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Old 03-24-2007, 07:16 PM   #1
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Giving your own blood before surgery?

Greetings all,

I got a large packet of paperwork from my surgeons office and in that were instructions to go get my own blood taken (2 units) to have on hand at the hospital when I go under the knife. I guess it is a good idea so you have something that came from your own body. Anyone else done this? If not, it could be something to suggest to your Doc. Just knowing its there if I need it, rather than from a stranger, is a relief. One less thing to worry about.

Im having a L4-L5-L6 (yes L6, Im weird) fusion with cages.

The original date of surgery is set for May 1 for the main cage setting through the front and May 15 for the screws in the back. Both of these overnight (or more) stays. This week I get a call from the neurosurgeons surgery scheduler telling me the doc wants to see me and all his patients scheduled for what I am having done, I guess he wants to try something else. What that is, I wont know until April 11. I dont know what to think, should I be more scared?? I am already beside myself everytime I think about going through with this. So I am trying to work as much overtime as I can and keeping busy as much as I can so Im not thinking about it...

Reading these posts are a good thing for me too, knowing what I could expect or not. Thanks to all of you who are posting your experiences. We are all learning a lot here!

Thanks, and sorry I rambled so much.


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Old 03-24-2007, 07:29 PM   #2
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Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

Welcome! I gave 2pints of blood for my first fusions surgery. It was not a big deal at all. I didnt' give it for the other 3 because my doc uses a cell saver thingy, it like recycles your blood back to you again, much better than loosingit and getting new blood I guess.

I know that these posts sure make it sound scary, it's a serious surgery but it's not the worst thing I have ever done. You will be ok. L6 huh? it's not totally unheard of, there are some who have that extra lil bit in there, lucky you one more to go bad.

Good Luck on your surgery, I will be praying for you. Please let us know how you are afterwards when your up to it.

God Bless

"Thru every dark corner is a door to a new light"
(Dana Reeve)
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:59 PM   #3
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terrian HB User
Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

My daughter gave 2 pints about a week before her surgeries...she didn't get to use her own blood because the Red Cross DROPPED it and didn't tell her doctor or the hospital so at the last minute after surgery they had to find blood for her.

Her surgeries are similar to what you are having. She is 26 yrs. old.
Her first surgery on Feb. 26, 2007 they went in on the front side... it was a 3 level (S1-L5, L5-L4,L4-L3) Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) & bone taken from right hip to graft.
Her second surgery was 4 days later on March 2, 2007, they went in on the back side... it was a 3 level (S1-L5, L5-L4,L4-L3) Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) , with rods, plates and screws. She stayed in the hospital the entire time until she was released 4 days after her last surgery.

She is 3 weeks post surgery and is doing pretty good, still has quite a bit of pain, but she says it is different than her pre-surgery pain and it is getting better everyday. Today was a Bad day for her, but on a whole this past week has been a great recovering week.

You'll do great! I'll keep you in my thoughts and Prayers!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
~Helen Keller~

Old 03-24-2007, 08:31 PM   #4
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yvette777 HB User
Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

My doctor didn't do this, I asked at my preop apt, the nurse said they were a full fledged hospital and already have access to that if they need it. They also told me they don't bank for my particular surgery fusion l5S1, weird how they all do stuff different.

Hey I have an extra vertebrae and disc to I laughed and told the doc my body new I was gonna need a back up.

Old 03-24-2007, 09:44 PM   #5
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Nikirae HB User
Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

When I had my fusion in November, I was given the option to donate my own blood (2 units) or have outside blood on hand. I chose to donate my own blood, and both units where used.

Good luck with your surgery!!

~hugs Niki

Old 03-24-2007, 09:45 PM   #6
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Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

I've done it for a big ovary surgery I had years ago and didn't need it. This time I asked and the surgeon said no.

Old 03-24-2007, 09:45 PM   #7
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Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

I've done it for a big ovary surgery I had years ago and didn't need it. This time I asked and the surgeon said no.

Old 03-24-2007, 09:52 PM   #8
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Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

My daughter had a fusion of L4 - S1 in June of 05. Her dr had her donate two pints prior to surgery. They did end up using the blood the day after surgery as her counts were low. Her dr said that since they had her blood they would use it to up her levels some. I felt better knowing it was her own blood they used. cas

Old 03-25-2007, 12:53 PM   #9
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Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

I was required to donate my blood before my first fusion, a bunch of years ago, but didn't end up needing it. This time my doctor said it wasn't necessary. Good thing, 'cause when I tried to donate, they rejected me! He used the cellsaver, too, but I did end up getting two units anyway.

They reject me about 50% of the time when I try to donate. I'm cleared to give again, so I'll eventually get to return the units they gave me. Made me feel guilty that I needed the blood because my type was needed in our area during the last blood drive.

Old 03-25-2007, 03:00 PM   #10
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Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

Hi: I've donated blood for surgeries many times, and am glad I did, so I didn't *have* to use the blood bank. I've had many back surgeries and on the first 3 didn't donate and had to use the blood bank for tranfusions. This was many years ago, and it was before they were testing the blood for Hep C, so I'm lucky I didn't pick that up. My husband actually got Hep C from a transfusion, but today they screen the blood more carefully. Even so I would still rather have my own blood, just in case.

If you didn't want to donate for yourself, you can always ask someone else if they want to for you, but that's up to you. Donating blood is pretty simple so I've always used mine when I had to. I also had the cell savers used, but if they have to give you any type of coagulant meds pre-op, like DDAVP or Cyroprecipitate, they can't use the cell saver. Those meds thicken your blood so they won't use a cell saver in that case because it clogs up the equipment and then doesn't run right. I also lost 4 units, I banked, on my last surgery, because 12 hours prior to surgery it was canceled due to a hospital emergency; I had the 4 units but you can only keep them for a limited amount of time before they have to be frozen, and the surgery was put off for another month. In my case my insurance wouldn't pay for the freezing of my blood, runs several hundred dollars a unit, so in the end I had to use the blood bank again, and toss my 4 units. I wasn't too happy about this but what are you going to do, back surgery is a bloody surgery, like some others.

I have a bleeding disorder where my blood doesn't clot, but didn't find out about it until my 3rd back surgery. I can't tell you how many test's I've had to have just because I recieved transfusions from the blood bank. I know that we want to think our blood banks are disease free, but unfortunately that isn't always the case, my husband is an example.

I'm sure you'll do well and your surgery will put you on the road to recovery real fast, Good Luck...

Last edited by DesertBloom; 03-25-2007 at 03:20 PM.

Old 03-25-2007, 06:43 PM   #11
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Tucsonlady40 HB User
Re: Giving your own blood before surgery?

I was never asked about donating my blood prior to my fusion. I honestly never even thought of it either. hummmmm just another thought for the next time. See we learn more and more everyday.

Take care and good luck on your surgery.

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