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Wearing A Brace After Fusion

Mindymork62MMindymork62 Posts: 207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was wondering people wore or are wearing a brace after Fusion to lower lumbar? How often do you wear it? Do you wear it to bed? Do you wear it when you are just resting or sitting?


  • Hi Mindy

    I wasn't given a brace after my L4/5 fusion last year and I coped fine, perhaps because it was only a one level and was done from the front. When I tried a light lumbar brace after a few months because of the constant big ache, it made the other unstable areas of my spine hurt more.

    If your surgeon has recommended that you wear a brace, then it's best to go along with what he wants.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Mindy....I too am like Trich and didnt have to wear a brace at all after any of my lumbar surgerys..

    Best do what the Dr says as he is the expert.
    Take care
  • Hi Mindy,

    I wore a brace for approx. 3 months after my surgery. My fusion was done anterior and posterior (2 levels) and my stomach muscles were healing as well my back, so I needed the extra support and was thankful for the brace. I must say, though, that it was cumbersome and certainly not very attractive, but it served it's purpose.

    I wore mine when I was up and about, but not when laying down. Sitting at that time was extremely difficult and I didn't do much of that, but when I did I had my brace on.

    Just like everyone says, though, every surgeon is different in what they want you to do. They know you best.


  • My surgeon doesn't use braces, he believes that the hardware will hold me in place and that a brace will cause the muscles to become weak.

    I had a lot of bone removed from the back of my spine, so the hardware must be doing its job. (I hope so anyway!)

    I have made a very good recovery, much better than I was expecting.

    Different surgeons have different preferences.
    Do follow your surgeon's recommendations. He is the only one who has seen inside your spine and he knows what he did to treat it, and what it needs now!

    Keep up the good recovery Mindy :D
  • Hi,
    I had a PLIF at L5-S1 & a lami at L4-L5 right side. The NS told me to wear the brace when I was up and moving. When sitting I was to wear it also. Only lying down was I to take it off. This went on for six weeks. The first time I went for a walk without the brace I thought I would fall over. It took maybe a week to readjust without it but I think it was more balance than muscle weakness. The brace to me helped mentally that the PLIF would stay in place.
    But as previously said it may not be necessary according to what each Doc thinks is needed.

    God Bless,
  • I had a 1-lvl TLIF at L4/5 and wore a brace for two months. Mine was a wrap-around with overlapping velcro and a hard shell on the back. The shell was removeable.

    I had to wear mine at all times except to shower and when sleeping. I was allowed to remove the shell ocassionally if I felt really uncomfortable, but had it in most of the time. It was comfortable enough, I got used to it easily and like Highwayman, it made me feel stable and it was comforting.

    With my brace, I would wear a t-shirt and put the brace over it then put another top over that so nobody ever saw it. That might be uncomfortable in hot weather, but it worked very well for me (of course, that was in January and February).

  • i had a tlif l4/l5/s1, and i wore a brace like cath"s for 4 months.
    maker is aspen.
    wore it always,except sleeping and showering.
  • For my first 2 level PLIF I didn't have to wear a brace at all.

    My most recent 2 level ALIF surgery in Nov. I had to wear a brace, like Cath's, for 3 months. I could take it off when resting, but had to have it on when "out and about". My surgeon wanted me to wear the brace this time to help ensure the best possible outcome due to the mess of my back.

    To be honest, from day one I HATED the brace and found myself "relaxing" alot so I could take it off. I know from other posts that some have liked having a brace, felt more safe in it. I guess its really such an individual thing: each one of us has different issues and different surgeons.

    The thing to remember about the brace is that its not forever.
  • My daughter, who had the same surgeon as I did had to wear a brace (aspen) for 4 months. His reasoning was to protect the fusion while she was up. I had the same surgeon and have a full brace with the (turtle shell) :). I also have Osteoporosis and after a fractured T12 last November I lost 1 1/2 " off my height, and stomach started protruding. I do wear my brace for everything but sleeping, or when I need to get to the bathroom in a hurry. I still have to use my walker some, but not as much as in the beginning. I'm one of the "slow pokes". :) I have some knee issues and problems with my hip and my Dr. just put me on prednisone. That was a big decision because of the bone graft. I'm having enough problems with soft bones.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    After my L4-S1 fusion in 1993 and my L3-S1 fusion I had the hard sided brace (LSO). Both times a bit uncomfortable but worth it all the way. I had to use it only when upright for more than a few minutes. So in the house if I was going to the bathroom or to the kitchen to get a snack I did not wear it. If I was going to sit up for dinner or to have friends visit then I did have to wear it.

    For my cervical fusion I did have an Aspen brace. I was freaking out as I don't even like turtleneck shirts but the cervical braces don't hug the neck. Again it made me feel better to have the brace. I did wear that while sleeping so my head wouldn't fall to the side in a sleep relaxed state.

    In both cases I didn't have to wear the braces when in the shower.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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