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Fusion images

tammypttammyp Posts: 49
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
What does fusion look like on xray?
I asked my surgeon about my xray he took 9 months post op and he said it was the brighter area (almost white).
Anyone know if it shows on MRI and what does it look like?


  • My guess is that it looks like normal bone as it is bone. Couldn't swear to it though!
  • LOL!! I figured that, but is it brighter than other bones since its new growth.
    Has anyones surgeon pointed it out to you?
  • I can't vouch for what it is supposed to look like, but I just pulled up my recent MRI to have a look. I had surgery two years ago and know for a fact that I am fused.

    On the axial view on MRI, it looks kind of dark, like a bad disc, but it looks like a messy disc! The edges look like they are overgrowing onto the vertebra above it. The vertebral bone above and below look lighter in color.

    Mine looks different than on a X-ray.

    Don't know if this helps any, or not. ;)
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    On the x ray the fusion growth is white. But not the mri. I don't know why.
    Good luck ,Jim :?
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I'm not sure what the actual new fused bone looks like but you may find this forum thread interesting: http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/pictures

    Warning.. some of the photos may be pretty graphic. In my latest xray that I posted the surgeon said I started to fuse, but I can't really tell what it looks like.
  • Thanks! actually that clears up something else I was unclear on. I'll take a look at my MRI.
  • j.howie said:
    On the x ray the fusion growth is white. But not the mri. I don't know why.
    Good luck ,Jim :?
    Howdy J.,

    Dunno, I looked at my first fusion (that fused great) and didn't see this white you all are talking about (X-ray), and my present "fusion" is happening on the bottom, but not the top, and I didn't see *any* color differences.

    I looked at my MRI's and the only white (T2 images) was the bone area that had swelling which was an additional "surgery" criteria. I had X-rays a few weeks ago, and no color differences there. Now I did see "white" in the areas I know have Osteophytes, so there is something to this! Peace all.... :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Graham,

    :-( I guess I am screwed! I looked at my 6 week post op, and there is a *slightly* brighter area where the cage was put in. I played with the zoom and contrast, and though the color difference is slight, it was solid in its look. At 7 weeks had a "crunch" noise with associated pain. Week 8 MRI, 3 images you can see the top separated. The X-Rays from a month ago, the color is now the same as my old fusion, and the top of the fusion - zoom in and change the contrast a little bit, and I can see a jagged line on the top of the cage - that jagged line is where the fusion separated. The bottom has no irregularities that I can see. :OO

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • That is similar to what my surgeon pointed out to me on xray.
    I feel a bit more relaxed now.
    Thanks for the replys everyone.
    I know we all trust our surgeons its just better to see and understand it at a better level.
  • Tammy,
    If that is what your surgeon showed you then that is good. At 9 months it should show up. But don't expect some crystal clear image. It just doesn't look like that. It is easier to see on the large films. Not so much on the CD images on a monitor.

    Sorry to hear that. Did your surgeon agree that crack is actually separation? You and I are layman. So I try not to read too much into Xray or MRI images. Especially off a CD onto a monitor. The Dicom images are good enough to pick off no brainer things. Like a blown out disc, DDD, etc. Seeing fusion in an image takes some training. Once they showed my the 1st part I found the 2nd part. That was looking at the big negatives on the light screen in his office. They are just so much easier to read. For fun I took the complete image from the clip above. Displayed it on my 52" LCD TV. Wow! That looked cool! Easier to read too. Didn't even need my glasses ;-)

    I hope he can go back in there and glue you up again. Shame they can't do an axial there and just screw those 2 trouble making levels together...

  • Graham,

    My NS basically stated that the "top of the fusion is in question" and then followed that with "I am putting you back in the hard collar for at least 2 more weeks, and having you put on a bone growth stimulator." When I went for my 6 week follow up for the C5/6 level, he was "happy as a clam" with the X-Ray results, not so this go around. He also had me get an MRI at the 8 week mark, and kept me on the Bone Growth Stim, and put me on 300mg of Lyrica to start! Not once has my NS stated I was fusing yet...:-(

    I found out something "not good" today via another NS who is renowned in NY. I don't want to fubar this forum, so I will be posting of it shortly on another thread.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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