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Old 12-15-2012, 10:34 PM   #1
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should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

My xray now looks exactly the same as my one month post op. Should I see some fusion at this point? I see the Dr in a week but very concerned. Hardware has not moved though so I know that is good.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:38 AM   #2
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

I assume you are not wearing a bone growth stimulator...is that right? I would say that five months is late...but I don't know what the outside time is for bone growth to begin. With my first fusion, we could see bone growth at 3 weeks and it appeared to be completely filled in at six months. I had BMP with that fusion so things happen faster.

With my second fusion, which was three levels, the fusion was done with a different procedure and the bone growth was much slower...I can't remember when it started...but I went every month for an x-ray to check on progress...and at a year it was almost complete.

Don't spend energy worrying about it though as it won't help. When you see the surgeon, it will be the topic of conversation.

What did your surgeon use for your bone graft?

Last edited by teteri66; 12-16-2012 at 08:09 AM.

 
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Something called Teek, or Teak.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Maybe PEEK? That is a type of high-tech plastic that part of hardware is made from....

 
Old 12-17-2012, 08:46 AM   #5
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Lol, I'm sure you have the name right. No, no simulator. I just thought on an xray I would see some changes, even small, of bone growth by now but it looks 100% the same as my one month one. How on earth is that even possible though, I mean, I am Now 22 weeks post op. ?
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Hopefully it is just hard to see and your untrained eye hasn't seen the growth. That would be the optimistic hope. Usually there is some sign of growth. I don't think I have heard of someone not making any bone cells.

 
Old 12-18-2012, 08:53 PM   #7
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Oh, I hope you are right teteri66. Only a few more days. Gosh, I pray I am not a "failed fusion"!
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:18 PM   #8
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

They wouldn't make that decision this early in the process. Try not to worry. It isn't helpful!

 
Old 12-21-2012, 03:06 PM   #9
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Saw a different/new to me Dr. today since my dr flew the coop. He was nice, and I asked if I was fusing. He said everything looked fine, too soon to answer that, can take up to two years anyway (just like you said)
I had to discuss my cervical issues with him as I have been in alot of neck, upper back, arm pain and complete numbness every am. I told him I really did not want surgery after going through this. I told him I knew I had a herniation at C5/C6 from a year and half year old MRI and I've had these symptoms on and off for apx 17 years. I told him that in the past PT and ESI has helped and I'd rather try that for now if he would let me. He agreed and said no point in ordering an MRI until I am ready for surgery. He said maybe I can get lucky, and buy some more time, heck maybe jackpot would be five years until I need surgery, otherwise he said not to worry, cervical surgery was much less than my lumbar fusion was, you go home same day. So, I then went to PT and got my cervical eval, and we began my neck PT in addition to continuing my lower back PT for a few more months. I got ultrasound therapy and then kinseo taped up as that has helped in the past.
The only thing he said that I didn't like, was about my job. He said that he disagreed with what my orig surgeon said about only lifting 10 lbs as he has had iron workers return to work after lumbar fusion. I said well, there is no light duty in my position. He said, well, have coworkers help you, there are always coworkers at the airport-OMG. I didn't want to get into it with him so I just let it go. He agreed to write me off work for two more months and I go back just before then to see him. He said basically I was the one to decide what was more important to me, my job or my health. I said well, I'm just not ready to be released to part ways with my job yet. I'm sorry, I cannot see returning to lifting 40-70 lbs and up to over 100 non-stop after my double lumbar fusion and knowing I have a very painful herniation in my neck-I just can't see it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:39 PM   #10
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

I think this surgeon would be maybe one in ten who would tell you that you could return to lifting that amount of weight. My lumbar fusion is 3 levels and I am now allowed to lift no more than 30 pounds, if necessary...but not on a regular basis. Knowing you have cervical issues too and with a two level fusion that will put additional stress on the adjacent segment, it seems foolish to me to return to that particular job. Maybe he didn't fully grasp what your job entails....

Did you have a x-ray?

 
Old 12-21-2012, 10:42 PM   #11
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

[QUOTE=workinmom572;5107402]Saw a different/new to me Dr. today since my dr flew the coop. He was nice, and I asked if I was fusing. He said everything looked fine, too soon to answer that, can take up to two years anyway (just like you said)
I had to discuss my cervical issues with him as I have been in alot of neck, upper back, arm pain and complete numbness every am. I told him I really did not want surgery after going through this. I told him I knew I had a herniation at C5/C6 from a year and half year old MRI and I've had these symptoms on and off for apx 17 years. I told him that in the past PT and ESI has helped and I'd rather try that for now if he would let me. He agreed and said no point in ordering an MRI until I am ready for surgery. He said maybe I can get lucky, and buy some more time, heck maybe jackpot would be five years until I need surgery, otherwise he said not to worry, cervical surgery was much less than my lumbar fusion was, you go home same day. So, I then went to PT and got my cervical eval, and we began my neck PT in addition to continuing my lower back PT for a few more months. I got ultrasound therapy and then kinseo taped up as that has helped in the past.
The only thing he said that I didn't like, was about my job. He said that he disagreed with what my orig surgeon said about only lifting 10 lbs as he has had iron workers return to work after lumbar fusion. I said well, there is no light duty in my position. He said, well, have coworkers help you, there are always coworkers at the airport-OMG. I didn't want to get into it with him so I just let it go. He agreed to write me off work for two more months and I go back just before then to see him. He said basically I was the one to decide what was more important to me, my job or my health. I said well, I'm just not ready to be released to part ways with my job yet. I'm sorry, I cannot see returning to lifting 40-70 lbs and up to over 100 non-stop after my double lumbar fusion and knowing I have a very painful herniation in my neck-I just can't see it.[/QUOTE]

Doc flew the coop? Meaning he moved to a different city? Retired?

 
Old 12-22-2012, 10:06 AM   #12
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

I took xrays with yes, he said all looked fine, but didn't go over them with me one on one. Said I did not need any when I come back in two months, said probably not anymore xrays for a good 6 months.

Yeah, he seemed to think with so many airport employees around always he was sure I could get help lifting, I bit my toung, wanted to laugh and lecture him but I didn't being my first visit. Once we discussed my neck and I said how lifting I knew was bad for a neck herniation he said well, it's up to you what is more important: your job or your health. I just still can't fathom iron workers returning to that type of work and being OK.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:08 AM   #13
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

moved to another state and I wasn't informed until 24 hours before my scheduled appt with him a few weeks ago. So now I am seeing the other dr in the practice, the only one at all there, but he owns/runs the place so I'm giving him a chance. I was very upset at first, but so far this guy seems ok. I still feel abandon though.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:40 PM   #14
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Re: should I see signs of fusion at 5 months?

Doctors are becoming much more conscious of testing costs and are beginning to do things like x-ray only when needed. Although when I had my first fusion in 2008 the surgeon that I had for that surgery x-rayed the first time at six months unless the patient complained of something hurting. Then he did it just to be sure hardware was still in place. He said doing it earlier is mostly to satisfy the patient's curiosity and then when it hasn't started bone growth, they become very anxious...when in reality most end up ultimately fusing. I had BMP so there was practically no chance that I wouldn't fuse -- but I had a MRI at 3 weeks (much to the technicians' great consternation...they kept clucking about it being too early through the whole scan ) because I was complaining of so much pain. Of course everything looked great and he could see no reason for my pain...but you could see bone growth already, which was kind of fun.

Football players go right back to work after fusion too...but who knows how they end up in 10 years. Most of them can't even walk very well as they age and all the damage begins to show. Probably one ironworker in 10,000 went back to work and that's who he is siting as his example.

 
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