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  • Post Op Cervical Bracing??

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    Old 05-25-2008, 12:31 PM   #1
    steph2fly
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    Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    Hello everyone, I am new here to this board but not new to neck surgeries as after this next one it makes 3 for me. My question to everyone here is post-op bracing?? Here is a bit of my history; Surgery number 1 in 1995, I had a one level fusion done at c3-c4, post op my doctor had me in a hidious looking 4-poster brace for 12 weeks, and as much as I complained about it while I was recovering, my fusion there is rock solid today. Surgery number 2 was in 2006, I had a 2 level fusion done at c4-c5 & c5-c6, post op my doctor (different doc) told me I did not need any collar or brace after the surgery, which I was ecstatic about at the time. Unfortunately, that fusion failed and so now I am looking at surgery number 3; I will be having a redo of c4-c6 in a few weeks. My Doctor (different doc) has scheduled me for a 2 level anterior discectomy, the surgery is set for the 10th of June.

    On my last visit with him I did ask what I could expect after the surgery as far as recovery post op recovery and he told me that after the surgery I would be looking at 12 weeks in a neck brace called a SOMI? (I think that is what he called it?) Has anyone here ever heard of or had to use a SOMI type brace or collar? He said they were used a lot in the late 80's and 90's but fell out of favor with surgeons and insurance companies (due to their cost) over the last 10 + years. But, in the last year or so, apparently he and several of his colleagues have been prescribing this brace for their 2+ level cervical patients with very good results. He said patient compliance is good after the initial shock and that they are not as hot in the summer time as a hard or soft collar. He also said they provided a much better level of restriction and cervical support than he can get from a hard collar. Like I said, is anyone familiar with this type of neck brace? I am trying to be optimistic and positive here and I am glad (I can't believe I am actually saying this) that he is taking the conservative route; as in the long run hopefully I will have a good solid fusion as I did in 1995. I go to the orthodist next Thursday for a presurgery brace fitting so I guess I will know more then.

    Thanks for any and all input and I will keep everyone posted.

    Stephanie

    Last edited by steph2fly; 05-25-2008 at 12:37 PM.

     
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    Old 05-25-2008, 04:18 PM   #2
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    Re: Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    Hello and welcome to the board. Since you already had a failed fusion it seems in your best interest to use the most sure bracing. The SOMI brace does have a little more to it than the other collars, it sits on your shoulders and not your neckline like the regular braces and also a strap around your upper waist. It also is more open so even thought there is more to it (there is less to it ) if that makes sense. Wish you luck and I am sure you will adjust to it quickly. I have had 2 ACDFs and wore collars (not somi) both times with solid fusions and each wearing time was approx 12 weeks. Wishing you extreme luck, don't smoke, don't take nsaids, and eat a balanced diet to help your new fusion!!! Keep us posted.

     
    Old 05-25-2008, 10:07 PM   #3
    hugg724
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    Re: Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    I am finding this REALLY interesting. I had a 3 level fusion in October '06. My doc said I didn't NEED to wear a collar because the hardware was secure enough. He did provide me with a soft collar to wear for a month, only if I was up and about, felt like I needed the support just so I didn't jerk my head and to make sure I didn't drive. He told me not to be too dependent on it because I needed to build my neck muscles not let them weaken with the brace.

    I don't have a failed fusion but have had constant neck pain since the surgery. All I heard for a year was that I have alot of scar tissue. Then I had a slightly bulged disc above my fusion. I had an MRI last week and will see my neurologist on Friday to see what he has to say. I posted what was in the report in my thread, Fed up with pain to see if anyone could tell me what it meant. Something just hasn't been right since my surgery though.

    Anyway, has everyone worn braces after their fusions? Why do some docs say they aren't needed?

     
    Old 05-26-2008, 06:52 AM   #4
    steph2fly
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    Re: Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    Hello Neckpaient

    Looks like you have had some experience like I have but thanks for the info on the SOMI Brace.

    I did some research yesterday on the internet and did find some information on the SOMI and your right; it looks like less is more! It does look quite a bit more substantial than a hard collar so it's got me a little nervous but I donít think it will be any worse than the 4 poster I was in 1995. Besides, after my first surgery and 12 weeks in the 4-poster brace, my fusion was a success so I think I can do 12 weeks in this one, especially if it will assist in me having a successful fusion.!

    Actually I read some other messages on another board and a few of the patients had been in both the hard collar and the SOMI and actually preferred the SOMI. They said it was less noticeable in public than the collar, cooler in hot weather and just more comfortable (relatively speaking) to wear than a hard collar.

    I will give you my spin on it after the fitting on Friday.

    Stephanie

     
    Old 05-26-2008, 07:14 AM   #5
    steph2fly
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    Re: Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hugg724 View Post
    I am finding this REALLY interesting. I had a 3 level fusion in October '06. My doc said I didn't NEED to wear a collar because the hardware was secure enough. He did provide me with a soft collar to wear for a month, only if I was up and about, felt like I needed the support just so I didn't jerk my head and to make sure I didn't drive. He told me not to be too dependent on it because I needed to build my neck muscles not let them weaken with the brace.

    I don't have a failed fusion but have had constant neck pain since the surgery. All I heard for a year was that I have alot of scar tissue. Then I had a slightly bulged disc above my fusion. I had an MRI last week and will see my neurologist on Friday to see what he has to say. I posted what was in the report in my thread, Fed up with pain to see if anyone could tell me what it meant. Something just hasn't been right since my surgery though.

    Anyway, has everyone worn braces after their fusions? Why do some docs say they aren't needed?
    Hey Hugg,

    Wow, a 3 level w/o any brace --- that just sounds scary to me. Like I said, after my last 2 level surgery, the doc said to just be careful and gave me no brace or collar but in the end, it failed. Not sure if that had anything to do with it because if you read some of the posts here, there are people that have had successful multi level surgeries w/o any post op bracing. It really is up to the Doctor I guess but I would rather error on the conservative side and try to do everything possible to help in my recovery and hopefully aid in a positive outcome.

    I mean heck, what's 12 weeks in a brace or collar if it actually makes the difference in having a successful surgery. When you consider all the neck pain and suffering we all have gone through for years and years, I think 12 weeks of being a little less comfortable and maybe a little self-conscious in a brace or collar is worth its weight in gold! After my last experience, I personally would either demand that my Doctor put me in a hard collar or a brace (like the one I will be going into) post op or if he or she refused to do so, I would find another Doctor, but that is just my opinion.

    I hope you are doing better and that you find relief in your pain, I wish you all the best in your quest for a pain free life.

    Stephanie

    Last edited by steph2fly; 05-26-2008 at 07:15 AM.

     
    Old 05-30-2008, 08:18 PM   #6
    mstori
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    Re: Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    I wore the SOMI Brace for 5 weeks, it was awful. But it must have done the trick because at the 5 week mark the OS said i was 85% fused. I had a 3 level acdf. I was very jealous of anyone having this procedure and was told they didn't need a brace or collar but was too afraid to go against what the doctor told me to do. Good Luck

     
    Old 06-01-2008, 08:59 AM   #7
    steph2fly
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    Re: Had my SOMI Brace fitting

    Hey Everyone,

    I had my pre-surgery brace fitting last Friday so it looks like I am all set for my surgery on the 10th.

    So the SOMI Brace is a little scary looking than I imaged and definitly a lot more restrictive than the 4-Poster brace was (from what I remember of it, at least , after all that was 13 years ago) but I think I will get used to it. The orthodist spent about an hour fitting it to me and had it off and on several times before he was done. On my way out of the office I saw another lady in the waiting room that was also in a SOMI so I stopped, gave her my quick story and asked her how she was doing and she said that it was not the most comfortable thing she had been in but that she was doing OK . She was in for a small adjustment to the brace and had another 4 weeks or so to go in it.

    So, I am trying to be optimistic about the whole thing.

    Mstori, question for you, what did you wear under the torso portion of the brace or did you just wear it right on your skin?

    Thanks and well talk soon

    Stephanie

     
    Old 06-02-2008, 05:58 AM   #8
    skych
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    Re: Post Op Cervical Bracing??

    Hello,

    Well all this is kinda scary!

    When I saw my neuro a few weeks ago he told me I needed the ACDF at 2 levels. I was hopeing for the ADR, but I knew that was not anoption after seeing the report from my discogram.

    I was so upset beciause the neuro wants me to see a Pain Psyc. before putting me on his surgery books. So I forgot to ask him what type of collar he uses after ACDF.

    Really I had no idea there were so many different types. I will be doing some research about the SOMI. WHat is a four post collar?

    Steph 2fly, I hope that your surgery is a total success. I will let everyone know when I finally have the surgery date. The waiting is very draining on me.

    I am glad there are others going before me so I can follow your progress.

    Again, Steph...I wish you all the best in your surgery and recovery.

    Chrissy

     
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