Hello everyone! This is my first post. My name is Matt and I'm a 32 year old man from Alexandria Virginia. I got in a car accident three months ago, and in that accident I fractured two vertebrae in my thoracic spine (T7 and T8 I believe). I ended up getting a back fusion surgery from T5 through T11.
Today was my three month follow up. In the flurry of ten thousand questions I had for my surgeon when I was there, I completely forgot to ask him a little more about the bone growth after the surgery, and what the heck I was looking at when I got my x-rays.
I'm including my two x-rays here, and I would love it if anyone with experience or knowledge in this area could help me out. I tried watching animations of fusion surgeries on YouTube, tried looking at images of fusions (and graphical representations of it) online, but everything I find is basically about the surgery itself (how they do it, taking out the discs, inserting the screws, bone chips, etc. Nothing about "this is what bone growth looks like" or "this is what a normal x-ray looks like" or here it is at 3 months, here it is at 6 months, etc".
My surgeon said everything looked great in my x-ray (probably why I forgot to ask him to give me a quick rundown), so I'm not exactly worried... but I would like some help figuring out what I'm looking at.
Below are my x-rays. The interesting thing to me is that I do not see the screws that had the bone chips in them (that is how I understood fusions to be performed, but maybe he did a fusion a different way?), and I don't see bone growth between the vertebrae... or at least I think I don't... is that material above/below the square vertebrae image new bone growth? Will it continue to grow up and eventually just fill all that empty space? Is it growing I just don't know what I'm looking at?
I asked in passing if at my 6 month appointment I will be taking more x-rays... he said there was no real need... so I'm a little bummed about that because it would at least be nice to compare them so I could see the difference in growth from 3 to 6 months.
Anyway, I understand this takes like 6-9 months to really fully "take" - so do my x-rays look normal? What the heck am I really looking at here? Anyone have any guidance/wisdom/knowledge here? Thank you so much in advance!