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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi Nero,

I am the "Barb" of whom you spoke. I don't know if a search of my name will lead you to my old posts about what went on with me and my collar, so I thought I'd try to briefly explain what went on with me. I hope it helps.

First, I was not just in a collar. I was in the Miami JTO, which includes the collar AND a lower portion. (If you do a search on "Miami JTO", you should get a picture of it.) My surgeon insisted that I wear it 24/7--no breaks at all. Unlike many of the people here, who are allowed to remove their collars for showering and/or sleeping, I wasn't. In a word, it was HELL.

Anyway, the surgeon said that I would have to wear that contraption until the cat scan (not x-ray) showed fusion. Well, when I went for the first cat scan after surgery (about 9 weeks post op), I learned that not only did it show fusion, but it showed SOLID fusion. So...when I went to the dragon lady (the surgeon), I was expecting to be told to remove the lower portion of the JTO and begin my weaning process from the collar part.

Instead, this is what I heard as she dictated her notes into her little recorder. "The cat scan shows fusion, but physiologically, I know this is not possible. Therefore, she is going to wear the entire JTO for an additional six weeks, and if the next cat scan shows fusion, I will consider taking her out of the lower portion and keeping her in the collar for an additional six weeks."

Well, I walked out of her office shocked and filled with HATE!! I mean, she was talking about a total of 15 weeks in the entire contraption and 21 weeks in the hard collar--all 24/7 with NO BREAKS!!!

In the meantime, I had been doing a lot of research online, both here at HB and at other websites. I wound up finding a doctor who was willing to give me a second opinion, and when he saw my films, he told me to take the contraption off! My fusion was solid, he said. The doctor I saw happened to be the head of neurospinal surgery at a major Manhattan hospital; he's also a full professor. Furthermore, his name is listed in one (or more) of the "Top Doctors" publications. (I can't remember which one(s).) So I knew I was getting a valid opinion. By the time I freed myself, I had been in the contraption for 10 weeks, I believe.

After I took the thing off, my neck was VERY stiff; I could hardly turn it. I can only imagine what it would have been like after 21 weeks!!! I probably would have been an invalid for a very long time!

It took a while for my neck to regain painless range of motion, but finally, it did! (By the way, I continued to wear a soft collar for sleeping until I reached the 12 week mark. I also wore it if I was a passenger in a car or if I was walking on icy sidewalks. I wore the hard collar for a long car trip I took just two days after I freed myself.)

There's more I can tell you about my story and about my surgeon's reaction and subsequent treatment (or lack thereof), but I think this post is long enough. (And I was actually trying to keep it brief!) If you have any questions, just ask. In the meantime, take the time to research your situation very carefully, and then do what you feel is right for yourself.

Take care.

Barb :wave:

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