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6 months post surgery and have some questions regarding healing of lumbar fusion

I had surgey and the neuronsurgeon made an incision in the front of my body, near my abs after I fractured my L1-L4 in my Lower back in April from a 2 story fall and had surgery around the same time. I had one follow up with my neurosurgeon and my insurance is making it ridiculously hard to get a follow up with a neurosurgeon that is contracted by my insurance. So I have a few questions regarding my lower back surgery.

I smoke cigarettes, I didn't know that nicotine effected bone fusions until 3 months post op, from my own research on this site. I cut down and switches vaping electronic cigs making a 1.5 mg strength 30 ml bottle last 2 weeks. I am 26 and have heard so many different things regarding nicotine. Does it just slow down the healing process? I read somewhere that nicotine won't effect younger people as much as someone who is older who has had a fusion.

And for my lastt question can you feel the bone that is growing around my titanium rods and screws? Like is the bone that is growing able to be felt from pushing and feeling your bone with your hand? I am worried that my fusion is not fusing due to my insurance making it really hard to get and mri/ct scan to get a bone stimulator. And all I can do is feel my lower back with my hand and I feel lots of bone in the lower back.. I take calcium 3x a day due to nicotine making you lose nutrients..

If I run my hand down my spine in the middle in between the 2 bones; I can feel bone until I get to the lower part of my back. I am unsure which part of back is growing or healing. Is it what I am feeling in the middle of my bones or is it the bones on the outside of the middle bone that runs down the spine that's fusing?

-had lumbar fusion in april
-can you feel the bones that are fusing by running your hand down my spine?
-which part is exactly fusing? The middle bone running down my spine or the 2 columns of bones? I can feel bone running down my spine till I get towards the bottom then you don't really feel anything else except for a small bump then nothing.


  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 497
    Sorry to hear you're struggling with the fusion, and smoking. I quit hundreds of times, but my last one was over 30 years ago, and I don't miss it like I thought I would.

    I went through stages of quitting, trying different techniques. Cold turkey was insane, those lil sticks were like a best friend! Then I tried cutting down, and only smoking in certain places or times. Then there were the warm bath soaks, the just holding on to it unlit, then switching to straws and cinnimon sticks, and chewing gum. I just didn't quit quitting.

    I then started dreaming about it....I would have gone a good stretch of going without (in dream), then I'd smoke....and in my dream I was so disappointed that I gave in to the desire, that when I did wake up I was practically depressed over it. So the next time the desire to get buddy buddy with that lil friend again, that feeling of being disappointed in myself would kill the desire; regrets to me are something I'd rather not experience. And the longer I went without smoking, the easier it got. No regrets.

    When you said about feeling your back, I can't really tell on my L4-5 fusion either. Mine is still tender after seven months, and even painful below fusion, but I have yet to hear results of last weeks X-rays that have been sitting in my Dr's office. Frustrating. I know the fusion had started, and showed on my three month X-rays, but I think the disk below fusion is causing pain....not full blown sciatica, but something isn't right in that area.

    Hope you get some answers soon too, and prayers about giving up them lil sticks ; )
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 732
    On your fusion the bone growth that should be taking place is in the FRONT part of your spine in between the lumbar... so you are not going to be able to feel the growth by running your hand down your back. Also the bone is not meant to grow around the rods and screws... Go look at some of the videos/pictures on this site or elsewhere and you should be able to understand it better.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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