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  • TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

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    Old 06-28-2009, 08:27 AM   #1
    nancy94011
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    TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Hi everyone, I am going in for my CTLSO brace fitting (basically, from what I am told, it's a TLSO Body Jacket with a Neck Brace attached to the top) on Tuesday and I have lots questions for you pros out there?

    What should I wear to the appointment?
    Do they measure for the brace or do they take a cast of your body?
    How long did it take for the fist fitting?
    How long did it take them to make the brace?
    Is there anything they can do to make the brace cooler in the summer?
    What did you wear over the brace?
    Are you supposed to wear something underneath it?
    Ladies, sorry for being a little personal here but did you wear you bra under the brace?
    Could you drive in the brace?
    Were you required to sleep in the brace?
    Were you able to take the brace off?
    Could you take it off and put it on by yourself or did you need a helper?
    What about bathing, were you able to shower in it or was it sponge bath only?


    Wow, that’s a long list of questions, sorry about that but and I am sure I will have more as time goes on. I just was hoping to hear from some of you that have been there and done that. I do want to be prepared for this and I must say that I am a little nervous about Tuesday's appointment. This whole brace thing has got me very anxious so please, if you have had some experience with this, I would love to hear from you!

    Thanks so much for your help,

    Nancy
    (See my posting under "Back & Neck Surgery -Scared & ??" for my spinal situation)

     
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    Old 06-28-2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Hi Nancy,
    I can tell you what my brace fitting was like, but I don't know if there are other ways to do it, too.

    It doesn't matter what you wear to your brace fitting, because you'll be taking it off, except your underwear and socks. You'll put on a "stockingette," which is like a giant, stretchy tube of fabric. They'll cut some holes for your arms. It's designed to cover your whole body so they can plaster over it and then cut it off. The plaster sticks to the stockingette instead of to you.

    They may make some marks on it here and there before cutting it off you. Then you get dressed and go home.

    They will then make a mold of you from the plaster cast. The mold of you get fitted with the brace. They heat up the plastic and form it exactly to the mold so the brace will fit you like a glove. They'll attach velcro straps to it. The brace can be made overnight if necessary, but they usually allow a week or so. When you come back, they'll fine tune it. They may need to cut the arm holes a bit or trim off the bottom edge in front or back for comfort when sitting. For that appointment, wear something similar to what you'll wear after surgery, something without buttons or zippers preferably. I wore sweatpants and a t-shirt. You'll wear the brace over your clothing. Some people like to wear if over the shirt but under the pants. I found that bulky and uncomfortable.

    I wore my brace for 5 months, plus a month part time while I was weaning out of it. I generally wore a large man's flannel shirt over the brace and sweatpants and a t-shirt or turtleneck under it. (I went through the end of fall and the winter in mine.)

    You don't wear it in the shower, but I was told to wear it whenever I was up other than in the shower. There are different types of these braces. Some have ventilation holes, some don't. You can ask at your fitting if yours will. Since it's summer, maybe they can do something to make it less hot.

    Wearing a bra under it is completely up to you. It might be cooler without one. I sometimes did and sometimes didn't.

    I had a little trouble with my first brace after this last surgery. It was a two piece brace that had velcro straps on each side to hold it all together, like a turtle shell. I found it hard to hold the back in place and get the front on correctly without losing my grip, since I couldn't twist at all. I could do it myself, but it was difficult. That brace didn't fit well, and my doctor agreed to let me get a new one. I went to a different company for the second one and got the one piece kind. It opens in the front but is also hard plastic, like the other one. You just pull the opening a bit wider and slip it onto your torso. Much easier for me! I also found it more comfortable, but maybe that was because it fit better.

    It's unusual to get a poor fit like I did. I was fit after surgery in the hospital. I wasn't fit until the fourth day post op because I had a reaction to the anesthesia and would start to pass out whenever I tried to stand up. They put me in ICU and didn't let me get out of bed for the first 5 days, except on the 4th day for the fitting. The brace guys had to hold me up so I wouldn't pass out. I was pretty swollen by that time, especially in the front, plus I was not used to the new angle of my body, it being the first time I was standing, so I had a hard time standing straight. Those are lousy conditions to put a cast on someone! No wonder it didn't fit well!

    I did drive in my brace without any problem. It may take you some getting used to, since it'll hold you very stiff, especially with the neck piece. I have a long fusion, T4-Sacrum, so I'm stiff anyway. That part, at least, wasn't a big adjustment for me.

    I hope I hit all your questions. Any others, please do post! That's why we hang around here!

    If others had a different experience, I hope they'll see this thread and chime in.

    Take care,
    Emily

     
    Old 06-29-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    [COLOR="Navy"]My brace was a twice piece like a turtle shell but I wasn't cast in it. They just took measurements and came back with the brace. That maybe because they hadn'tplanned on me having to have one this involved. Mine was from the hip to the armpit and attacked by velcro straps, three on each side. I wore it into the shower while I was in the nusing hoome for the month because I didn't know if I should or hsouldn't and it was easier. My hubby would sit with the blow dirier and dry the straps after I got back in bed. It gave the brace a chance to get clean also. After all, if I was up, I had that thing on. I needed hel[p to put it on as I was so restricted in my movements.

    I wore it every day whenever I was up for 5 months. I stopped wearing it when I went back to work part time. I felt like I had be liberated! They are hot and heavy. Mine had holes in it for air, but it dioean't help much. I wore it over my clothes. I chose to wear lightweight T-shirts-something that would absorb the sweat...You don't want bulky stuff that will bunch up because that gets uncomfotable....[/COLOR]

     
    Old 07-01-2009, 07:03 PM   #4
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    Red face Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for your emails and messages asking about the brace fitting. Yesterday was a long day as I got there to the Orthopedic Appliance place at 9:45am in the am and did not leave until 3:30pm so I was there most of the day.

    For my fitting, first the took several measurements and then they had me remove all my clothing and they put a very, very tight fitting body sock on me that went from the top of my thighs to the top of my head with just a small cut out around the mouth to breath and (2) small eye holes. To say that was a little scary would be an understatement as I was really very nervous. They actually called my doctor to see if they could give me something to calm my nerves, which they did (forgot what it was that they gave me but it really did help relax and calm me). After that they asked me to get on to the “Casting Table” where they actually wrapped my hips very, very tightly with a cloth strap and then put my head in a sort of “head halter” type device. The orthopedist (I think that is what they call them), who was a wonderful, very kind, very professional lady by the name of Stephanie, try to keep me calm the whole time through this very scary experience. She explained to me that they were going to be applying spinal traction to me by tightening the head halter and that I would feel a little pressure under my chin and throughout my whole spine until they got my back and neck in the correct casting position. Once that was accomplished, they removed the bottom of the table and begin to apply layers after layers of plaster that started at my hips and actually went to the top of my head so that my whole entire torso, neck and head were completely covered in plaster! – OMG ---- this was so, so scary and I really felt claustrophobic! Luckily the drugs they gave me to relax and calm kicked in and I was actually able to relax after about 10 minutes or so.

    Stephanie told me that I was going to feel a heating sensation as they plaster began to set but that it was nothing to worry about. The strange thing was that after about 20 minutes or so, the plaster body cast I was in did heat up but it felt wonderful! I must tell you that my back and neck have not felt that good in so long I almost did not want them to remove the body cast! – Yikes, I never thought I would say that! After about two hours, they cut the cast off and I was able to clean up and go home. Wow, what a day!

    They told me I need to come back again next Tuesday, July 7th for my second fitting and then again on the 8th or 9th for the final fitting, adjustments and “brace orientation” and that I would leave that day wearing the brace as per my doctors orders! I think I will save all my questions for them for next week when I return.

    So, that was my day! I guess I will try and relax and work on my tan this weekend as it looks like this will be the last time my body will actually see the sun for the rest of the summer!

    Thanks for everyone’s concern and input, it really helps to know I am not alone in this!

    Nancy

     
    Old 07-02-2009, 04:17 AM   #5
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Wow, yes, I remember that casting table they used to use on me when I had my first fusion 30 some years ago. That was scary, lying on that table that really had no surface!

    You had to wait two hours before they cut the cast off? Were you on the table that whole time? I hope you were able to just doze off or that they had a TV on for you. I only had to wait a few minutes.

    I'm glad you got through it. The next appointments will probably be a whole lot easier.

    Step by step. You're gonna be so glad to get this all behind you!

    Blessings,
    Emily

     
    Old 07-08-2009, 07:27 AM   #6
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Hey Everyone,

    Back from my appointment with the brace people yesterday and OMG, now I am really starting to get nervous about this whole thing. I am not sure if its the surgery or the recovery and the brace I am more scared of!!

    The brace is nearly completed , they just had to make a few more adjustments and do some trimming on it today and they said they want me back tomorrow for the final fitting and I will go home with my new friend!

    Just in time for the hot weather!

    I will keep everyone posted after my appointment tomorrow.

    Thanks for listening

    Nancy

    Last edited by nancy94011; 07-08-2009 at 07:30 AM.

     
    Old 07-08-2009, 09:14 AM   #7
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Oh Nancy, I so know what you mean! I handled my then-upcoming surgery pretty well until about a week before. Then I had a melt-down day. I was terrified, crying, angry... all of that. I think that's actually pretty normal. This is a huge surgery with a long recovery. We might worry about you if you WEREN'T scared!

    I'm a praying person, so I emailed my husband at work (no calling him, he's a teacher and can't come to the phone during work) and my pastor, told them how I was feeling, asked them to pray, then did the same myself. I could tell they were praying! I calmed down and thought about all the reasons I had made the decision to go ahead with the surgery. I KNEW it was the right decision. It was just scary to be thinking about the long recovery, the pain of the surgery, and the possibility that it wouldn't lessen my pain.

    Then I kept myself as busy as I could that last week so I wouldn't be dwelling on what was to come. That really helped a lot!

    Yes, there was pain. Yes, it was a long recovery. Yes, it was worth every second of pain and stress! I will never be pain-free, but that wasn't even on my radar or my doctor's. I'm not in a wheelchair, where I was quickly heading. My pain is waaaaay less and is more easily managed with pain meds. I'm grateful to my wonderful doctor!

    You'll get through this. You'll be okay! And the statistics would say that you'll be much, much better after the surgery!

    You hang in there, sweetie! Keep coming back. We'll do our best to help you through this. It's hard, but so worth it!

    Blessings,
    Emily

     
    Old 07-10-2009, 07:28 AM   #8
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Thanks for that Emily,

    Hearing that positive attitude really helps me as this whole thing draws near!

    Well, Stephanie, the Orthodist from the brace shop called late yesterday and told me that my CTLSO was done and ready for my final fitting at that I would be leaving wearing my new "Body Armor" - Yikes!

    Then, while I was on the phone with her the nurse from my
    Doctor's office also called and told me that after I am fitted with my new brace my Doctor wants to see me to check the fit and to go over some thing with me so it looks like my life is going to change big time in just a few short hours.

    Forgot to ask the Orthodist what I should wear under the brace? Also, I don’t know if I should wear my bra or not?? --- any suggestions??

    I am bringing a cute little sweat suit I just bought to wear over the brace and some comfy tennis shoes so I can be as sure footed as possible. My hubby is taking the day off from work to chauffer me around as they told me last time that there is no way I will be able to drive in my new brace.

    Wish me luck and I will keep everyone posted

    Nancy

    Last edited by nancy94011; 07-10-2009 at 07:29 AM.

     
    Old 07-10-2009, 07:54 AM   #9
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    Re: TLSO/CTLSO Brace Fitting on Tuesday - Lots of questions? Please help!

    Best thing to wear under the brace is a soft t-shirt, preferably without seams. You don't want the plastic right against your skin. It will chaff and you'll get sore.

    To bra or not to bra. That is the question. It's totally up to you! Whichever way is more comfortable. I sometimes wore one and sometimes didn't.

    Yes, big changes, but all for a good reason! Be sure to take pictures of you in your lovely body armor! You can make the best one into a Christmas card!

    Emily

     
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