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How long did it take YOU to fuse fully?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hmmm, my NS says everything looks good after my CT myelo, but he also said there is a lot of resorbing of the bone, and no fusion so far... he said it will take 1-2 years to fuse fully, yet at 5 months, nothing, in fact I am LOSING bone? I don't get it. He didn't even look at the cervical CT/Myelo, but I did ask him, and he said that there is no impingement, yet what I read said there is (mild, but he said there was none) He didn't say anything about the hypertrophy or the osteophytes in my neck. What's my next move? I will lose my insurance before I even go back to see him again in 6 months. He also said "pray" when I asked what about the numbness over my hip... in other words, he sees nothing so nothing's wrong.... I'm so frustrated!

Now my questions:
How long did it take for you to start fusing?
Did you find that you lost a lot of bone before gaining any?

Thanks for any input~


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    Kat, I dont think there is any formula for the time frame for bones to start to fuse and completely fuse.
    We had some members here that within 6 weeks their lumbar fusion was well on its way and after 6 months they were basically completely fused.
    There are so many variables... The doctor, the extent of the medical problem, the degree of fusion, what material was used to fuse.
    For my ACDF's I found out that I fused about 4 months ahead of others with the same surgery. I was fortunate enough to have some data details with several doctors and to the tee, those with their own bone, fused sooner and without any problems. But the data also suggested that other grafts (cadaver or artificial) might take longer, but it was stronger and almost complete sooner than natural bone.
    But I have not heard of the reabsorbing your doctor described.
    I would contact your insurance company as soon as possible and explain this situation. With instances that do not go as planned or as the insurance books say, there is always room for extended coverage
    Good luck
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks Ron, and I looked it up, it's normal for resorbing and rebuilding, but nowhere could I find anything about losing so much bone before any bone began to form. I've read that the fusion material gets resorbed as new bone forms, together, at the same time....

    I want to trust my doctor, but he only seems to care if anything is wrong with me if it has to do with my nerves.

    I've read here that most people were told to not use ibuprofen after fusion. I was told I could. I will be extremely angry if that is the underlying problem, because now I have to wait so much longer to be fully functional again (i.e., able to exercise with vengeance, lift heavy stuff.)

    I put the picture up from my ct that shows the "hole" in the lower l5 vertebra, it also shows I'm still slipped forward, don't they fix that?
    Ok, I am going on again, sorry...

    I would still like the info as to when others fused, please!
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  • for everyone. I just had my six month post-op appointment and, though I'm not totally fused, my doc says I'm nearly there. I don't take NSAIDs of any sort. I've been taking percocet for pain ever since I fell and ruptured my discs. I don't take it all the time, but when I need something, that's what I take. In my situation, I'll never lift anything really heavy again. Just a fact of life, but I'm beginning to feel somewhat normal again.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
    edited 08/27/2013 - 7:09 AM
    Linda, so sorry you have such problems. I am feeling so good (pain-wise) that I really feel stupid in asking about fusions, but I did some more research:

    from http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/307979.html :
    Graft resorption refers to the degradation of surgically placed
    material that was intended to reconstruct a defect. Graft resorption
    is a complication of some discectomy and fusion techniques.

    “Bone resorption defects in the vertebral bodies next to the intervertebral space where BMP was used were noted in 69% of the study group”

    am I just looking for problems now, or should I get another opinion?
  • Hi kat, everybody. :)
    I was involved in a car wreck june 3 2006 causing and slipped and fractured vertebrae with low back, pelvic and right leg pain. I had a posterior fusion, laminectomy and removal of bone fragments on l5 s1, along with a laminotomy on l4 and s1. I continued to have some right leg pain and numbness of the outside of my right foot. Doc said the numbness might not ever go away and the right leg pain would take a while due to nerves healing.
    2.5 years later I was still having right leg pain that now was severe and debilitating. On 40 of oxycontin every 8 and also percocet, 1800 of neurontin. I had moved to a new state so had a new surgeon who ran the gambit of tests on me and finally the ct myelo showed some halos around the screws suggesting non fusion.
    I was schedualed for surgery on april 30th, and the surgeon said I wqas completely not fused at all except for scar tissue. He had to scrape scar tissue from the old fusion site along with from the nerves themselves. He said I was a mess with tethered and "hammered" nerves, mainly l4 s1 and bladder. He refused me with hardware and bmp and also extended the fusion up a level to l4 l5. Now I'm fused l4 through s1.
    1 month after surgery and I'm still using a walker and still in some pain and discomfort but it is getting better. I'm no longer needing as many straight caths for my bladder so that is good too. I have weaned down my oxycontin to 30 thre times a day. Ut I'm not sure if I'm weaning to slow?, any thoughts??? I've been on oxy since october 08. I am however having a good deal amount of pain on my lower right leg into my foot which is partly where my right leg pain was prior to surg. The surgeon says that it will take some time to heal and gave me 3 to 4 months for fusion to take place.

    Please everyone keep your heads up as I am trying to do with mine. I'm 29 and feel likew my life has been taken from me. Half of my 20s have been in pain and suffering but I am trying to smile. I found this site and just to see how many of "us" are out there helps me greatly.
    See y'all soon. :)
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  • Hi,
    I was also not fused after 2 years at L4L5, 2 screws were lose and the allograft bone transplantation was not working at all. My Neurosurg told me one of the factors were most likely: 1.The used allograft (cadaver) bone which give less results due to the fact that it is dead material (no gen-cells were in) and 2. I used a lot Diclofenac (NSAID) which is a anti-inflammatory drug and delay the bone grow since bone grow is an inflammatory reaction of the body.
    Now I had my revision and the NS used autograft bone(my one bone) and I am not allowed to use any NSAID's (diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Celebrex, etc.) Further do not smoke!! And take calcium tablets and eat and drink a lot of Yohurt, milk, cheese, meat, but in general eat healthy and variable.

    Take care, Renos.

  • I've had 4 fusion surgeries and I am very lucky,each one has fused completely. My 2 level PLIF was completely fused at 1 year. My recent cervical fusion was complete at 4 months. I am one of the lucky ones. I also do PT excersizes daily and walk 5 times a week. Good luck to you, try to be patient. After 1 year's time I felt so much better than I did at 6 months. Take walks if you can! I think it really helps the healing process.
    Faith M
  • FetbuzzyFFetbuzzy Posts: 3
    edited 09/01/2013 - 5:50 PM
    I just returned from my three month checkup yesterday and I am fully fused already. My surgeon was quite shocked! He even checked to be sure they were the right X-rays (taken that day) because he couldn't believe what he was seeing. I am very blessed indeed. I have cadaver discs in there and he did fine work ). I took no NSAIDs at all the whole time and I ate 2 or 3 gummy calciums daily. I also walked and tried to eat well and a lot of people prayed for good healing. I'm very thankful the combination worked well. I'm 48 yr old female.

    Post edited to remove specific doctor's name. Please read the Forum rules
    Carol 48
    High impact car accident 9/16/11 hern 2 discs and found degen at 3rd.
    4/3/13 had 3 level acdf 4/5 5/6 6/7 w/cadaver and instrumentation Dr. Albert in Philly
    Fully fused in 3 months, and back out on the bike! Crazeeee!
  • Logan43LLogan43 Posts: 17
    edited 09/01/2013 - 5:51 PM
    Hey Fetbuzzy,

    I am getting my surgery done at EDITED TO REMOVE FACILITY NAME next week. Mine is being done by Dr. XYZ. How was the the surgical care post surgery?


    Post edited to remove specific doctor's name. Please read the Forum rules
  • Hello!

    I had an L5/S1 MIS TLIF on 5/1/13 and so far all I've had done is X-rays and he is not ordering a CT scan until a year after surgery to check the process of the fusion! I'm hoping that I get good news, but he says all looks well as far as my mobility, as well as the placement of the hardware!

    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
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