spinal fx question!

  1. Hey guys, need some info, please!!
    My husband fell 10 feet a month ago and has a 4o%compression fx of L1. He is recovering nicely with no neuro deficits. We were originally told 4-6 wks to heal and to wear his back brace. Well today he went to see the neurosurgeon (no surgery needed) who told him that he would now need to wear the brace 3-6months, that it would take that long for the vertebrae to strengthen up. Seemed a bit excessive to me, so I wanted to pick the brains of all you in cyberspace! Is this the norm or is the MD full of it? Any input/info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   BadBird
    I herniated a disc in my back L5-S1, ended up having surgery, my leg is still numb and the Dr. told me it could be for up to 2 years. I don't have pain now so I don't care about the numbness but I believe it could take longer than 4-6 weeks to heal, then you need to strengthen your back. Hope he heels quickly.
  4. by   sjoe
    I believe you are referring to a bone fracture, rather than to a disk herniation.

    In this case, there is a new, injectable resin that is squirted by needle directly into the bone. It sets up quickly, and the vertebra is once again stable and sturdy--right away. Your ortho department should know about it. (The name of it is methacrylate--an acrylic cement.)

    And for those with herniated disks, there is some good news as well. Studies are presently underway for doing something similar with disks--injecting a material that sets up to the consistency of, say, a rubber washer into the disk space (of course it also remains in place) to maintain the intervertebral spacing AND flexibility. Should eliminate the need for a LOT of surgery. (And why it hasn't been in use for years already is beyond me.)
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 11, '02
  5. by   meownsmile
    I talked to one of our ortho docs about this resin as a option for my mom instead of joint replacement. He said he has used it, but has found that it tends to be absorbed after about 6-8 months and it has to reinjected. He kind of felt it wasnt an option for long term( i know,, not talking about a replacement here).

    I wonder if the doc wants the brace to stay longer,, one for support so he wont reinjure the area, and two to keep his posture aligned so it is sure he will heal in the correct position. I think id keep it in place as long as they recommended. Also the ramifications if he were even in a fender bender accident without the brace could be pretty bad. I think id hang in there and keep the brace on for a while longer rather than take chances. Just MHO.
  6. by   sunnybrook83
    We definitely don't want to do anything to cause any further problems, it's just that I don't have a lot of faith in the doc and we're in a rural area, so options are limited. We could go elsewhere, but the fx is a month old already, he's healing nicely, and there isn't a whole lot more that could be done. (I checked about the "bone cement" injections, but from what I've read they need to be done before healing starts, so that's kind of out of the picture. ) All the lit I could find said 8-12 wks with a brace, and when he said 6months, my husband was so disappointed-( they had originally told him 4-6 wks, then he'd be fine, etc... Being the male that he is, he fully expected to be back in shape at this point, despite my warnings that recovery could take a few wks longer). Anyways, thanks for all your input!

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