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6 months post op after revision fusion surgery

Renos64RRenos64 Posts: 77
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am now 6 months after my last revision surgery. To screws were loose and the allograft bone (donorbone) was grown to fixed bonebridge between L4-L5.
Last week I had a check-up where they made a CT-scan. Conclusion: there is seen some bone grow activity bot there is not yet a stable fusion. According the NS this can still take some months.
I never hear that this can take so long? And will the bone mineralization proceed after such a long time? Does anybody have experience that it take so long?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am so glad you have posted today, I have been wondering how you were getting on since your surgery. I am glad to see you have started to fuse, it is still early days yet as your NS stated.
    Please keep us updated on your are progress.



    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • It took over a year for my dr. to say that I was looking fully fused, Even then, he says that it might not really be a solid fusion for several more months. Yeh, it takes a long time.
  • Hello Renos,
    Im sorry to hear that you havent been able to fuse yet. I know it can take a long time at least a year so hopfully it will happen with some time.

    I read from some of your earlier post that you had to have a revision surgery of your Prodisc at l4/l5.
    I am sadly in the same position, or even worse as I have two Prodisc that need to be removed.
    I also had my surgery in Germany by a experienced doc that was suposed to be the best.
    Its very hard to find someone to remove the Prodisc since it is very difficult and risky as I am sure you know very well.
    Did they remove your from a laterally approach or did they go in anterior again?

    I have been in contact with a surgeon in the Netherland, I wonder if he is the same as have did your surgery.
    I would really like to contact to you if you dont mind as I have some question which I hoped you could answere.
    I will try to send you a PM if that is ok???
  • Thanks for the reactions.
    But I have still some questions:
    The pain I still experiencing is variable from almost 0 till servere. It is depending what activities and movements I do during the day. Most of the time I am lying on a bed in the living room and walk 2 times of 10 minutes per day. Further I still use a lot of pain medication.
    My question is what best I can do for a good fusion process? lying? walking? how long walking? etc.
    Hope you will share your experience and advices.

    Regards, Rene

    PS. Liz, nice to hear from you again!
  • It took some time for mine to fuse. It is still getting stronger. Everyone does at own rate. It seemed like they saw mine starting at 6 mo and at 9 mo I had hardware removed. You should be walking as much as you can, with what my Dr said was, he would like to see me walk 4 times a day, 6 blocks than 2 times a day 10 blocks. I know that walking is the best, and not sitting much. Try to keep increasing your distance, gradually, like if it feels ok, every 3-4 days. Aqua therapy is also good, but check with Dr. Have you had PT yet? Some believe in it, some dont. I had my hardware out because of pain. I am still on alot of meds. If you hurt, you wont walk. As your Dr about treadmill or if you have a eliptical or staionery bike. But clear it all from him/her. Also, no bending, twisting, lifting. Just baby yourself and try to keep moving. Hope this helps.
  • I know I am stubborn and so many of you on here have told me to be patient and baby myself, but I never would have imagined I would have to baby myself for six months or more!!! I must have been in such denial when planning this. I knew fusion could take 6months to a year, but that just didn't translate to my brain how long it would take to really get better. Gwennie has been such an encouragement to me, as you all have, but I am still struggling over it all. I really thought that once I was done with the surgery and gave myself a reasonable amount of time(6-8) weeks, I would feel great. I knew I would still be in the process of fusion, but thought it would be easier. I spend so much time trying to change my expectations, I know I need to really re group and have a whole new set of goals for myself. I feel like a two year old stomping my feet saying "this is not fair"!!! I sincerely hope you start to fuse soon, and that you have a good outcome. Thanks for listening as always,

    By the way, I read so often on here about having your hardware removed. Is this something that happens often and why does it happen? I read one post about removal for pain, does this help?? Thanks
  • I continue to have extremem pain and that is why mine was taken out. I dont know if it has helped yet, to early. I know it is done, but I dont think it is a huge percentage. It seems that some peoples bodies dont like it and they have it out and they have great relief. I had my annular tears for 2 1/2 years, so I think part of mine is from nerve damage. I am hoping that some of that will heal as well. Nerves are the slowest thing to grow/repair, so I hope that is the case for me. I know some people have other issues with screws etc. So probably many reasons. But most Drs dont anticipate taking it out at the time thr fusion is done. Hope this helps. Any other ?, let me know. Love, Robin
  • Thank you Robin, I was just wondering. I remember my Ortho guy saying that once you are fused, we really don't need all the parts, that they had done their job, but now that I think of it, these parts cost $134,000 I might just hang on to them for a while (hahahaha).
    Have a good day, hope you feel great today!
    P.S. The baby in your arm looks so adorable!!!
  • What the minimal time after the vertebra's are fused when the hardware can be taken out?
    Do a lot of people let it do? What are the results? When do dr's decide to remove all the hardware?

    What are the do and dont's to get a good bone-mineralization and a solid fusion?

    Thanks for all your help.

  • I was talking with my surgeon the other day about hardware removal. In his practice, he said he removes hardware in about 2% of his cases. Perhaps he is not typical, but in any case, it is not done in most cases.

    Surgeons do not like to do the removal surgery unless they are reasonably sure that the patient has fused...unless of course it is very soon after the original surgery and there is clearly a problem. If it is apparent that the hardware is loose, and they can reasonably assume that is causing the patient's pain, then it will be removed as soon as the doc thinks the patient is fused.

    If it is a matter of the patient having pain and everything else has been ruled out and they think the hardware might be causing the problem, they usually try to wait as long as possible to be sure the patient is fused. Sometimes it is not obvious that hardware is causing the problem. Even though patients may look fused on X-ray, the only way to know for absolute sure is to open up the patient and see what it looks like.

    Rachel, you are correct that the hardware serves no purpose once the patient is fused. It is put in there to raise the chances that the patient will fuse and fuse in the proper position. But in most people it isn't bothering anything, so it is left in. They don't want to put a patient through another anesthesia unless it is necessary, and there are other reasons too, for leaving it in.

    Basically, if you smoke it is harder to fuse. Also the use of NSAIDs is not recommended for the first three months. Otherwise, eating a nutritious diet helps. Some people swear by taking calcium/magnesium supplements. Also walking is very important. The discs and vertebrae do not have much blood supply. By walking, the patient increases the flow of freshly oxygenated blood to the surgical site and it also stretches the spinal nerves unlike any other exercise.

    Hope you all have a good day.
  • Thanks Gwennie for your extensive tips and advices. Al these replies help me a lot to overlook my one situation and makes me informed for a better discussion with my doctor.
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