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Post Surgical Body Brace/Stairs?

CRASH21CCRASH21 Posts: 139
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone. I am scheduled to have ALIF on L-5-S1 soon. I am curious about the brace I am going to have to wear for several months. I would appreciate any suggestions like the appropriate clothing to wear with it. Also, how bad off will I be after surgery. Will I be able to climb stairs? I hate the thought of sleeping in the family room. Any advise for preparations will be greatly appreciated.


  • Stairs, should be no problem, everyone is different but for the most part they are fine. I was good with 6 stairs when I came home. Within the week I felt good about doing a flight of steps on my own. You may want to avoid steps when you are home alone, just till you feel more comfortable.

    The brace a good number of people have is a hard TSLO AKA-clam shell, turtle shell or Madonna Suit as my kids call it. But every doctor has a different variety they like to use. In my case the orthotist came to my room before surgery to measure me for a custom fit brace, my brace was delivered the next day before I got up. Some sit below the breast, while others go up higher. They provided me with 2 ugly knit shirts, these were $40 each and not covered by insurance. A good tight fitting tank top does just the same thing I have found. I must always wear a bra when I have the brace on, or things tend to rub,Ouch. I got used to the brace pretty quickly, I have had it now for 8 weeks. I will have mine till at least 14 weeks, but some people get rid of theirs as early as 6 weeks I am seeing. Just depends on the doctor.

    Check out the recovery threads, they tell so much about the wide array of recoveries, no one is the same.

    Take Care,

  • Thanks for your response. I will be in a clam-shell type of brace with a part of it that wraps around one leg. What does the part that wraps around the leg do? I will be wearing this brace for 3 months. I will be out of my cervical collar for 1 week prior to ALIF and a body brace. Yes, its nuts! So, I know my limitations for cervical surgery. I know lumbar will be much more limiting. Please let me in on anything I should be prepared for.
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  • brace that wraps on the leg :B :B :B :B :B
    you will have to wait and see when you come home what your limitations will be.
    i did not have a brace and had to ask for one at my 4 wk appt. GHHESSH he goes "oh you should of been wearing one anyway" HUH WHAT COME AGAIN :jawdrop:

    i only have a waist one.
    i slept on the couch for the first 3 nights. it became to uncomfy and migrated to upstairs. kept all my things up there.
    commode, meds, water, laptop, phone , grabber, LOTS OF PILLOWS.
    some people have a hard time with stairs. i was fine.
    i was comfy downstairs when i came home so that i did not have to walk down etc in the morning with meds in me, as i already had 2 falls down the stairs in 06 because of meds. UGGGHHH.
    plus when you come home you want all the anthesia and IV meds to get out of your system.
    i personally have a very high tolerence to meds. hubby got me home that day, had the couch piled high with quilts etc. pillows, and i fell asleep within 15 minutes and my inlawas were here. i don't even remember =)) did not mean to be rude to them =)) but you don't realize how doped up you still are when you arive home 8}

    as for clothes loose baggy T's are the best .
    you will get used to the brace and then get frustrated just ask shell :D :D :D

    good luck crash on your surgery you will do just fine .. i hope it takes care of your pain!!!!

    O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:)
    p.s. yes im rambling, coffee, and percs well im a mouthy one image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> =)) =))
  • A typical TSLO doesnt go around the leg. Maybe someone will come along that has had a similiar brace.

    Typically, I have seen the brace that wraps around the leg in people who have hip surgery, It has the TSLO look and a metal bar going down to a thermoplastic cuff around the thigh. It is used to restrict people from bending at the hips for more than 90 degrees, leg crossing the body and their leg from rotating outwards. These usually have some sort of adjustable dial to limit/allow ROM at the hit. Do you have hip involvement?

    OMG, you sound like you have gone thru alot. You also refered to a body brace, OUCH. Sorry couldnt really answer your question.

  • Sept 07 I had a TLIF @ L4/5. I was expecting one of the Turtle Shell type braces. At the hospital they gave me one of the elastic corsett type braces. Doc claimed that was all I needed. I wore it most of the time except when showering for 3 months. The compression felt great. =D>

    In a couple of weeks I'm having a 360 in the same area. Once again the doc is only give me the elastic brace. He said they only use the hard shell braces for 2 or more levels and use the elastic ones on single level fusions. B)
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  • Leave it to me to find the most conservative group of surgeons out there. I have worn my cervical for 3 months 24/7 and will be wearing my TLSO with the leg thing for 3 months too. No, I do not have hip problems. I guess the thing around the leg restricts movement even more. My surgeon is well know so I guess I have to go along with whatever he says. Certainly not looking forward to surgery again. The lumbar surgery, I assume will be worse because my hospital stay will be much longer too. My doc says the brace must be worn tight to the body, however; I have seen people wearing theirs over thick clothes like sweaters and jeans. I thought I had to wear it over tight clothes like cami's and leggins. Anyone?
  • Your doctor may have some other reason for the leg part, but I just dont know. I have worked in acute rehab and only seen it used for other things.

    The brace can shift alot if you put it over bulky clothing. You do want it very snug, so it can do its job. When I was first fitted for the brace I was convinced I was going to suffocate from not being able to breath in deeply. You also dont really want to put anything under it that would cause irritation to your scar area. I occasionally put my jeans under the brace (at about 6 weeks, most of the time I am in sweats over the brace. Always with the tank top next to my skin. Any questions just ask!

    Take care,
  • I wore my TLSO brace over a tank top and knit exercise pants. It doesn't feel good to put it over anything with buttons,etc. It seems hot and annoying, but when it is time to give it up, you do miss it helping hold up all those sore muscles. Good-luck crash with your surgery. I am surprised they are doing them so close together. Take care, Sue
  • Thanks for your reply. I have to go out and buy a bunch of cami's I guess. I am not looking forward to having the second surgery just 3 months later but I am hoping to save some money will all my deductibles by having it done in the same calendar year. My NS can see how bad my lumbar spine is and wants to get it done quickly too.
  • I had an ALIF/PLIF on Sept 26, and I have worn a velcro brace since the surgery, and have to for another month or so. I wear anything and everything with it. Hoodies, over or under, either one works, tshirts, sweaters, everything. It's never any problem. Sweat pants, jeans, etc... It has never limited what I wore. Stairs have never limited me either. You should be fine. I wouldn't worry too much :) Sleep in your bed, if possible! You'll feel better there, anyway :)
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