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When should you see fusion starting?

Shell74Shell74 Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know that this is an nearly impossible question to answer because every procedure is different and every person heals differently. There are so many variables. I am just hoping to get some personal experiences.

Just wondering when a patient should become concerned? When should you ask for a bone growth stimulator? Should I expect anything to show at my 6 week appointment? My fusion was done with donor bone, hardware and my bone marrow. I just want to be prepared for my appointment.

My daughter had a complete tib-fib fracture when she was hit by a car, she had rods inserted thru the center of the bones and had new bone growth within 3 weeks. Kids are so different and growth is quick. I know I shouldnt compare,I just cant help it,lol.



  • I want to know too-I go for my first xray (since being out of the hospital) next week and I will be crushed if I do not see some growth!! I will be 7 weeks post op then. They used donor bone,bone from my hip, bone from my spine and bone putty......lots and lots of bone. I really want to see some growth next week! Good luck 2 u!
  • I go next week..will be 8 weeks. i had donor graft, instrumentation and fusion. I am hoping it is good
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  • Hi everyone! Patience is the key here. I was very worried when at 8 weeks post op I wasn't fusing. I was told it could take 6 to 12 months to start fusing. I myself was very worried. At my 5 month dr. appointment I finally had some fusion going on. So hang in there and try not to worry. Remember that every body is different.
  • are your activities still limited when the x-ray shows no/little fusion? I am assuming that is the way it should be!
  • I will come home with a bone stimulator from the hospital. I thought everyone did? Also, smoking causes a reduction in bone fusion, nicotine is deadly to bone cells. Just a thought, not saying anyone does.
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  • no bone stimulator for me-never heard of it except for on these boards. I was wondering about limitations until bone growth too. Anyone know?
  • This is the big question, when will we fuse? Although there are a lot of individual differences, on the average fusion takes place between 6 weeks - 1 year (I have even read that up to two years is normal.) There is some confusion about what constitutes fusion, when the x-ray detects the first sign of new bone growth or when the spine is completely fused. When I asked my OS on the -week visit if I am fusing yet he just laughed, he said it takes longer than that, be patient. At three month, I finally had shown that I have began to fuse. The OS said it starts from the bottom (S1-L5) area for me and works itself up to the higher level (L3 in my case). I will see what happens my next visit in October (5 months post fusion).

    As far as the bone fusion stimulator, I had one implanted at the time of the surgery. The electrodes sit on the bone graft site, the small battery pack is just under my skin right of the incision. I am barely aware of it. The battery will be dead in six months, then the OS can remove it at the outpatient's clinic, or I can just keep it (forever?)

  • They are disposable, everything out and throwed away is what my SS told me. Seems for 3800 hundred, they would find a way to recycle, lol.
  • Hi Everyone:

    I had a TLIF fusion about a year ago, I fused in six weeks. I don't smoke and I am in good health. They say no BLT before you are fused...that is, no bending, lifting, or twisting. Healing from back surgery is a slow process, my doctor told me it can take up to two years. Even though I fused quickly, I am still recovering.

  • I have my first xray on 9/26/08 and then see the surgeon on 9/29/08, almost 8 weeks out. I have a Bone growth stimulator too, it is external, I use it for 30 minutes a day. My NS gives them to all his fusion patients. I too am wondering if fusion is required to be showing for him to lift the no BLT restrictions and also for returning to work. I got my op report today, and there is so much stuff in there, surely there will be some fusion going on ;)
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