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Fusion without hardware

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Ok I'm still a bit in shock from the whole idea of surgery. Never really expected to be doing this again - especially so soon.

Yesterday the PM doc said that the fusion would be so much harder than the microD since I would have hardware. I started thinking about that and I will ask lots of questions at my next surgeon appt.

But what I am wondering is can they do a fusion without the hardware? Mine is a rare spot to have surgery so I don't expect alot of answers. I was just wondering because the rest of the spine at this point is attached to the rib cage so I wonder if they can do the fusion without any hardware.


  • They can do fusion without hardware, but they need to put interbody implant.

    Fusion can be achieved without screws, rods, plates... But, surgeons started to use hardware to make fusions more successful.

    Hardware enables stabilization before fusion process actually finishes.
  • just yhink if you had a fusion surgery without the hardware, you would probably be on 24 hour bedrest for the next 6 to 9 months.
    just a thought so you would'nt mess up the fusion.
    give you a chance to catch up on some sleep.
    keep us posted on your upcoming surgery

    best wishes to you
  • My question is...what if you are involved in some kind of accident...would whatever they use to re-inforce and protect the fusion, withstand that kind of trauma?
  • A big part of fusion surgery is to remove all the damaged disc and replace it with spacers, bone graft, and usually something to promote the fusion. If you do that with no hardware, you would make that part of the spine very unstable (especially since you have to cut through supportive tissue to get there). I think the person who said you'd be on bed rest and pretty much unable to move is right. I've got two rods and seven screws in my back and, to tell you the truth, I think that hardware was the least of my worries.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Kris,
    Is your fusion suppose to be in the Thoracic area? This area is a difficult place to operate on, but it can have a good outcome. I've been dealing with a fractured T12 since November, and after my surgeon does the "lumbar" fusion at the end of this month, he wants to do a fusion of the T12 area. You might try putting your post on the "upper back or Thoracic region" also.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    My first L5-S1 fusion was without hardware (plus I was only 20). So years later I had pain and the doctor said that the fusion was "pseudarthrosis" - false fusion, it never happened. Likely from a healthy activity level and my bones inability to heal well quickly. Thus most fusions I see and hear about include hardware (especially cervical and lumbar).
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I was wondering because this would be thoracic. So in a sense it already has hardware because the ribs are attached to each vertebra. Just a thought since I see so many posts about hardware problems.
  • Howdy Kris,

    My guess? Since the thoracic is supported by the breast bone and the ribs, it might be something they are looking at? My thoracic issues are way down, so different story if they ever go there....just my thoughts....*hugz*

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

  • Hi Kris,

    My thoughts are that if you are having fusion surgery, that is to stop movement and stabilise the spine.

    I know that the thoracic area of the spine is supported by ribs, but if they are talking about fusing it, I guess that must be to stop movement at that level.
    If there is movement and they want to stop it, you will need hardware to hold the spine steady and still while it fuses, otherwise it probably won't fuse.

  • jellyhall said:

    My thoughts are that if you are having fusion surgery, that is to stop movement and stabilise the spine.
    If you want to stop movement and stabilize spine, then you go for stabilization surgery.

    If you want to get rid of diseased disc, stop movement and enable fusion of vertebraes, then you go for fusion surgery (TLIF, PLIF, ALIF, ILIF, DLIF, etc).
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