View Full Version : My pre-op tomorrow and a brace question!

03-18-2010, 07:14 PM
Does anyone have any advice as to anything I might need to know about my pre-op or questions I should ask? Two questions I'm asking are - what exactly would happen to me if I didn't have the surgery (just like to know), and why will I not need a brace to wear after this surgery. My friend Debbie Ordes who is president of the scoliosis association spoke to me on the phone today, and mentioned that she was surprised that I wouldn't be wearing one afterward, as she was under the impression that most adults undergoing this surgery usually wore a brace afterward. Anyone know anything about that?

03-18-2010, 07:44 PM
I think that's changed over the years and now most don't wear a brace. My surgeon hadn't decided if I would or not until the surgery. I was to bring t-shirts "in case"... I believe my surgeon decided to have me wear a brace because mine was such a long fusion and once he got in there and did the surgery, he felt my bones were pretty fragile (osteopoenia) and the extra support would help prevent possible problems. (I could be wrong with this though.) But I know my surgeon does not brace all, or even most, adults.

03-18-2010, 07:46 PM
HI, i am having surgery next week -Thursday 3/25 and my Dr had me fitted for a brace that i will be wearing after the surgery. My surgery will be posterior spinal fusion T10 to pelvis. My Dr is Dr. Sethie, Johnson City, NY. getting nervous as the day becomes closer. Barb

03-18-2010, 08:11 PM
Hi--I didn't have a brace but my roommate in rehab had Bridwell, Lenke's partner, and she did wear one. She was a little older than I. Janet

03-18-2010, 09:26 PM

I grew 4 inches and looked like I was 6 months along. So, after I went down and the brace guy did a whole bunch of sawing to make it fit, it felt like I was wearing a garbage can. I had big changes to my shape.
Large anteriors with Ileus make guys look at maternity clothes. LOL

Some here have had their braces made after their surgeries. That seems to make more sense to me.

The main reason for a brace is just in case you fall. That is not allowed right after surgery. No falls, no slips, no trips. The sudden jolt or force just isnt a good idea. Car accidents are not allowed either. Talk about force! Wow.

When I would get into and out of my bath tub, I adopted a rock climbing stance with 3 points of contact. In other words, just donít stand up without arms bracing somewhere else. Always have the arms out gripped on something, expecting to fall. Play it safe and move slow until you are fused.

There is no need for a brace if sudden jolts, falls, or forces happen. It is used as a safety measure, otherwise everyone would be wearing a post op brace.

What would happen if you didnít have surgery?
Degeneration usually creates pain.

03-18-2010, 10:07 PM
Thanks everyone. It's interesting why some doctors choose to have their patients wear a brace, while others don't. I realize now - after you all explained it to me :) it's basically to give you extra protection - it seems like a sensible precaution to me, and I think I'd feel a little safer with one on rather than not. Especially having two little boys, who are very well built little boys, one of whom loves to run toward me full speed and throw his arms around me - which I love right now, but not after surgery! Even though I've explained very carefully to this little man not to do that when I get home from hospital - he says in his little voice "I'll TRY to remember mommy!" :) :)

03-18-2010, 10:35 PM
Hi Lynette..

I agree that a lot of surgeons have moved away from having their patients use a brace postop. (A lot of surgeons never used them in the first place for that matter.) I think there are still some circumstances in which a postop brace is a good choice (e.g., poor bone quality, kyphosis).

Be careful about pushing your surgeon to do things outside the norm. I think surgeons are often put off by patients who make it seem like they know better than themselves. My recommendation would be to mention that you have some concern about BLT (bending/lifting/twisting), especially in light of having two small kids at home.


03-19-2010, 05:33 AM
Thanks Linda - I appreciate that bit of advice!

03-19-2010, 02:37 PM
My brace was fitted after surgery and honestly, I really don't mind it all that much. I will be in it at least until early June when we get fusion results from
CAT scan. I'm sure mine is because of the hardware placement that wasn't completed because of my bleeding. I feel more secure in it when I'm in crowded places and in the car, driving, etc. I have friends who wanted to sign it like a cast, paint turtle shell designs on it and umm, draw some anatomically correct illustrations!:rolleyes: I think Dr. Lonner tends to err somewhat on the side of caution and that's fine with me. As good as I feel otherwise, it's a reminder of how fragile my back really is. Go with whatever your doc recommends.

03-19-2010, 02:56 PM
My doctor said that he would decide after he does the surgery whether or not I would need a brace. He said that if it is difficult for him to know in advance if a patient will need one

If a brace is worn, what do you wear under it?


03-19-2010, 03:10 PM
Around the house (and around good friends--hence the comments about illustrations), I wear it right over my clothes. I really don't care--it's like a cast. Today I have it on over a tank underneath and just a light pullover on top. It blends well with cream colored tops with a jacket to cover, too. You don't want it rubbing directly against your skin so you need at least a t-shirt or cami or something if you want it under your clothes. I guess I'm not much of a fashionista and I'm not teaching right now, so not a big deal. I really can't maneuver going to the bathroom with it on, so that's kind of annoying. PT showed me how to get it on and off myself by keeping one side always velcro-ed and backing up against the wall for some leverage. It is bulky so you need some loose-fitting tops and/or jackets. For me, it's a small price to pay for feeling this good and in my case, I want that extra security since I have a "few missing screws." :)

03-19-2010, 03:28 PM
I also was fitted the next day after surgery. It didn't feel good to move around and roll in bed. My surgeon is one that braces everybody. I believe he does it to prevent twisting. He also has me wear a bone stimulator machine to accelerate fusion. He said that wearing this device could cut my time in half. We will find out, my next appt. is March 30th. I will be a little then four months post-op then.


03-19-2010, 05:02 PM
After my first surgery I wore a corset type support brace when I wasn't lying down. It was fabric and had a velco closure and metal stays in it. I needed help at first getting in and out of that thing but after a day or two it got easier to do by myself.

After the second surgery (the anterior procedure with cesarean incision a month later) I was sent home with a wide stretchy support that had a wide velcro closure in the front. I was to wear that 24 hours (except showers) a day for 6 weeks. I really liked wearing it because of my incision in front and my inability to curl down to support that area when I moved - I really appreciated the extra support.

I didn't ask Dr. Kebaish if he braced his other patients...I didn't really think of it at the time and I didn't ask him before the surgery - I guess I wasn't that concerned about it.