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hasteffen
01-07-2013, 06:03 PM
Can anyone tell me HOW they know that they are fused? Can anyone post a Xray of someone fused and someone unfused?

Thanks!
Heidi

Pooka1
01-07-2013, 06:30 PM
I was told you can't tell from x-rays.

hasteffen
01-07-2013, 06:38 PM
that was my point... my husband is a radiologist... and that is what he told me.
BUT
when I called Dr. Lenke's nurse and questioned why 3 month xrays were necessary she said for 3 reasons: 1- to make sure hardware was in place
2- to see if there is any degeneration above and below instrumentation and 3- to see if fusion has started.


So, I am curious if anyone knows how you know you are fused! Short of being cut open and examined!!!!
Thanks,
Heidi

Pooka1
01-07-2013, 06:52 PM
Our surgeon agrees with your husband. :-)

JenniferG
01-07-2013, 09:12 PM
I was told pretty much the same thing. You can see new bone growth, but there's no guarantee from looking at x-rays that complete fusion has taken place. There could be a hairline crack in the fusion that will not show up on x-rays, and sometimes not even on ct scans. We can only just hope for the best and if all else seems well, we probably are fused, once we're over that 12 month mark. It's just that there are no guarantees.

LindaRacine
01-07-2013, 11:45 PM
While you can't tell if a level is fused, you can see bone growing. At 3 months, if there's no evidence of bone, that would be cause for a little concern.

If you look at Figure 2 HERE (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169409X1200110X), you can see bone growth at 12 months, but you can't tell if the patient has actually fused. You can, sometimes, tell if an area is not fusing, such as HERE (http://www.spinemd.com/conditions-diagnoses/lumbar-pseudoarthrosis-reston-va.php).

--Linda

hasteffen
01-08-2013, 06:46 AM
Thanks Linda. That is what I was looking for! I think it is difficult to see and without previous studies to refer back to it would be next to impossible to see the new growth. In my case, my local ortho doc does xrays in his office so my hubby's practice does not have immediate access to previous scans and Dr. Lenke's office has my xrays for the past year. I sent Dr. Lenke the latest views (3 months) so we will wait and see what he has to say...
I feel great and am definately getting stronger everyday. Yesterday I walked over 3 miles- all in one stretch! and I walked almost 12,000 steps total.
Best,
Heidi

bluestone
01-08-2013, 08:11 AM
I've recently had a bone scan to see if I am fused-currently waiting fir the results of that. My surgeon said even this isn't always 100%, that the only way to know how well your fused is to cut you open and see.

jane d
01-08-2013, 09:05 AM
I am having x-rays today locally and the results will be sent to Dr. Lenke . I had x-rays in St. Louis at 7 weeks. Dr Lenke's nurse said that he would be able to see new bone growth if it is occurring and it should be by this point. (I am about 5 1/2 months from my surgery)
Jane

Irina
01-08-2013, 11:23 AM
Thanks Linda. That is what I was looking for! I think it is difficult to see and without previous studies to refer back to it would be next to impossible to see the new growth. In my case, my local ortho doc does xrays in his office so my hubby's practice does not have immediate access to previous scans and Dr. Lenke's office has my xrays for the past year. I sent Dr. Lenke the latest views (3 months) so we will wait and see what he has to say...
I feel great and am definately getting stronger everyday. Yesterday I walked over 3 miles- all in one stretch! and I walked almost 12,000 steps total.
Best,
Heidi

Wow, 3 miles in one stretch at 3 months out is awesome. I can only handle 1.5 - 2 miles and it causes a lot of back pain. After walking that long I have to lie down and rest for at least 1/2 hour or the day is gone.

How many miles were you able to walk without pain pre-op, Heidi?

LindaRacine
01-08-2013, 11:27 AM
There is NOTHING that can tell a doctor with 100% certainty, that every level is fused. There are tests that are relatively accurate, but they all involve a lot of radiation.

hasteffen
01-08-2013, 12:24 PM
Irena-
Before surgery I would walk about 3 or so but by 8pm I would be in so much pain I would have to lie down. I was fine last night... before surgery I would use an elliptical for 30 minutes... can't wait to get back on it!

jackieg412
01-08-2013, 03:02 PM
I was also told that you may see new bone growth on xrays,that is good, but not really be able to tell if everything is fusing. I fractured the level above my 1st fusion 6 days after surgery. I tried to tell any one who would listen, but kept being told it was OK. when the spine started curving{20 degrees in one year} I was sent for my second Ct--the fracture was found then because healing had taken place.I guess a healed bone tells what happened easier then finding the fracture.

golfnut
01-08-2013, 05:03 PM
Heidi,
You are doing so well!

hasteffen
01-08-2013, 08:19 PM
Thanks, Karen! I do feel well. I talked with Angie (dr. Lenke's nurse) and she said I could start squatting some... wish I would have asked what that meant! Does that mean once or twice a day a half squat or what!?!?! I am trying to be carteful to follow protocals and precautions but it is extremely difficult especially when I feel so well.
Anyone remember squatting at 3 months post op?

hasteffen
01-08-2013, 08:23 PM
I forgot to tell you Karen that our correction is so similar. My thoracic is corrected to 8* and Lumbar to 28* (at least that was the rough estimate I got since the radiologist who measuerd current curves didnt measure previous curves and didnt have previous scans or xrays to compare) Curious what Lenke's team will say... when I have my 6 month pics done in April.

Confusedmom
01-08-2013, 09:56 PM
Heidi, that's awesome! I can only walk about 1.5 miles max at one time at 10 months! This makes me think there's something wrong with me, however.... But all my X-rays look good. I guess you don't know until if/when a rod breaks! I see Lenke in March (one year), and I will ask about this. I am still in more pain than pre-op. but it's not bad pain. More like discomfort unless I really overdo it.

Evelyn

Confusedmom
01-08-2013, 10:26 PM
Linda,

Can MRIs tell anything about fusion? I've got cobalt-chromium rods and titanium cages, so I believe I can still have an MRI, right?

Evelyn

golfnut
01-09-2013, 03:49 PM
I usually went down slowly on one knee when I squatted and kept my back straight. I sat on a chair to unload the dishwasher. I continued to use the grabbers after 3 months so that I didn't over do squatting.

Confusedmom
01-09-2013, 06:31 PM
Dr. Lenke told me at my 5-week appointment that I could start lifting restrictions and to follow the basic principle that if it hurts, don't do it. I could go down on one knee without pain, so I did that some. But like Karen said, I used (and still use) my grabber most of the time.

hasteffen
01-09-2013, 07:23 PM
Thanks Evelyn- That is what I wanted to hear. It does not cause me pain to squat... I have not tried to bend at least not intentionally. One time the cat ran out the door and I instictively did.
My cat scooper and watering can are already ordered and on their way! I am excited about these.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you that my right leg is still weaker then my left. I can almost get dressed without my dressing stick but not quite. I can put my sock and shoe on the left foot but not on my right without my aids or help. I do think that in a couple of months I may be able to do it by myself... we will see.
I use my grabbers for everything. I even found a collapsable one for the car!
How far did you walk today?
Best,
Heidi

Marina63
01-09-2013, 07:46 PM
I use my grabbers for everything. I even found a collapsable one for the car!


Heidi, can you post or PM me the link for where you got your collapsible grabber?

hasteffen
01-09-2013, 09:41 PM
It is called Telesco Pik. The sell it on Amazon. I bought mine from our local family owned pharmacy... I sent you a link to it.

hasteffen
01-09-2013, 09:43 PM
Evelyn- my husband said you can still have an MRI but the metal causes artifact and they wouldn't be able to see much....

Confusedmom
01-09-2013, 11:00 PM
Really? I swear Dr. Lenke and my local surgeon said cobalt chromium would be okay with MRIs (vs. steel). Maybe they meant it's okay to have one--like if you need it for a different part of your body? Maybe you can't have them at all if you've got steel. Will you ask you hubby, Heidi?

P.S. I didn't walk for mileage today, but I cleaned house literally from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. only breaking for meals and to put the kids to bed. So I felt pretty good about that! Can you tell my house was a wreck after the holidays??! :-)