View Full Version : Bracing

06-16-2011, 08:56 PM
Why do some people get braced after posterior surgery and not others? Just curious.

06-16-2011, 09:04 PM
I asked the same question before my surgery and didn't really get an answer. Some just said they were braced and others said they weren't. Dr. Lenke does not brace his patients to my knowledge. I asked his nurse why he didn't brace and she said that the instrumentation has improved so much the past several years and that your vertebrae were internally braced. She also said that your back muscles get stronger faster if they aren't relying on the support of a brace. I know that some on the forum have said that it was tough to wean off of a brace. I was not braced and hope that some how I haven't moved too much in the early stages to cause non-union. I will see the Dr. next Wed. but I don't think they can tell if you are fusing at 5 1/2 months.
Good question. I don't understand why some do and some don't.

06-16-2011, 09:18 PM
It seems logical that you wouldn't be braced after surgery because you want the muscles to gain strength again. I was braced for 7 months after my spinal fusion. As much as I hated wearing it, it helped the pain quite a bit. Basically the only reason why I hated wearing it was because they fitted me for it 2 days after my surgery, and I was SO swollen. It was huge on me, even after they cut it down a little. But it really did help with the pain, and I could sit up for longer periods of time without support behind me.

I also had flat back syndrome, and my surgeon actually put an inward curve in my lower back. That might have had a part in his decision to brace me. I needed a lot of support for my lower back, and even when I wasn't wearing the brace, I needed a small pillow in the curve of my lower back until I gained my strength back and got used to the curve.

So it might just depend on the person and the case, I'm not sure.

06-16-2011, 10:30 PM
it's really just surgeon preference. Some of the surgeons with whom I work put all of their long fusion patients in a postop brace, while others don't brace any. I was operated on by two surgeons, one of whom braces their patients and one who doesn't. The one who doesn't brace also thinks the modern implants are so secure that no brace is needed. They left it up to me as to what I wanted to do. I opted to go without the brace, as they're quite expensive, and I didn't think it was a worthwhile expense (even though insurance would have paid for it).

BTW, I also had flatback and osteotomies, and that did not make a difference in terms of the decision to brace or not.


06-16-2011, 10:37 PM
My son and another halo-boy who was also a patient of Dr. Krajbich was instructed to wear a brace for a while (not sure how long) after surgery while my son didn't have to wear one. The only difference I can think of between the boys was that my son's curve was mostly thoracic whereas the other boy's fusion went quite a ways down his lumbar. Do you think that might have something to do with whether a brace is prescribed or not?

06-16-2011, 10:37 PM
My surgeon does not brave either, but I too worry that I am doing too much so soon after surgery, just three weeks tomorrow and I certainly would not want to have to do this surgery again because I didn't fuse properly. I guess I'll have to wait until next week when I have my first post op to see what's going on...

06-16-2011, 11:15 PM

I think that kids are braced sometimes if the surgeon is worried about an unfused compensatory curve. Most surgeons have not been bracing postop kids for many years, but I have seen a couple of kids that were put back in a brace for the compensatory curve issue.


06-17-2011, 08:25 AM
My surgeon takes it on a case to case basis. In my situation-- he initially didn't think I would need a brace, but said to come to the hospital prepared in case I did-- so to have a tight fitting men's white t-shirt with me that would be worn underneath the brace. As it turned out, he decided after the surgery that I needed a brace. I think it was based on my long fusion (which, of course, he knew ahead of time), coupled with the condition of my spine once he actually saw it... and the osteotomies, etc. And he just felt I needed the extra support. I really can't fathom what it would have been like without the brace! I wore it for 5 months, and yes, it was work weaning off and rebuilding my back muscles, but I got through that ok, too.

Katie-- mine was fitted for me on about day 5 or 6 or so, so the swelling had gone down (mostly)-- plus it could be tightened-- had velcro on both sides, and the "boob" area was cut out, not molded. You were probably in and out quicker than I was. I was in the hospital 11 days.

06-17-2011, 08:40 AM
Yeah, I left the hospital after day 6, and Dr. Hammerberg wan't originally going to brace me either, but then decided to, which I'm glad.

Just wondering... Were you standing or lying down when they fitted you for your brace? They gave me the option, but I didn't understand how I could lie on that tiny metal bar, so I chose to stand (which was pretty hard, because I couldn't even keep my eyes open, but somehow I stood there the whole time). : )