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thotacic spine fusion

gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 160
edited 12/15/2014 - 12:36 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi, 5 days post op, after a 7 level fusion of the thoracic vertebra. Lots of hardware. Pain is very high. Walking, sleeping, or any movement is hard to do. I have looked alot for thoracic fusion on different sites, but can't seem to find one. I'm 50, and I took a fall at work shattering t7 and cracked t6. Put up with the pain for 8 months till surgery was my only option. The incision is almost the length of my back. The surgeon said the pain will decrease after 2 weeks. Told me this is a major operation and it will take time to heal. Was hoping to see if anyone else had this level of fusion done.
Greg fisher


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Brian247BBrian247 Posts: 41
    edited 12/17/2014 - 12:27 PM
    Im 36 yrs old and i'm 3 months post op on having multi level thoracic fusion, now fused from T4-T8. I suffered a T6 burst fracture in a motocross accident and was told I came extremely close to being paralyzed. Like you, I wasnt able to find very much on thoracic fusion surgeries as it appears to be not very routine like lumbar or cervical are. Pain wise it hurt to get out of bed at first cause of the incision but subsided after two weeks or so. Pain meds kept things manageable while in the hospital and for the first few days out of the hospital. After that i stopped taking them as my pain became pretty manageable. I was also fitted with a brace to wear at all times unless i'm laying down at an angle of 30 degrees or less. I think that has helped as well when i'm up and mobile . 3 months out and for the most part i feel fairly ok. Just waiting to get this brace off so I can start PT and get some muscle built back up. I'm sure those days are going to be sore and painful but we shall see. Hang in there cause i'm told this is a loong recovery. Could take a full year for the bones to fuse solid.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 160
    Thanks. Im 50 years old and very active. This fusion has put me to a stop. I would like to here from some others that are more along and how they are dealing with it. I have a very hard job as a carpenter, Lifting, climbing, Up and down on knees. Love to jet ski and boat. And work around and on my house. But what I see and read, That could all change.
    Greg fisher
  • Like you I have a hard job as well, I'm a sheet metal worker. I work for HVAC contractors installing ductwork in commercial/industrial buildings. Very physically demanding job. I'm also very active riding motocross and working on and around my house. Unfortunately motocross is what caused this and is done for me now. Have you asked your doctor what your prognosis is as far as being able to return to your job? I saw my doc almost 3 weeks ago and asked him about being able to return to my line of work after all of this and he gave me the worst news I could have received. He said "you COULD go back to it but you SHOULDN'T go back to it" He said my back wont last another 20 years in the trade and I could also risk displacing the hardware that he put in there. This news has devastated me tremendously. I'm 12 years into this trade, did a 5 year apprenticeship and busted my butt to make really good money and now I cant do it anymore. To make things worse I have no college degree to fall back on or any kind of good work experience/training to get a new job that pays good enough to pay all my bills and mortgage. I have no idea what I"m going to do now and how I"m going to keep my house. Sorry for the non positive news but just making you aware there's a real good chance you're gonna have to change careers like I have to. Good luck to you and hope you're pain is decreasing.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • Hi guys,
    Just reading your comments above. I am 3 weeks after surgery and home not doing much but taking pain meds. I run my own signage business with my wife we specialise in car "wrapping",quite physical work and getting into awkward positions and you are buggered after a days work. I to am worried about how I will go back, my surgeon thinks I will be fine if I adhere to the rehab and she stressed about strengthening my core and stomach muscles,I just will be slower in my work than before if all goes well and my techniques will have to change. I am worried about work as it is my only skill as you said above I finished school, did my apprenticeship for 4 years, worked for various company's before going out on my own, it's all I know. I have even been doing small tests of my own at home which may be naughty of me like bending into positions I would at work and handling tools etc, I can't at the moment do this but I am confident I will be able to. I do think if I keep fit and positive and implement these core exercises into my life as a habit I do everyday I will be ok, just a little slower.
    I have not found on any forums anyone who has had 12 levels like me so it has been hard finding info but after 3 weeks, I feel ok. I am not doing much but pain is under control with meds & I honestly think I will be fine when recovered, after all I had this surgery to be fixed of my issues so that is a positive to start with , it's tough and boring and slow and painful and uncomfortable now, but I think I will be working in my trade in March, I am sure of it.
    Good luck to you Brian and Greg, feel free to contact me or continue the thread as I am hungry for info and happy to share mine also!
    Cheers nick
  • Brian247BBrian247 Posts: 41
    edited 12/30/2014 - 6:44 AM
    Returning to work in March is a pretty ambitious goal for only being 3 weeks out of 12 level fusion but I hope for nothing but the best for you. My doc told me that IF I attempt to go back to my job that I should give it a full year of healing/fusion before I do that. I do ALOT of heavy lifting, bending and twisting. That puts me at the end of next September before I try and go back. I really want to try as I've put soo much hard work into it already and dont want to give up on it. It's provided me the things I've wanted and a good living so far not having to live paycheck to paycheck. I wouldn't say I love the job but I do like what I do. I like working with my hands and creating something. After I do a job its cool to stand back and look at it and say " I did that, I installed that". Its been hard enough having to come to terms with not being able to ride motocross anymore after doing it almost every weekend for the last 18 years. Now I have to accept my career may be over as well? All this down time is eating at me and not helping my mental state.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • Hey Brian,
    Mate i hear you about work, so very similar. I worked my ass off to start a small business that provides well for myself & my family & it is all i know. I bend & twist & push & pull all day & love working with my hands & love after the install seeing the finished job. I get everything you said previous post. Yeah March is pretty ambitious but i dont know, i think at least my goal is to do sort of half days at first to see how i feel. My doc also said a year till im fully healed also, but was quite ok when i said i wanted to go back to work early, she just said NO heavy lifting at all & take it easy & listen to my body.
    I think Brian if we do our re hab & strenghthen the weak parts of our body we can get back, maybe we wont be as quick on the job but we can be back to our chosen careers i really have no doubt, honestly.
    It really does suck now all the downtime i know, so boring & mundane it does get to you im learning that.
    But each day i feel a bit better, i do then have hours or a day where i feel worse but just have to roll with it.
    Good luck Brian, it's too early for us to give up yet! We just have to chip away & stay positive :)
  • Evsolutions said:
    Good luck Brian, it's too early for us to give up yet! We just have to chip away & stay positive :)
    Exactly how I feel Nick, it's too damn early for me to have to give up my career that I worked soo hard for. I want to be positive but its tough. When I was working the days would drag and I couldnt wait for the work day to be over so I could just go home and relax. Now that i'm laying around all day not doing much of anything it seems like the days are flying by in the blink of an eye. I feel like my life is just flashing by and I can't do anything about it. It's nice to be able to talk to people, such as yourself, with similiar issues. It makes me feel not so alone, even though I live alone. I see my doc again next tuesday for another round of xrays and checkup. Hoping for a step forward by him telling me I can stop wearing my brace. We shall see though. Happy New Years, hope its a better one for us all.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
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