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Fusion...Blood donation and back brace

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm now scheduled to have my fusion L4/5 L5/S1 on September 25th. They are asking me for a blood donation. Anyone have to do that?? How many of you needed your blood for a transfusion??
Also, my doc never mentioned a back brace of any sort for after the surgery. I'm reading that a lot of you have had to wear one. Is there a reason for not having it versus having it??? I think I might want one, should I ask for it?? Does it make a real difference?

Thanks!
Kim
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134

Comments

  • I considered giving my own blood pre-op, but the nurses I asked were so wishy-washy about it and not helpful so I did not push the issue and ended up not doing it.

    I ended up needing 2 units in my second surgery - it would have been really nice if I had followed through on the pre-op end of things.
  • kim- I would ask the drs office how often they have had to transfuse during fusion surgery. It may depend on the surgeon.

    An autologous unit of blood is the safest blood that you can receive. You may want to call your local blood center as they usually have rules and will most likely need a prescription from the dr allowing the autologous donation.

    The blood bank may also set up appointments for autologous donations to ensure they are staffed properly and are ready for any health challenged person..... :))) jade
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  • My blood donation is going to be at the hospital where I am having my surgery. It's part of the pre-op stuff that I have to do before my surgery. I am assuming that this is part of the procedure and is covered by my insurance, but then again...we should never "ass"ume!!!! LOL! :))(
    I guess I am glad that they are having me donate blood, it could be worse!!
    Thanks!
    Kim
  • My husband had 4 level fusion in July L1 down and had to give 2 pints. It made us feel better, just in case. And yes he got a back brace 2 weeks later. The Dr had not said anything about it but the day they took his staples out the Dr sent us straight over to get my husband measured for it.
  • Wow, you have been though a lot, I am so sorry you have to go through fusion too.

    I was fitted 2 weeks before surgery for my custom brace. I'm 6 weeks 4 days out and still in it. I hate it and love it at the same time. It is a lot of work but it helps me with my posture and helps me feel safe when I am up and about.


    As for the auto blood, I had to start donating 3 weeks before my surgery. I did mine through the Red Cross, they were fantastic. I went again about a week before my surgery for a total of 2 units. I really didn't expect to need the blood but got both units back. I knew at the second appointment that my hematocrit was falling and I might need *some*. The phlebotomists told me to eat cream of wheat, it has like 45% of the iron you need a day per serving. I did but still ended up needing it. My husband said they had it going in the recovery room, but I don't remember...

    I hope things go well for you. We all know just how you are feeling.
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  • Hi Kim, I am 11 weeks post-op and I did not give any blood, it was never brought up and thankfully I did not need it. It sounds like maybe a good idea though. As far as the back brace I asked my doctor before surgery and he said don't worry about it you will be fitted in the hospital. Sure enough the physical therapist at the hospital came in a couple days after surgery and made sure it fit. Mine was only about 10 inches in front and 2 feet across back and had velcro closures, very easy to take off and on and only weighed 2 lbs. At my 6 week check up which was more like 7 weeks doctor told me to start weaning off brace and when I felt comfortable without it I could drive. A week later it was retired. You are having the same levels as I had, and just want you to know I am feeling really good. It is a slow recovery but I have not had pain since the obvious first couple weeks(and that was relieved by medication). I know everyone is different, but listen to your doctor and more important listen to your body. Ask as many questions as you can write down at your pre-op so you go in feeling like you are prepared for everything even if it seems stupid. I wish you great success!
  • I have spent several months meeting with surgeons (3 orthos, 2 neuros) about my condition and lumbar fusion surgery. I am now scheduled for surgery in October.

    I've asked every surgeon I've met about donating my own blood prior to surgery, because I think it's a good idea. All have said I could, but the surgeon I'm going with actually said they insist that I donate my own (I liked that). I will donate 2 units 2-3 weeks prior to surgery. I will use the Bonfils Blood Center, which is a blood bank for the Rocky Mountain region. When I was speaking with Bonfils about the donation, the rep said I should check with my insurance about coverage. Apparently some insurance plans cover it and some don't. She mentioned that some will only cover the donation charges if your blood actually gets used on you in surgery or post-op. Bonfils bills through the hospital, which then submits charges to insurance, and I don't know if that makes a difference. But, my surgeon's scheduler/assistant said she'd never heard of insurance not covering it.

    I've also asked all the surgeons about a back brace. One said no, I wouldn't need one; one said he'd definitely want me in a hard brace & I'd be fitted for it before surgery. Others said maybe. The surgeon I've picked said I'd probably be in a corset for a while, not a hard brace, but he wouldn't decide what brace, if any, to prescribe until after surgery, based on what actually got done and how it went (e.g., how much slip reduction was achieved, how much fusion surface area was attained, what my bones seem like, what kind of instrumentation had to be used...). If I need a hard brace, I'd get fitted for it before leaving the hospital. I would certainly ask about a brace, especially if you think you might overdo things without one (which I'm probably prone to do).
  • Good luck on your upcoming surgery. I did not donate blood ahead as was never mentioned by my NS. Luckily I didn't require any, although they never even drew my blood to check my H/H after surgery. My drain was putting out lots of red fluid for 2 days post-op, but I was told it was normal. I am a nurse and I have never seen as much fluid coming out of my patients, but I haven't taken care of spine patients before either. I asked about checking my blood and the nurses said we'll leave the doctor a note, and that is the last I heard of it. I took iron prophylactically before surgery but stopped after when the constipation set in. As for the brace, my surgeon sent me a prescripton for a TLSO pre-op and I had to go to Hanger Orthotics to get it fitted. It was quite interesting as the technician made me a "mermaid dress" out of stockinette that I had to put on over my underclothes. He then took like a thousand measurements and asked my bra size. I now am the proud owner of a TLSO, ie "Zena Warrior Princess" brace. It even came with extra cleavage to boot =)) =))
  • SWEET. I want a cleavage brace.
  • lo first ur to funny i want one to! :))( :))(

    They wanted me to do my own blood I said no. Insurance wouldnt' cover it, and it was hard enough finding a vein in me anyway. I never ended up needing any in surgery. I forget the price per unit.

    My ortho does not like braces afterwards. His thought is your not using any core strength. Also your fused with hardware so that pretty much is your brace.
    So goes to show you that all Drs. think different.

    Like I said in a previous post about upcoming surgery I had one here before surgery just a waist one w/ strings. Waist level. I used it once inawhile when we walked outside or on a car trip.

    GOOD LUCK HUN >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
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