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what does a back look like after fusion

beaverbbeaver Posts: 189
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
and just where IS the fourth and fifth vertebrae? Are they below your waist? I'm asking because hubby's back is healing really well but there is kind of a wrinkle several inches above his waist, much as if a stick inside is pushing up the flesh. It's not sore in any way but, if that is where the cage is, then it is well above the fourth and fifth.


  • I had L5-S1 issues and where your dimples are on your butt/back is about the S1 area. approx. L1 is at the base of your ribs in the front and follow around with your finger to the back well that's what my Dr. showed me. Each thoracic vertebrae 12 of them have a rib.
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • It's hard to say without a photo. I know that several of my incisions for the same area pushed up and were wrinkly near the top, from lying slightly elevated in the hospital bed. Imagine your skin sticking to a leather couch as your bum slides forward a bit pushing the skin into a gather. Mine straightened out and healed nicely once I quit laying on a hospital bed.

  • I would imagine that your husband still has some post-surgical swelling going on. Also many incisions look pretty rough in the beginning, and there can be funny little bulges and "puckers."

    Unless something really unusual has happened, you shouldn't worry about the cage being anywhere near the surface of the skin. Remember, it is replacing the disc in the space between the two adjoining vertebrae. I think most people are unaware of their cages, even when lying on the floor, unless they happen to be very skinny! At least I am not aware of mine.

    If the incision looks good and is not red or oozing,try not to worry. It will look better as he is further along in recovery....
  • about 20 pages back or so in this section. The thread is called "Pictures". Find that and you'll find plenty of post op pictures of scars and x-rays. If you're squeamish probably should just avoid.
  • I had an L4/5 TLIF and my scar is about 7 inches long. At the top, which is way above my fusion level, I had a strange lump with an indentation above it for quite a while and it's flattened itself out now. I never really worried about it because I remembered that my ACDF scar looked strange and changed while it worked itself into the beautiful and invisible scar it is now.

    I doubt it's anything to worry about. Incisions can do some very strange things while they're healing, along with what's going on inside.

    As always, though, if you're concerned, call your surgeon just to make yourself feel better.


  • depending on the type of surgery. Some are minimally invasive and others not.
    Mine wasn't and my scar is about 6 inches long middle of my back at L4/L5 for my PLIF.
  • Had L5/S1 fusion about 4 1/2 weeks ago. By the end of the day, at the top of the scar there is a giant lump of inflammation. My wife call it the Quasi-bump. By morning, it is gone. It seems that each day the bump gets smaller.

    The incision starts about 1 1/2 inches below the underwear line, and about 4 inches above. Other than the Quasi-bump, it's pretty flat. A wrinkle.... it could just be the stitching on the inside, or the tape they used. If it's not hurting, wait until you see the doctor next, and I'm pretty sure that if you called the doctor's office, they'd be happy to talk to you. One thing I've learned by reading these forums, and working with my doctor for 5 years is, "don't ever hesitate to ask", as that's what they are there for.
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