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5 weeks 2level alif and no bone growth yet?

weavemanwweaveman Posts: 61
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
went to the doctor for a checkup 5 weeks after the surgery. He said the xrays showed the hardware was solid. I asked him if he could see any bone growth yet, and he claimed it will probably be another 3 months before we see any. Does this sound right? I've heard of people being fused in 3 months, let alone just starting to see bone growth. It was a 2 level alif with hardware from the back L4-s1.


  • Do you have your xrays on cd so we can see them?

    Here's mine 2 years post-op:


    I'm no doctor but I don't think there is fusion shown.
  • I had the same levels fused in Dec of 2008. It was a PLIF. I can tell you that at 5 weeks I had no sign of fusing yet. It took I think about 4 months before it was obvious that there was fusing occuring. So please try to be paitient. It takes time and you are really early in your recovery.
    I am approaching 4 weeks tomm from my 2nd fusion. I am not worried about it. I know when I go in at 6 weeks, I dont expect to see any signs of fusing yet. I just want to make sure hardware is in place right now. Hang in there and let me know if I can answer any questions..
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  • Are they going to do something different for you to promote a fusion, rod65?

    I haven't figured out how to be able to post pics on a website and then link to them yet, but I may need to soon. I've got 2 levels that do look like that, and actually the cage at L4-L5 is crooked and according to the doc was a little smaller than he wanted to put in there. So now it looks like it settled in the vertebrae, but isn't. That and I have 6 screws and 2 rods that show up.
  • I'm guessing we are almost neighbors. I live in illinois now, but I'm from gilmore city IA. Fort Dodge is probably the closest thing to a city out home.

    Anyways, so nothing showed up on xrays for 4 months? I guess I assumed I would see the bone growth between the vertebrae start appearing, if definitely not connected. He used cages that can't be seen by xrays and BMP, so I guess I thought I would have seen something growing, albeit not fused. I suppose patience until next months appointment is all I can do.

  • Oh my gosh! I live in Clarion, which is so close to Gilmore City.
    I thought I would see something sooner the first fusion too. My Dr used cadavar bone and BMP, and it just takes a while. I think maybe at 3 or 4 months he could see soft clouding a little. But not much.
    Hang in there...It will happen, I got discouraged to, but fused wonderfully. At least that is what my Dr told me. That and my 2nd fusion on the levels above, the surgeon said it was a beautiful fusion and he didn't do it.
    We are in for another crap load of snow tonight, tomm and maybe Tues..Hard to walk, when its icey out, and I cant drive yet?
    Do you have a brace? Did your surgeon use cadavar bone along with the BMP?
    Nice to talk to someone who is familiar with Iowa and knows that we dont grow potatoes for a living :D
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  • Yep. been to Clarion many times. I miss home but there just wasn't much for work at the time unless I helped my grandpa farm, so moved here.

    I've got a semi soft brace that I wear in public, but the doc says the hardware will hold me together without it. I guess he just recycled what he cut out of my vertebrae and mixed it with the bmp. No mention of a cadaver bone, and no extra incisions. When I went in, the doc was talking fusion in 4 months and possibly back to work in 6 months. Now it's bone growth in 4 months and should know if I am fused in 8 months. I don't like the inconsistency with his story, but all I can do is wait now.
  • I have a bone stimulator now, but even with that my surgeon told me not to *expect* fusion to be complete for at least 6 months. There might be fusion at my next check-up or there might not.
  • I thought just the same as you. :-)

    At 8 weeks, I was told that my hardware was in place but that there was no sign of fusion. The surgeon said it was too early to see it yet. (He had earlier said it was one of the things that we would look for.) I had also heard of others who had seen some fusion taking place at about 8 to 12 weeks. The surgeon didn't seem at all worried, and even told me to make my next appointment to see him again at the 12 month mark!! That was horrid, the thought of not knowing if I was fusing or not before then. My physio told me that he felt pretty sure that all would fuse fine as I was doing so well.

    At 9 months, my GP ordered an x-ray because I was feeling a slipping feeling over the fusion. My physio could access the x-ray and viewed it with my surgeon. There is now signs of fusion taking place. =D>
    The surgeon said that the slipping was due to the ligaments not having tightened up enough yet! (he had realigned my spine) and it would be at the adjacent levels. Apparently that can take up to 18 months. The news that fusion had started to take place, was very exciting!

    They do say that it takes a year or more to fuse properly. Just keep following orders and, unless you are having problems, trust that all is healing and fusing well. :D

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