusing to my own bone. I could also see my hardware, it was pretty weird seeing screws in my back like that.

 
Old 09-24-2005, 01:22 PM   #10
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=YaYa04]It is possible that he was starting to fuse 4 weeks after surgery. Unless the surgeon said otherwise. I started fusing about 6 weeks after my surgery.

>>


When he was there 6 weeks post op with the xrays, his surgeon said it was too early to tell when I asked him. The xray report now says the same thing it did at 6 week post op. Maybe they don't use the words bone formation. Maybe they only report if it is stable or not not mentioning anyhting about bone formation.

I just thought it might be helpful if I knew if other xrays reports mentioned it.

Bobi

 
Old 09-24-2005, 01:49 PM   #11
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=BobiM] When he was there 6 weeks post op with the xrays, his surgeon said it was too early to tell when I asked him. The xray report now says the same thing it did at 6 week post op. Maybe they don't use the words bone formation. Maybe they only report if it is stable or not not mentioning anyhting about bone formation.

I just thought it might be helpful if I knew if other xrays reports mentioned it.
[/QUOTE] Have you seen the actual x-ray? If you have the area your son had his surgery do you see the screws? if so, do you see much whiteness in the area of the screws? if you do, this is the fusion starting.

I had my surgery February 25th, I got home from the hospital March 5th and had a fall as soon as I got inside the apartment. Told my surgeon about it, he said as long as I wasn't feeling any different kind of pain then normal it's fine. He said to screws hold everything in place and I shouldn't have a problem. I went for a five to six hour long car drive with my boyfriend on April 15th to visit his family, stopping a couple of times to get out and walk. I was so amazed at how fast my (4 1/2 inch) incision healed and I didn't put a thing on it to speed it up. The body is an incredible machine and heals itself so well at times.

 
Old 09-24-2005, 05:13 PM   #12
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Wink Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

My Surgeon did xrays at 6 wks, 3mos. 6mo. and a year. At the 1st one he said the screws are all he was looking for, since a fusion usually wouldn't have happened yet. At 3 mo. he said usually you can see the fusion at least started if not complete.

Like the last post said, if you have the films...look at the picture of the spine where he has the hardware. Look at the view that is staight on the spine (not from the side), and on each side of the vertabraes, there should be a white milky filim that connect L4 to the L5 and the L5 to the S1 vertabrae. (The rest of the vertabraes should just be a black area on the sides of each one).

I dont know about the wording of "bone formation". I do know that one of my reports stated that " A fusion had been done, the hardware was noted and my spine was stable. I was not fused and I still am not fused, a yr. later.

Good luck on Monday,

Lorie
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Old 09-24-2005, 05:21 PM   #13
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=lfoster21]". I do know that one of my reports stated that " A fusion had been done, the hardware was noted and my spine was stable. I was not fused and I still am not fused, a yr. later.

Good luck on Monday,

Lorie [/QUOTE]

Yes that is what my son's says. I have a feeling he didn't fuse either. We shall soon see. Even without the fusion, would you say you are glad you had it done? While I know a fusion is certainly desireable, it doesn't always mean that it is a failed fusion in the true sense of the word. One of the top notch neurosurgeons in Philly told me that most people who haven't fused don't even know it if they aren't told and have no pain. I just know that I would prefer if he has fused.

Bobi

 
Old 09-24-2005, 05:26 PM   #14
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Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

[QUOTE=lfoster21]My Surgeon did xrays at 6 wks, 3mos. 6mo. and a year. At the 1st one he said the screws are all he was looking for, since a fusion usually wouldn't have happened yet. At 3 mo. he said usually you can see the fusion at least started if not complete.[/QUOTE] At six weeks on my x-ray there was a slight whiteness in the area. My surgeon said it was just starting to fuse, but may not continue at the speed it was. He also said I still have my original spondy problem. He couldn't do the surgery the way he had hoped to. He was barely able to pull my vertebra to straighten it much at all. If he did my spinal cord would have been pinched and caused me to be paralyzed.

 
Old 09-24-2005, 05:41 PM   #15
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Wink Re: can bone fusion be seen on MRI?

As it turned out, I do have to re-fuse the area. But when asked if I wish I hadn't done the original fusion...I say no. If I had not done it, and if I stayed the same and didn't get any worse, I would have still been living a terrible life. If I did not have the surgery, I'd always wonder if I could have had a better life. It was worth trying. I did all the conservative stuff the yr. prior and there weren't any meds. that I could take and still work...So, I was always in pain. There are many more fusions, than there are non fusions. I am thinking that your son's will be fine. Keep us posted.

Lorie
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