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Thread: Bracing (?) for the newly injured

  1. #1
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    Bracing (?) for the newly injured

    Can someone please help to fill me in on the following. I am sorry about the scant and vague details but my son, who is the SCI, is in Spain and language difficulties, as well as my "newcomer's" ignorance, make it difficult to comprehend what is going on.
    He was "fitted" for some kind of body brace - like a vest. What could this be? and what is it's function? Would this be permanent or is it a temporary measure until recovery progresses?
    Thank you for all your help, so far.
    John

  2. #2
    I am assuming your son has a fairly recent spinal cord injury? If so, he is probably in some type of TLSO (thoracolumbar-sacral orthosis). These can be made out of metal and padded pieces (such as a Jewett Brace or Taylor-Knight brace)or out of plastic (Kydex is a common brand of molded plastic).

    Here is a photo of a Kydex type:



    The plastic ones are usually custom made out of a plaster cast mold. They are sometimes called "turtle shells" as well. They are made in two pieces and attached to each other after application with straps and buckles or Velcro. This allows removal for skin care and inspection (which should be done twice daily). They should be worn over a clean white T-shirt that is changed daily.

    These are usually not permanent. They are worn for 2-3 months while the bone in the spine is healing (usually after surgery). They are hot and uncomfortable, but when wearing one you can do all your usual therapy activities, etc. They can limit some high level skills such as self-bowel care and pushing up hills. These skills may have to wait until the jacket is discontinued.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
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    Dear Nurse:
    Thank yuo so much for your reply. As always your organization is fast, caring and helpful. I am praising you to everyone who is kind enough to ask about my son's progress.
    John

  4. #4
    The SCI nurse is correct on what the brace is, but I just wanted to comment on how much I hated wearing it. In the very beginning I had to wear my brace anyyyytime I sat up. I had to even wear it in the shower. It was so uncomfortable b/c when I was "fitted" for the brace I was still in ICU and my body was somewhat twisted as they molded me for the brace. So, the brace being made like that, it always caused me to lean to one side. The doc said (after figuring out why I always tilted to one side and only have to wear the brace anytime I rode in a car at this point) since I didnt have to wear the brace often anymore that he didnt think I should be molded for another one, but if they'd recognized that being the problem in the beginning they'd had me fit for a new brace.
    I'm injury level t-6 (almost b/t both shoulder blades in the back) and my brace looked like tank top with arm holes and the works. The little balance I had of tilting my head was gone while in the brace b/c it makes your entire upperbody move as a whole. Anytime I barely tilted in the brace, I'd fall totally over. I was so scared when I got to sit up the first time without the brace b/c it'd sorta become a part of me wearing it every single day and without it I was relearning a new balance point, yet on the other hand I was sooooo happy to get rid of that thing.
    I wish your son the best with his recovery and let him know when or if he gets frustrated by that darn brace that he isnt/wasnt the only one.

  5. #5
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Here's another TLSO horror story...

    I'm T-6, and the brace was fitted pretty soon post-op on me, when I weighed about 230 lbs right after surgury (major fluid retention from IV's, I was about 185 lbs just before my accident). Of course due to getting ARDS after surgury, they kept me in a coma of sorts for three weeks post surgury, where I dropped some major weight, and the thing didnt fit too good at all. After finally getting stabilized and out of the hospital and to rehab I weighed 150 lbs weeks later, so the thing didnt fit me at all. They did chop it down some, but the contours were all wrong. Why they decided to make a brace immediately post op is beyond me, majorly poor planning by the hospital obviously. Anyway, I hated that thing since it was digging into me all over, and to top it off it has a 'somey' (sp) extention thing on it (goofy metal brackets that prevented my neck from moving forward or back), that thing really got annoying. To top it off, the surgeon was quoting times of six months to a year before it would come off. Of course once I got home, I didnt use it all that often, and the surgeon finally gave to ok to remove order 6 months after my surgury. It was very frustrating trying to go though rehab with this thing, of course due to insurance company "care plans" and the associated fast tracking out of rehab caused by this I really didnt get all I could out of rehab mostly due to the TLSO issue. To summarize, TLSO's suck, and SCI is a long recovery, but eventually things do get better.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for sharing your experiences they do help me understand what my son might be feeling and what he is experiencing. Those who have not been "touched" by SCI have no idea.

  7. #7
    Member beelady's Avatar
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    And can you imagine what it would be like to wear a halo for 3 months. My son was fitted with one about 20 hours after his accident and then had 8 hours of surgery the next day and he actually,2 months later was doing his own BP and cathing himself. He was absolutely NOT going home with Mom and Dad without being able to do it himself. Not too many people could believe he was able to do it, but determination was what got him there. With many trips into Houston to get pins tightened and even moved, it was a very long 3 months for him and even our dog decided she didnt want to look at him while the halo was on. Once he had it removed, she jumped in bed with him and licked his face until he was wet, as was my face before drying the tears away.

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