View Full Version : Braces after surgery ...

12-14-2007, 02:52 AM
I keep reading about them here post op ...

My surgeon doesn't recommend them (at least in my case), and I won't have one afterwards. I'm inclined to believe I'd become dependent on it/scared to move/sacrifice the muscles I worked so hard to gain pre-surgery.

Are they more common with lower - or longer - fusions?

12-14-2007, 07:31 AM
I think it really depends on a lot of factors--your age, your surgeon's preferences, the length of fusion, etc. People that have weak/fragile bones or really long fusions-- in other words, those who need the extra support-- are probably the main ones to need bracing. You are in such super shape that your doctor doesn't think it's something you need. That's great! :D

Speaking as someone who needed bracing, just so you can understand-- in my case, it didn't cause me to be afraid to move. In fact, it gave me more confidence that I wouldn't do damage to myself, because the brace would protect me. It prevents you from accidentally bending or twisting, and gives you support. Those back muscles get severed, and it takes awhile for them to mend. My incision was 20" long, so all those muscles were cut and laid back for the surgery. When I was "weaning" off the brace, my muscles got tired so quickly, but they built up ok with time. Because I am older, I can't imagine not having had the support the brace gave me. I was done with it at 5 months, my back is doing fine now, as far as most aches and fatigue go, although it does get tired by the end of a long day... Now I can't picture wearing the brace. I think it's just a matter of who needs extra support in the early stages of recovery.

You'll do great! :)

12-14-2007, 08:13 AM
Pam -

I think I mentioned, my surgeon usually has patients wear a brace, but he decided during the surgery I wouldnt need it. My understanding is that I don't need a brace because 1) the hardware was very stable 2) my bone quality was good 3) the fusion and hardware are all protected by my ribcage, with the exception of L1.

I definitely move the wrong way occasionally (and that hurts!) and think having a brace would protect me from those mishaps. Giving others a visual cue that they need to be careful around me, also has benefits. That said, I'm glad I don't need one - it will make going back to work a little less stressful!

12-14-2007, 06:55 PM
I've heard they're more common in more complicated surgeries and in children - in those a surgeon would be worried about moving in a way that might compromise a "delicate" fusion, or in those that have a better chance of getting jostled (I'm picturing the hallway of my junior high.....)

My doctor didn't recommend a brace for me, and I had no problems with that. I don't think I experienced as great of muscle atrophy as I would have with one. I also see that what Vndy says, that if you're fusion is primarily in an area protected by your rib cage, you have a sort of internal-brace already.

12-15-2007, 12:30 AM
It really depends on the surgeon. For long fusions, it seems that most Northern California doctors put their adult patients in postop braces. In kids, at least around here, it's much more variable. When the new universal implant systems were invented, the intent was not to have to brace kids. Because they're much smaller, they don't put stress on the screws and hooks the way adults can.