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Post Op imaging

Neck of Steel CindyNNeck of Steel Cindy Posts: 1,064
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My surgeon has not ordered x-rays post op other than the routine 6 week ones. I did have an mri about 4 months ago though. I find this strange that he doesn't see a need for imaging to check the bone growth or the positioning of the hardware, especially with as much work as was done.

I'm just curious of other people's experience with this. How often and which kind of imaging does your surgeon automatically do? Maybe my surgeon just feels that with as much hardware as I have in there, there is no way anything will move. I did discuss this with my physiatrist the other day and she agreed to have me do a CT Scan at the one year mark if I ask for it. But I still find it odd that it is not a routine thing to have imaging done at the 3 month, 6 month, and one year mark.

What has been your experiences?

Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!


  • Cindy,

    I get an X-Ray every time I see my surgeon, just to check on the progress of fusion and the position of the hardware. While I certiantly don't have the amount of hardware that you do I actually did have 2 screws bend out of place between the 3 and 5 month marks. Since then I've had an MRI as well.

    Every doc is different and, if you'd feel more comfortable, ask him to run an x-ray just to be sure things are fusing. My surgeon explained to me that when there is so much hardware the fusion doesn't matter as much- there is NO way that neck is going anywhere!

  • xrays at every visit and then at 6mos (because I wasn't doing well) a CT scan with contrast dye,
  • I received xrays during my surgery - after my surgery, the morning after my surgery, 6 weeks after, 12 weeks after, then I will receive more at 24 weeks after on 4/27/09. I even have images of my day of and day after - pretty cool. GOOD LUCK
  • I had an MRI and a CT the day after my surgery when I started having complications. One of them was with contrast, but for the life of me I can't remember which one. The images were taken in the middle of the night and I was pretty doped up then.

    Since then I have only had x-rays that need to be taken in the day or 2 before my follow-up apts.

    p.s. Those is some wicked looking films with all that hardware!
  • I'm still interested in hearing other's experiences with this.

    At this point I am going to trust my surgeon that everything is okay, but there is a part of me that is paranoid and wants the xrays just to make me feel better. I just can't imagine why he doesn't want films taken. I am going to insist on a CT at the one year mark but that is 3 months away. Or maybe my luck will change and I will feel GREAT by then and won't even care about taking a look at my films. (A girl can dream can't she?)
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I had surgery the beginning of last month and my surgeon says I need x-rays for every office visit. The office visits have been spaced out. I had one a month after surgery and then my next visit is at the three month mark.
  • Maybe there is a difference depending on whether you had cervical or lumbar surgery??

    I had lumbar fusion a year ago. My doctor does not believe in doing anything "routinely." If someone is complaining of pain, he will order imaging to check to see if there are problems. Otherwise, if healing appears to be going along, he waits till the 6-month check-up. His attitude is that if something is wrong, the patient will know it and will be verbal about it, at which point he will schedule imaging. Otherwise, he believes the patient is just getting unneeded radiation.

    If a patient really insists, for whatever reason, he will do it, but he does not do it otherwise.
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