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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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Neck Brace Question
Jul 18, 2009
[COLOR="Blue"]Neck Brace Question

Hello everyone, my name is Ashley and I am brand new to this board but not new to neck surgery. My first surgery was in 2007, I had a 2 level fusion done at c4-c5 & c5-c6, everything went well after the surgery and I was ecstatic post op when my doctor told me I did not need any collar or brace after the surgery. Unfortunately, that fusion failed and so now I am looking at surgery number 2; I will be having a redo of c4-c6 + he is doing c3 (3 levels in total). My question to everyone here is post-op bracing?? .My Doctor (different doc) tells me that after my surgery I will need to wear a brace for 10 - 12 weeks, (not looking forward to that but if it helps me fuse, then I am all for it) this is where I need everyone's help. My Doctor really encourages patient participation (yes, I could not believe it either!), and so he has actually given me a choice between a Minerva, a SOMI or a Miami-J Collar with the Thoracic Extension? He says I can choose the one that I feel most comfortable in. (or at least as comfortable as a neck brace can be)

I have done some research on these but have had a hard time getting much helpful info – can anyone help ? If ANYONE out there has experience with any of the above braces, your feedback (good or bad) would be very helpful in my decision.

He says, from a medical standpoint, all are about the same in controlling cervical movement
so I just need to pick one that I will be the most comfortable in. My pre-op brace fitting is scheduled for Friday.


Thanks for everyone’s input

Ashley[/COLOR]
Hello Ashley,

I have had three neck surgeries since 1995 so I have had some experience with the ever pressing question of "to Brace or not to Brace?? And I, like you have been on both sides of the fence; here is my history:

Surgery number 1 in 1995, I had a one level fusion done at c3-c4, post op my doctor had me in a hideous looking 4-poster brace for 12 weeks, and as much as I complained about it while I was recovering, my fusion there is rock solid today.

Surgery number 2 was in 2006, I had a 2 level fusion done at c4-c5 & c5-c6, post op my doctor (different doc) told me I did not need any collar or brace after the surgery, which I was ecstatic about at the time. Unfortunately, that fusion failed which lead me to my last surgery.

Surgery number 3 was June 10th, 2008; I had a redo of c4-c6 (2 level anterior discectomy. Post op my doctor had me in a SOMI brace for 12 weeks, again not a lot of fun but my fusion came out solid and I am pain free today and back to work flying long haul trips to Asia and Europe.

I am sorry that I don’t have any experience with the other two braces you mentioned but I can tell you plenty about the SOMI. Like some others have said, make sure you get it fit properly by a qualified brace specialist, that is key. When I went in for my fitting, the orthodist spent almost two hours measuring, bending and adjusting it to my body and had it off and on several times before he was done. The SOMI Brace looks a little scary at first but I must say, after spending most of last summer in it, I found it much more comfortable than some of those collars I have had to wear off and on over the years. Its totally adjustable, holds your head and neck very secure and is breathable in the warmer weather.

Are you going in today for your fitting? Good luck with everything and keep us posted.

Steph





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