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Do I have a fusion? Help, please.

Hi, guys!
I'm a little confused with what's going on with me and would like some help, if any! I was involved in a car accident back in January, fractured my L4 vertebra. They said that I would have to have surgery to prevent paralysis, so that's exactly what I did. They put rods in from L3-L5, my surgeon told me that they didn't touch my discs and that the rods ca come out this November after my bone heals. He said that he didn't place any bone graft in my back and that I don't have a fusion... I asked him once the rods come out if I'll have normal extension and flexion in that area, he said yes. So I'm a little confused with what type of surgery I have. Is it possible for them to just go in and stabilize the section to allow proper bone healing of the fractured area and once that healing has occurred the rods can come out as of nothing was there to begin with? Help, please. I'd really like some ease of mind.
My understanding of a fusion is joining vertebrae together to make one solid bone, but if my disc are in place and he didn't take anything out or put bone graft in, would it still be consider a fusion because the rods are immobilizing a part of the spine?


  • No, it is not a fusion since he didn't remove the disc nor add bone ........all he did was stabilize a fracture to allow it to heal.....
    It is very similar to a cast put on a fracture of your arm or leg, except that they can not put a plaster cast in the spine so they did the next best thing, stabilized the fracture in the vertebra by using rods and screws to hold it together while it heals.
  • Exactly what Sandi said ;-) but no, you do not have a fusion. The cast analogy is perfect for what you had done.

    How are you feeling after months of healing time, Emooly?
  • He used the same analogy when I was talking with him in one of my appointments. I feel kind of lost though because on some of my paperwork it states that I have a fusion and others just say stabilization, so I'm a little confused about it. I feel like the term fusion is used for a wide variety of things. Haha. I've read over the surgical procedure it just states that he put rods into me, didn't take anything out, nor did he use bone grafting... But just because the paperwork says that is it true then? I would have had to sign for bone grafting, I feel, which I didn't.
    I feel pretty good. I do carry a lot of stress in my shoulders due to this though. I don't really have pain, just discomfort.
  • clare123cclare123 CAMBRIDGESHIRE, UKPosts: 11
    I know this is a very old thread but I have a similar story / question.

    I've had screws / rods fitted T12 to L2 for an L1 fracture. So this is not a fusion? On my paperwork I think it days posterior lumber fusion.

    No mention in my case of them removing the hardware...so surely to all intents and purposes those bones are fused if they leave in the metal?

    Yours, confused of Cambridgeshire! 
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hello Clare

    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I am closing it.
    I suggest you create a new discussion using the link below

    Please click on the link for useful information

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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