View Full Version : Bracing after surgery

rot bryna
08-18-2006, 01:58 PM
Hey, I got back from the doctor today and he told me that I would not need a brace after my surgery. I thought most people did need bracing after surgery. Is it normal for people to not have to brace afterwords?

08-18-2006, 03:53 PM
i think everyones case is different, i know people who didnt have to have one and me they told me i will .so i guess it depends on the type of back surgery you are having .

08-18-2006, 04:28 PM
I actually think the doctor makes the decision of whether or no to brace you when he sees you post op and sees how you are doing. I was told before my surgery that I would have a brace. But when I left, it was without a brace. The doctor told me, when I was leaving the hospital, that I was doing really well with walking and getting up the right way that I wouldn't need one unless I felt like I needed one.

08-18-2006, 05:25 PM
My Dr. said no brace because I was wearing it inside. I think it depends on the Dr. Some who have had a similar fusion to mine (T10 to L4) have worn one and some haven't. It sure makes you concentrate on your posture and strengthen your core muscles without one!

08-18-2006, 06:18 PM
My doctor told me I might need one before surgery. As it turns out, I did not need one after all.

08-18-2006, 06:49 PM
Dear Rot Bryna,

I had a long fusion for scoliosis (T-5 to L-5) and I have the hard plastic shell brace that hooks together on the sides with velcro straps. It goes from my hips clear up almost to my chin in front and neck in back.

One day after my surgery they casted me for it and brought it to me the 2nd day. I actually liked having it because of the support it gave to my back, especially in between my shoulders where most of my pain was. They said I didn't have to wear it to bed, but I did at the hospital because it stopped the pain in between my shoulders when I rolled over onto my side or got up.

Now that I am home, I just wear it when I am up out of bed. It goes over top of my clothes and yes, it is hot. It's August and I really sweat under it and have to change my clothes sometimes, even though they poked some holes in it for venting. But it is good support for my back; I really notice my muscles straining when I walk around without it on. Probably I will have to gradually wean myself from it to strengthen the muscles. But I am only 3 1/2 weeks post op and not worried about that. I think they said I would wear it for 3 months.

One big negative is that I found you can't pull your clothes up and down under it when you go to the bathroom. So I just take it off before I go now and figure it just gives me a brace break, also, then put it back on.

With this type of brace, it makes it very obvious to other people that you are recovering from some type of back condition so it makes them more than happy to help you out. I am an old married woman (47) and not worried about looking foxy anymore, so not self-conscious about it like a young girl might be.


08-18-2006, 08:44 PM
cakedec----missed ya & hope you are resting & recovering good!!!! said many prayers...! I am home as of last night & very happy to be here.... I have, I believe the Jewett brace(Ithk, may be wrong, thought the P.T. guy told me that) it is pretty open, much easier than the milwaukee as a kid...is kind of getting loose because they say my internal fluids are settling down after rib removals.....Ithk they took 3....that hurt the most but did'nt last....Lynne email when you can lelc2002@yahoo.com :cool:

08-18-2006, 10:31 PM
I will have a brace after my surgery also only to wear when I am up. Mine will go from the top of my boobs to about my hips.

08-19-2006, 02:03 PM
I have a somewhat pretty long fusion and didn't wear any braces for my surgeries, just a soft one on and off for the first year to help stand and sit.

It depends on what the doctor's approach is, and not wearing one does help the muscles get stronger faster.

08-19-2006, 04:50 PM

I've discovered that it varies by surgeon. Most of the doctors here in Northern California put almost 100% of their adult scoliosis patients in braces. I know of other doctors who almost never put any of their patients in a postop brace.


08-19-2006, 06:12 PM
Hey, Deb. I had the same type of brace. Like you, I am old enough (49) not to care how I look. At work, they called me "the Turtle woman". Whenever anyone pointed me out, they would said "It's the woman who looks like a turtle". I sort of miss that! I'm still known as the "velcro lady" though.

Personally, I was glad to have the brace. I felt more secure.

08-27-2006, 12:51 AM
Hi Deb,

I wore the turtle shell from June to September and it is hot as hell, holes and all. I guess we'll never know which is the best, brace or no brace, we just do what our Dr.'s say.

I was told to wear it when I was in an upright position, and that I could take it off for bed or showering. The first 2 nights I was at home I didn't wear it and didn't sleep a wink for fear of moving the wrong way or whatever was going through my overly medicated head, after that I wore it to sleep in.

If anyone asks me if I'm a "Turtle", I say, "you bet your sweet ass I am".


08-27-2006, 04:22 PM
I was put in a brace after surgery also. I had to wear mine 23 hours a day. I had all kinds of problems with mine. When they fitted me with it in the hospital it took some getting use to. I was doing pretty good with it, then I kept loosing more weight until it was way to big for me. Then it was a nightmare. Finally my Dr. had me fitted for a new one and it was much better.
I wore mine for 6 months. I sure felt safer with it on then when I had it off.
I also believe it is a difference in Drs. as to brace the patience or not.

08-27-2006, 04:51 PM
Cakedec....I'm a 46 year old divorced woman....lol. My surgery was probably around the same time as your surgery. I tell ya...the brace sure is hot isn't it? I am constantly sweating underneath...and often have to change t-shirts that I wear under it also. I was told I would wear the brace for 3 months. Ugh. Granted, it definitely makes you feel secure wearing it...but it's so hot...and wearing clothes over top of the brace makes me look huge...even though I'm relatively thin. So when I return to work...I'm sure I'll just look lovely. Also, I don't know if it is affecting my body temperature or what...because for the last 6 nights I've had night sweats terribly! I don't wear the brace in bed of course....but maybe since my body temperature is hot all day long...when I get under the covers with no brace on...I get cold...then use too many covers....who knows...but I wake up soaking wet in the middle of the night...and it is no fun. Anyone else have this happen to them? I doubt the surgery sent me into instant menopause....lol.

08-28-2006, 11:01 AM
This is precisely why I will choose the coldest months of the year if and when I decide to have surgery. At 57 I am two years post menopause and suffer from terrible hot flashes. I would go mad if I had to wear a turtle shell brace and deal with hot flashes at the same time.

And, yes, I have heard that this surgery can bring on menopause. I recently spoke to a 50-yr-old woman who experienced menopause following her surgery two years ago.


08-28-2006, 12:33 PM
Hi Chris,

You are exactly my age and I'm working on scheduling surgery right now. I live in Hawaii, so it's almost always hot and humid and I do not look forward to the sweating under a brace. I wear one of those soft ones with the stays in the back for lumbar support even now when I have to stand for more than 20 minutes or so. It really helps the pain, but have been told it isn't good to depend on it for now.
I still have some night sweats, being 2 years post M, like you. Most likely I'll have my surgery in Oakland at Kaiser. I'm sure I'll stay in Ca. for a few weeks post surgery. Coming home won't be fun with the plane ride and the transition to the heat! Oh well, that's the way it has to be, I guess. Like Linda R says, most adults end up in braces, and if it's neccessay, of course I'll wear it. When is your surgery? What are your curves?

08-28-2006, 12:58 PM
Hi Berta,

I have not yet scheduled surgery. I've seen two highly-qualified surgeons in Chicago and I am going for another consultation with Dr. Bridwell in St. Louis next month. I have a 75 lumbar curve but only mild discomfort on some days. I take Advil as needed. Sometimes if I go shopping for a couple of hours right after working all day, my back aches and I can't wait to get home to stretch out on my bed. But other than that, I can do pretty much whatever I want. Needless to say, I'm in no hurry to rush into surgery, but almost feel it's inevitable. This past year I've actually experienced a lot more pain in my hands from arthritis than from back discomfort.

Good luck to you.


08-28-2006, 01:27 PM
Berta & Chris,
good luck to you both! Now looking back on this surgery, I must say it was so overwhelming but I feel it has totally changed my life! I have good days & bad since my surgery date but nothing really horrible. The most annoying pains are those that run thru my legs at times(like menstrual cramps). That's when the pain meds help ! The hardest thing about recovery & peace of mind for me is seeing that my children are looked after for I am slow moving & at times not ready to make a meal..
Chris-I really do think your recovery will go well with no children involved. That's where most of my worrying came from. Luckily, I hardly asked for help. All my friends with kids the same age just called to take my boys whenever they could. This is my first week alone with them, & so far they have playdates to go to thru Thursday! Even if they were here most of the week, I feel musch stronger & confident that I can handle things now. Last week was a different story & I am so thkful to have had my mom here all week. Keep in mind to try to go to a rehab if insurance covers it & have someone to help you your first week at home & after that you should be able to be fairly self suffiicient...................Lynne ;)