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spinal fusion s/p RNY

tknow1978ttknow1978 Posts: 30
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Have any of you had a fusion after having RNY gastric bypass? I am 6 wks out from gastric bypass and will be having L4,5 TLIF in 6 wks. I malabsorb calcium and take the recommended supplementation, but this still makes me nervous. Neurosurgeon says there is no way to know if or how it will affect the fusion. And I know from my own research that blood calcium levels do not reflect whethter or not you have enough calcium for your bones, because your body will steal calcium from bones for the life sustaining functions it serves. Anyway. My BMI is still over 40 so I am trying to get it down below that before surgery, because all the research I have seen says that over a BMI of 40 the risk of failed fusion, especially hardware failure, increases. I have so many concerns and was wondering if any of you have gone through this or have any of you been obese and had spinal fusion, as I am still obese and probably will be at the time of surgery. Any thoughts or comments welcome.
And by the way I have already been off work 3 months and if I'm not back in the next 3 months I will be fired. My neurosurgeon wants me to lose as much weight as possible of course, but does not want me to wait too long since I have already had the herniation on nerves since March.


  • I have been doing great since the gastric bypass and hopefully will continue to do so. I think you are right I will call my surgeons office. They will probably have some tips on upping my protein after surgery and pain meds to take or not take. I'm just worried and wondered if anyone had been in my situation or similar.
  • almost a year and a half after my RNY. Actually, I hurt my back 2 months before my RNY and suffered with it for a long time before I finally had the fusion surgery. So far, my calcium levels are still good. I have to have a scan in the next few months, but I fused very quickly and didn't have any extra problems. Losing the weight also made the back feel lots better. You're on the right track. Go for it.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • You will find that you will drop a lot of weight very fast in the first 6 months or so after surgery. One of the big problems for gastric bypass patients is that they are not prepared for the very small amount of food they will be able to tolerate each time they eat -- just a few tablespoonsful. You absolutely, positively CANNOT afford to neglect nutrition whether you are hungry or not. I can't stress this enough. You'll find that some foods feel like they're "stuck" and won't go down; it's OK to bring them up, but make a note of those foods and try not to be in this situation in the future.

    I think it would probably be OK if you have the fusion 3 months after RNY; your BMI will be quite a bit lower by then, and you'll be feeling better. Did you have a laparoscopic procedure? Some people cannot have a lap procedure, but if you did, you at least won't have too much inclsional pain left at the time of your fusion surgery.

    I would also run this by the surgeon who performed your RNY -- he may have pointers for you to help aide your recovery and protect your nutritional status after your fusion surgery. Follow it to the letter and you should be fine.

    Just follow your nutritional plan, or see a nutritionist now to set one up for you. I wish you the best of luck with both of your surgeries. They can both be life changing!
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