View Full Version : Spinal fusion
12-14-2006, 11:24 PM
Not that I am all that savvy with spinal fusions, but my friend, who is supposed to have one next month knows not a lot more. She already has autoimmune problems, is on Enbrel for that, and doesn't seem to ask a lot of questions...
She just told me tonight that they are going to use "carbon" for this. I thought the only way they could do them was with cadaver bone, your own or something else I have forgotten, metal maybe? Ever heard of this?
I am concerned for her for several reasons. One, the autoimmune issue. Two, she looks like her platelets must be about zero... She is so badly bruised, especially on arms and legs, you would think that someone is beating her up, platelets are normal and no one knows what is causing this or she isn't seeing the right doc. The bruising is nearly solid in large areas. This started before the Enbrel, so I know it is not that. I worry about her going into surgery like this...
Any input from anyone would be appreciated.
12-15-2006, 12:51 AM
Cathy do you know more? Why do they want to fuse her. What is her underlying pathology?
I don't know about carbon in fusions. I had titanium. they dont use banked bone for lumbar fusions---they use bone taken from laminectomies, if you have one, then some bone from the hip (there area couple of techniques for this, and one seemed less painful to me--one using a trochar to scape inside the bone. I don't think anyone uses banked bonefor this. then they also use BMP to enhance the chance of success.
What's ailing her?
12-16-2006, 01:04 AM
I will ask her and let you know. Her back is a disaster with multi problems. I want to say she has ankylosing spondylosis or spondylitis or something, plus disk problems, arthritis, and then some, but she is foggy on the details... Lot of inflammation... This fusion is up somewhere in the neck, where they go through the throat...
She mentioned the use of carbon in the surgery, then later mentioned possible titanium... I am not getting a very clear picture here... Her problems are compounded by Connective Tissue Disease. If you could see her, you would faint... She looks like the worst case of abuse you could ever imagine with this horrible bruising...
12-16-2006, 07:09 AM
You mentioned lots of inflammation. Is she taking any aspirin, Aleve, ibuprophen or anything of that sort? Is she taking a prescription anti-inflammatory like Indomethecin, Celebrex, Mobic or any of those?
All of the above can make you bruise easily and bleed freely. They have had me stop my anti-inflammatory before any medical procedure that might put me in a situation to bleed.
12-16-2006, 07:49 AM
hi yorkiemom, i just had a cervical fusion-the anterior kind,where they go thru the front of the neck.i just had it in june and if i knew then what i know now,i dont think i would have went thru with the surgery-they used cadaver bone to fuse 2 levels and then used titanium plate and screws.the surgery went well-the plate and screws are still in allignment,so that part has gone well-but with all the other problems i have going on-my body has not healed well.most people i talk to that have had this surgery and dont have any other med issues going on tell me that they were better within a few weeks,back to work,back to exercising etc.i on the other hand still can not sleep in my bed,have to sleep on the recliner-too painful to lay flat-still having major pain and the surgery has flared up all my other med issues.i would definitely would tell your friend to sit back and think about this with great thought.they are now telling me that i possibly have scarring on my vocal cords or trachea as a result of the surgery which has had me gasping for air for 2 months now.they say they can hear my vocal cords close up,which is stopping the normal flow of air.if your friend was healthy,i would say she would probably would get alot of benefit from this surgery,but she has other issues,autoimmune and that could flare them up.i hope i helped you get some insight into what this surgery entails and the problems that can occur,kathy
12-17-2006, 03:17 PM
I guess I should have written all of this down before. I got some of it backwards (wrong fusion area, wrong diagnosis)... Alzheimer's, I suppose... :)
She has 3 herniated discs L4,5,6. The fusion is to be at 4,5. She has Ankylosing Spondylitis (not spondylosis) and the MRI show much Inflammatory Disease of the spine. She also has some kind of connective tissue disease and possibly Sjogren's, etc. etc. etc...
The surgeon told her that he felt she would do better with the use of carbon in the fusion, when she voiced concern over her body not liking foreign things. I don't know carbon's place in fusions, so can't even express an opinion there. She also said he talked about titanium, in addition to the carbon.
I did tell her what CrazyCare said, but she wasn't concerned over the vocal chords, since the fusion is low in the back, not up in the neck, like I thought she said. (Oh brother, I hope my mind doesn't get any worse here...) I read Cray Care's entire post to her over the phone. Since she now has Internet hookup, I suggested she do some research on this surgery...
Billye, she is not on anything like that. Her platelets are normal and I have a hard time understanding why-with being seen by so many docs, you would think that someone would be appalled at this horrible bruising and do further investigating-this has not been done... Enbrel can cause bruising as I remember, but this started long before she was on it. It has worsened.
The other thing is that her skin looks like tissue paper, crinkly and VERY thin. If her dog barely jumps up on her, it rips open the skin and then she gets nasty-looking sores on tops of the bruising... I am not talking about a dog raking its nails down the arm, I mean a very light touch...
Thanks all, what do you guys think?
12-21-2006, 12:18 AM
I think I have pretty much posted most of the details.
The neck is also a problem, and I know he wanted to do surgery there, but I did not remember to ask her about that. Sorry, lots going on here right now.
You know, my daughter had a boyfriend a couple of years ago, who had a fusion done at the neck. He would not stop smoking and I remember him complaining a lot about continual pain, when he should have already healed up months later. His surgeon said that you do not heal well if you smoke.
12-21-2006, 07:28 AM
I did, but I don't have any more ideas. The only thing I can think of is that when my Mom was so ill and not eating right, she bruised badly. I did some research and found out that vitamin K helps with bruising. So I put her on a daily vitamin with K in it.
Hope someone else has ideas.
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