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Fusion xrays

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone, I went to my first post-op appt yesterday at 13 days post L4-5 PLIF. My surgeon thinks I am doing well and all is on track with recovery. Says my hip/back/leg pain is normal recovery of nerves and position on table. Anyways he ordered xrays in 6 weeks prior to my next appt to check for fusion. It seems so far away, I thought I'd be getting xrays sooner. So, just wondering when all you fusion lumbies had your first xrays to look for signs of fusion? I had PLIF with Bak Peek cage, titanium rods and screws, my own bone, donor bone, and bmp. Thanks, Sue


  • Hi, just wanted to weigh in to tell you that my first set of films was at 6 weeks. This appears to be protocol, since the grafting needs this amount of time at a minimum to show signs of healing on the X-rays. I had 3-level fusion with donor bone, etc., as well. Sounds like things are progressing well - great!
  • I had a CT and spine XRays 8 weeks after surgery.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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  • Thanks for the replies, I guess the 8 week x-rays are about on track. I think it is just starting to hit me how long of a process this will be. My surgeon said we are gonna see alot of each other over the next 2 years. I am hoping to be back to work at 12 weeks at most. They technically don't have to hold my job longer than that, but I have seen it done for others, including my manager recently after a bypass surgery, so they had a better! My sis who was helping me has gone back to work and my teenagers will go back to school next week, so looks like I need to find some things to fill my time. 8> Sue
  • My first x-rays were at 2 weeks but that was to check positioning of all the hardware. I go for my first flex./extention x-rays next week which will be a few days before my 8 week mark.

    I guess it is nornal?

    It is a long process.... :W
  • I had xrays taken at my 6 week appt. He was able to see the beginning of a fusion.
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  • Like Inafix, I had my first x-rays at 2 weeks, but only to check if all the hardware was in the right position. At 6 weeks I had another one and also at 3 months. This last x-ray showed the first signs of new bone growth. But that changes from one person to another, some fuse as early as 6 weeks (rare) some 6 months - 2 year. Apparently fusion can continue up to two years.

  • I had Xrays in the OR with something called the O-arm to check placement, so I guess none are needed until time to assess fusion, and sounds like 6-8 weeks is the norm from what everyone is saying. Thanks for all the replies, I'll just try to be patient. A couple times I have felt a pop in my low back when getting in and out of bed, etc. Kinda freaky as I had an unstable L4 that would creak and crack and was moving all around. Just hope it isn't my hardware. It doesn't hurt or anything so hopefully all is well.
  • :H
    Hope it goes OK.

    I guess it is a standard protocol but different places seem to offer slight variations.

    Having read around, fusion is not really expected for up to a year so be very patient and happy healing. x
  • I had the first done 1 week in hospital to check hardware etc then at 6 weeks the first 'real' x-rays. Then at 12 weeks I had a CT scan but that was because I was experiencing more pain. The O/S could see the beginnings of the fusion and wants another CT scan at 6 months when he said he expects to see the fusion coming along nicely. He did say that it can take a long time to fuse completely.
    I will also see him at 18 weeks but no scan unless no improvement (and there has been).
    Yep it is a long, long journey and it will really benifit you to have a few things to keep you occupied. I am currently doing jigsaw puzzles- I got a whole lot of thick phone books to put on the table and raise the height so I dont have to bend over the table. Just have to watch the neck and remember to rub it occassionally.
    But something that you have been wanting to do for ages, sewing, craft work, arranging photos, visiting nurserys. It is easier if you have the day planed before bed.

  • I do have a list of things I want to accomplish during this "vacation". I want to transfer my old home videos to dvd (have to figure out new machine), sort photographs, go through lots of boxes of junk in the garage (I'll get my son to bring them in to table one at a time), shred lots of old papers with my name on them, read, maybe sew or learn to quilt, etc. I just have to get motivated to get started somewhere. Thanks for the suggestions, Sue
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