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Fusion and Steroids and Glucose

ernurseeernurse Posts: 790
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
OK, so here's a new topic I want info on and maybe Zach or others can help me. My mind is percocet clouded and my desktop computer with lots of saved info is in the shop so I don't exactly remember all of this.

OK, we all know that NSAIDS and steroids inhibit fusion. I had asked about getting a bunch of liquid steriods injected during fusion just to calm it all down and maybe make my recovery less painful, and was told no. That's when I first heard that steroids inhibit fusion.

But, here's my question. Many folks(I know you know Zach) that steroids raise your blood sugar. I remember even before my fusion coming across an article about how important it was for surgeons to monitor blood glucose levels for the first 24-48 hours postop fusion and to even give insulin to non-diabetics to keep the glucose levels down. Why? I can't remember and can't find the info. Is it because bacteria love that extra sugar and it makes you more likely to have a postop infection? I seem to remember that it pertained specifically to fusion surgeries, tho, not other back surgeries.

Now keep in mind that was many, many, doses of narcotics ago but this sticks out in my mind and I'm trying to find info on it. Anyone know anything?(about this I mean, no smart aleck remarks from the peanut gallery!)



  • I didn't know that steroids can inhibit fusion, but they can raise blood sugar levels.

    Also, steroids can significantly increase blood pressure, which may be a reason why your doctor did not want to give you steroids prior to surgery. I went on a prednisone steroid pack at one time and my blood pressure hit something like 160/100 when resting! My normal blood pressure is 120/80 when resting.

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Angie, sure hope you are doing well. With regards to steroids . . . I know that while steroids can calm the irritation and make a person feel better for the short term, they also mask infection and inhibit healing.
  • I can remember with my fusion getting accuchecks and insulin even tho I am not diabetic. I did not receive steroids during fusion even I thought it would be a really good idea. I really remember reading an article about sliding scale insulin post fusion surgery, I just can't find it.
  • Steroids, even just a short term but high dose, can make someone who is otherwise "borderline" predisposed to diabetes (sometimes known as "glucose intolerance") turn into frank diabetes. Its uncommon, but it has been reported even with short term steroids (including medrol dose pack or 2 weeks of steroids given for bad poison ivy!); given the potential long term consequence of "making" someone full-blown diabetic its smart for your doc to keep a close eye on it. Keep in mind as well that major surgery stresses the body and also produces a "fight or flight" increase in cortisol your body made by the adrenal glands, which compounds the matter. Steroids immediately prior to that "stress" signal your body's adrenal glands to stop making natural cortisol, and then when off steroids if not tapered properly or suddenly dropped your adrenal glands can't react to the stress and can send you into a type of shock called adrenal crisis. Steroids are definitely a mixed blessing - they do wonderful things in controlling inflammation and pain, but overall do some pretty bad things to the body. They also are known to slow healing, not just fusion but with simple things like cuts too.
  • Maybe I should have named the thread Sugar. I appreciate the info, it explains things very well about steriods and sugar. I'm looking for info specific to sugars and fusion surgery when you do not receive steroids and are not diabetic.

    Optimist-excellent info explaining steroid's effects.
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