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Sternum graft

I just got a call back from my neurosurgeon's office setting up my pre-op appointment at the hospital (Monday) and since I had asked what kind of graft, I found out - it will be autologous, from the sternum. Apparently, the sternum has a good blood supply, so from that side I'm glad of it. But I was wondering how it feels in the post-op/healing stage. Anyone have experience with it?

(C5-6 fusion, in case that matters.)

Thanks. Linda


  • SongJinSSongJin Arizona Posts: 259
    edited 01/22/2016 - 5:46 PM
    I haven't been through a fusion, so I can't comment about bone-graft pain, but I just think it's so weird that you had to ask for that information! As I've been going through my surgery consultation process (also for C5-6), I'm just astounded by how little people tell you about what they're actually planning to do to your body. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd say shaving some bone off my sternum is kind of a big deal--you'd think they would have told you that part up front without you having to ask about it!
  • Well, yeah. Physicians assistants and nurse practitioners tend to be much better about giving you info, but doctors? A few rare ones are good that way, but I've had so many that it was like pulling teeth. Heck, although I like this doctor (and was referred to him by a shoulder doctor that I trust to give me a good referral) that appointment last week he didn't even mention the word fusion! (It was in the paperwork they sent home with me.) Thank goodness I am good at research, and was able to get the office staff to give me more input.

    Pretty sure the nurse I will see at the pre-op appointment will be fairly informative, too. (And I was surprised to find out they will be giving me an EKG, since I haven't had one in the last six months. (I never had that for my shoulder surgeries, which is why I was surprised. But then, maybe I'm either enough older or this is enough more major a surgery.)

    Ah, well. In a little over a week, I will know. ;-)
  • In case anyone is pawing around for info - the surgery went well (was "boring" according to the surgeon; I think I prefer boring to exciting and treacherous!), and the graft location really wasn't a huge problem. I do feel some pain now with the other (shoulder and arm) pain quieter, but it really isn't bad. So life is good. :-)
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Very glad to hear how well you are doing post op!
    And I so agree, boring can be great!  :)
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724

     Hey Linda...

    That is great to hear... boring is fabulous!!!! 

    I'm going to have to remember that next time I talk to my doctor.

    Hey doc.... "I want a boring surgery". :)

    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
  • LOL

    Come to think of it, a boring life sounds pretty good, too... :-)
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