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  • My Upcoming 3 Level Fusion Surgery and the BIG BRACE!

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    Old 08-26-2009, 08:28 AM   #1
    Ashley89772
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    My Upcoming 3 Level Fusion Surgery and the BIG BRACE!

    Hello Everyone, sorry for the long delay in posting here but on my way out the door to my brace fitting last month I received a phone call from the nurse at my Doctors office who told me that the insurance company had not authorized my surgery yet so everything was put on hold until we could sort things out!!! Aruggggg --- gets me so, so mad!

    Anyway, after three weeks, my Doctor was finally able to get the surgery approved so, after a 4 week delay. I went in for my brace fitting yesterday and my surgery in scheduled for Friday, Aug 28th yea (I think!!) Just to refresh everyones memory on my situation, I will be having a redo of c4-c6 + he is doing c3 (3 levels in total). I will need to wear a brace post-op for 10 - 12 weeks, not looking forward to that but if it helps me fuse, then I am all for it.

    After trying on all 3 brace options, the Orthotist and my Doctor (with very little input from me) decided to put me in a Minerva style CTO (Cervical Thoracic Orthoses) Yikes, this is a BIG, Scary Brace and I am definitely not looking forward to spending the rest of the summer in this thing, but the most important issue here is that I have a solid fusion because I dont want to go through this again!

    Anyone here spend time in a neck brace after your surgery? -- please share your experiences, how were you able to shower? Were you required to wear in while sleeping? How about driving?

    Looking forward to hearing from everyone and wish me luck on Friday

    Thanks for reading

    Ashley

     
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    Old 08-29-2009, 05:31 AM   #2
    sammyo1
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    Re: My Upcoming 3 Level Fusion Surgery and the BIG BRACE!

    Hi Ashley, I read your first thread & I for one can tell you how miserable it is to have a brace that does not fit properly. I spent the first several weeks in one that was way to big & it drove me crazy. My surgeon never had me fitted but just threw me in a aspen small. At the time I was barely 100pd & when I went to get fitted for a new brace I had to have an x-small or a junior (kids) size. I chose the x-small. Of course I was told at that point I should have been fitted preop. Took my husband threatening the office to get me in & fitted for the right brace. I ended up with the Miami J. What a difference it was to have the right fit. Although I hated being in a brace I felt more secure having one. I thought I would never get used to sleeping in it but I did.

    I was in the brace for 3mths. The last 2-3wks I could take it off at night. No driving for that time. I was lucky & my sister had a shower brace & a shower chair from a previous surgery & this helped me big time. Towards the end I would leave the shower brace off & just make sure I did not bend my head.
    I kept everything with in reach as much as I could & used a shower chair at first & then after to prop my legs up for shaving or just to set my soaps, shampoo on.

    The one thing that helped me the most was a pillow wedge. I took advice from a member here & ended up purchasing one shortly after my fusion at a local medical supply. It really helped & made lying down & getting in & out of bed much easier. I used it on the couch also. I read alot so the wedge came in really handy. I also made sure I had alot of big comfy tops & button ups. Since my surgery was in Dec. I lived in sweat pants for the most part.

    Good luck & Ill keep you in my prayers for a successful fusion. Sammy

     
    Old 08-30-2009, 08:31 AM   #3
    steph2fly
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    Re: My Upcoming 3 Level Fusion Surgery and the BIG BRACE!

    Hello Ashley,

    I hope your surgery went OK on Friday --- wishing you all the best and when you are feeling better and up to it, please give us an update on how you are doing.

    After my last fusion surgery, I was in a SOMI brace for 3 months and I can tell you that as much as I did not like being stuck in a brace most of last summer the end results were great with a solid fusion in my neck and most of the pain gone!

    The brace was really not as bad as I though it would be. I had to keep mine on 24/7 for the first 8 weeks so get lots of pillows for sleeping, which really helped me. I was able to shower but had a different collar/brace I had to wear in the shower. I also had a shower chair that Sammy mentioned and it was very helpful. I was not able to drive (officially) but I did cheat a few times to run to the store or to the bank but for the most part, I relied on friends of family to help and drive me when needed.

    I was in to see my Doctor 4 weeks ago and I did see two patients in the waiting room in a brace like the one you will be in (I think) so fear not, you are not alone out there. One thing you need to be very, very careful with is stairs and curbs. The Minerva, like the SOMI, is a very rigid brace that will totally immobilize your head and neck so you will NOT be able to look down or side to side so make sure you move slowly and hold on to the handrail, you dont want to fall and hurt something!

    As you get settled well talk more and share some fun stories and neck brace fashion tips for accessorizing your new friend but for now, get plenty of rest and take it easy.

    All the best,

    Steph
    __________________
    1995-1 level fusion:c3-c4. 4-poster brace-12 weeks-Solid Fusion! 2006-2 level fusion:c4-c5&c5-c6. No brace/collar-Failed Fusion! 2008-Redo fusion:c4-c6. SOMI Brace-12 weeks-Solid Fusion-Feeling Great!

     
    Old 11-25-2009, 11:19 PM   #4
    Rjviking84
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    Re: My Upcoming 3 Level Fusion Surgery and the BIG BRACE!

    Hi Ashley that really stinks about what you are going through and I think I will eventuallly be able to relate to it. I was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago and to make a long story short will have to be in a Minerva Brace. I just had a couple of things that I wanted to ask you.
    1. What was the brace fitting like and how long was the process?
    2. How tough is it to be in the brace now?

     
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