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What are these pieces in my xray?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I finally worked up the nerve to get my post op xrays, and I want to know what these pieces in there are? (the little lines between the hardware). I think most of my surgery notes are in my signature, but in addition, they said "a morcellized autograft wrapped with a small piece of BMP was tamped anteriorly, followed by a Medtronic PEEK cage stuffed with BMP. This was tamped into the interspace and countersunk beneath the posterior vertebral line" I've looked up this cage, and it's much bigger than those lines, but I don't even see it in there. Anyone have any idea what these are? I'm curious if they have anything to do with the problems I'm having at night... :(




  • Yours look "healthier" somehow, as they are all connected like spacers. Mine look separate, and looks like one may have fallen over?
  • My surgeon said they are a slight bit of titanium put in so they can tell that the cage is in the right spot and has not moved.
  • that they stapled the small veins to keep them from bleeding. The surgeon's nurse said they often leave them that way and it's not a problem (say what?). She said that the blood finds other ways to get to where it needs to go around those blocks and it was easier to leave them rather than unstaple them and repair the damage. She assured me that there was no difference or danger to me because they were left in.

    I sure hope not!!!!
  • hmm interesting, I guess I assumed the cage was made of titanium as well, and since there are many different ideas, I'll just have to ask my ns about it next appointments.

    On another subject, how long have you been "allowed" to continue using valium if you are using it post op? Originally I got enough for a week. I never asked for it again, but since I've been having so much trouble sleeping, they wrote me a script for a week last week. When written, she said "let me know how it works" Which I did, by requesting a refill. For this I got a phone call saying they would fill it once more, but that's it. It really is no concern now, since I got my tens unit, and it helps alot to relax me before bed, seems to make me sleepy for some reason, and I won't even use this new script unless I start having trouble again.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    Ask your doctor.
    We can try to offer suggestions or potential advice, but since none of us are medical professionals, we dont want to do anyone a injustice.

    For the bottom line on any medical issue, always consult with your doctor(s)
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Polyether-etherketone (PEEK) is a hard radiolucent plastic that is used in conjunction with carbon fiber reinforcement or as pure PEEK. Most manufacturers who use PEEK use radio marker dots so the surgeon can see where the implant meets the vertebral body endplate.

    So, as you can see from the above definition there is no titanium, and the spots you see are likely markers. With my first surgery I had little markers too. I was told the markers helped the doctor to see that the hardware was still in position, whereas if it shifted the markers would shift as well. Wish I could see your pic that you uploaded, but it is just showing as a little box with an x in it.

    Hope that helps. I agree with others, ask your doctor next time you see him.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Kat, if you are only taking Valium to help you sleep and not for pain, why don't you ask for sleeping pills? For me Restoril worked just fine.

  • I thought Valium WAS a sleeping pill? But your comment made me look at the prescription, and it says "for muscle spasms"... didn't know that :p

    Thanks for the info on the cage, was wondering why I didn't see it in the xray. The picture (xray) is located here, if you want to see it http://i40.tinypic.com/2njg2ud.jpg

  • How do you upload pics of your xrays??
  • For me it was a pain just to extract the picture from the disc they gave me, since to view them they use a special program (included on the cd), and not export feature that I could find.... had to make a screenshot, paste it into mspaint, save as jpg, go to tinypic.com, upload it there, and then they give you the web address to paste wherever you want to show it! (ez as pie :p)

  • Why don't you ask your surgeon what they are? You should be seeing him for post-op appointments, shouldn't you?
  • I asked my surgeon the exact same questions. What are those lines? He told me that they are the markers on the cage, so that he knows exactly where it is and if they were placed correctly. He also see if there are any changes from before and after x-rays during the course of fusion. Even after it is fused, and bone has grown, the markers still show up in the x-rays.
  • Rivertime, of course I will ask my surgeon as I mentioned already, but as you should well know, we sometimes just want to hear someone elses experience with the same situations, to know before you can actually see your NS that yes, it's ok to be feeling/seeing/thinking the current upsetting condition in your recovery.
  • dilauro said:
    Ask your doctor.
    We can try to offer suggestions or potential advice, but since none of us are medical professionals, we dont want to do anyone a injustice.

    For the bottom line on any medical issue, always consult with your doctor(s)
    If it were as easy to talk with a Doctor as it is to post here we would all talk to our doctors :)
    For many of us, it's weeks waiting for an appointment, days waiting for a call, etc - and people are just looking for some reassurance to calm them down.
    I know you aren't trying to be mean - and please don't take my reply as being mean as well...it's just difficult on weekends, in tough situations to get a doctor's perspective so we ask our online friends in the same situations for advice/answers.
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