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Thread: 7-Level Thoracic Fusion (T2-T8)...CAN ANYONE RELATE???

  1. #1

    Wink 7-Level Thoracic Fusion (T2-T8)...CAN ANYONE RELATE???

    hello...i am brand new to this forum. i am having a lot of trouble finding forums with people who are in the same position as me. i will give a brief description of my injury and surgeries. i hope i am posting this in the right place; i was having a little trouble navigating the site.

    my story:
    i was the passenger in a near-fatal auto accident on 11.21.07. my husband walked away with a few scratches and bruises and my almost 3yr old twins made it through without a scratch! i, on the other hand, literally walked away with a broken back. i had a T5 burst fracture, a broken scapula (shoulder blade), and several bruised and fractured ribs.

    my surgical procedures consisted of a 7-level thoracic fusion (T2-T8). i am about 8 weeks post op and i am doing surprisingly well, considering my surgeons say i was a miracle...they said i should have either died or been paralyzed UPON IMPACT! i can walk effortlessly and have full use of my arms, with very little loss of range of motion. i still have some numbness in my elbow (from broken scapula) and my back is still slightly numb, generally around the incision site and my shoulder blades. but i feel great other wise and realize how truly blessed i am!!

    i have been steadily doing research about my injury and my surgical procedure and i am really having a hard time finding a whole lot of information...apparently, i am a rare case??? so i am subscribing to this forum, b/c i am hoping to find someone who has had thoracic fusion or a thoracic burst fracture. i am really just looking for someone to talk to and exchange stories and progress notes.


  2. #2
    i'm fused from T-2 to T-7 , but no walking or anything below my nipples. good to hear your walking with no problems. i always wondered if i ever did get better , if walking with this crap in my back would be a problem.
    oh well

  3. #3
    Most people on this forum have paralysis from trauma like this, but few are so fortunate to have no neurologic deficit. You may find that a forum such as the Spinal Disorders forum at Braintalk may have more people you could relate to:


  4. #4
    Wow...thats amazing. I had about the same injuries as you. Down to the fusion, scapula break, ribs breaking, etc... But I don't walk. I don't even have feeling below my nipples either. I would kill for some kind of return. I go to therapy twice a week and they have other spinal cord injuries there and I have to watch them all have some kind of return, where I have not. Sometimes, it really gets to me such as yesterday when it was my one year post. You are EXTREMELY lucky. Please ignore any little pains that you have to deal with since I would take them in a heartbeat. Does everyone else feel the way I do? How come everyone else has some kinda return as I have nothing. Did my surgeons do me wrong since I haven't gotten anything back or am I do something wrong? How long before I should give up hope?

  5. #5
    Never give up hope. Research on a cure is ongoing.

    How long are you post injury? It is not common to get a lot of return from thoracic cord injuries if the initial injury appears complete, and no return is seen within 3-6 months, but return up to 2 years or more is common if some return is seen early.

    Peter, I see you are a military veteran. Are you getting your SCI care through the VA?

    It sounds like twins had ONLY spinal fractures and no paralysis, so he did not have a cord injury, only a serious vertebral injury. He is indeed lucky...I hope he knows how lucky he is!


  6. #6


    peters and sci-nurse,
    thanks for your responses and taking the time to read my story. i have quickly realized from a lot of research (on this site and many others) that my injury IS very severe and that thoracic fusion is also very rare.

    sci-nurse, i had a t5 burst fracture (almost half of my vertebrae had basically expoded), which caused my entire spine to shift and compress on itself...much more than just a back was a mess. the doctors basically said i was a miracle and that they couldn't believe that i had not damaged my cord on impact..they expected me to have arrived with no sensation below the chest (as peters describes).

    peters, i will gladly take the pain, b/c again i am here and i have been fortunate enough to be able to walk. i have already shared your story with my husband, i will think of your story regularly and keep you in my prayers. i know it is probably hard, but have faith and keep praying and thank god everyday you have to spend here...with your family, and loved ones.

    though i hope to make a full recovery, i still pray everyday that god let my husband and our 3 yr old twins walk away from our near-fatal accident...ALIVE! i am a different person since our accident...and all i can do at this point is stay positive and thank the lord and everyone around me for their prayers and encouragement too.

    i have a ct scan next week and an appt with surgeon at the end of the month (not the one who actually did my surgery, as my accident happened in georgia). so i hope to hear good news that my bones are fusing and that i am on my way to recovery. i will post updates as i hear them.

    thank you again,

  7. #7
    I am happy for you that you had no cord damage. No one is saying you did not have a severe spinal fracture, but you had NO CORD DAMAGE or you would have had some paralysis, loss of bowel/bladder/sexual function, etc. so you only had a vertebral fracture, although a severe one. You were VERY lucky.


  8. #8
    Thats beyond lucky,its a miracle! Thank the lord. Though I'll admit, I'm quite jealous of your advances....I have to deal with so much nuero pain and problems with bladder and bowels. Grrr...Atleast I have my friends and family, especially my husband, who have stuck with me through out my whole recovery.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Phoenix Arizona
    It is funny how so many of us have similar stories, and very different outcomes. On Feb 8, 2007..(6 days after Peter) I had a horseback riding accident. I broke C7, T3, T4, T5, most of my ribs, cracked my sternum, broke the rt. clavicle, and brachial plexus damage, punctured lung. T4 had totally shattered and went into my spinal cord. I also had some mild neuro damage.
    I was on vacation in Hawaii at the time, and got stuck there. After surgery, 8" rods were implanted thru c thru t zone I went thru a lot of P/T and finally was able to walk well enough to transport back to Arizona where I lived at the time. When I got back to Az. I thought I was recovering quite well, since I could walk some, even though I was having SEVERE muscle spasm. I soon found out that the surgeons in Hawaii had screwed up the surgery, the rods had never been implanted correctly, and had come out, with screws jabbing into my back. Also, because my spine was totally unstable for all those months of P/T, I had developed a Kyphosus (sp) or curvature in my neck, which I was told was going to paralyze me within a few weeks, and that there was no way to repair it.
    Nobody could figure out though, how I was able to walk over the past 3 months with a totally unstable spine?
    An INCREDABLE spinal surgeon in Phx. did a second surgery, replacing the screws that were placed into nerves, removing all of the loose hardware that was just floating around in my back, and he was able to straighten out my spine. He saved my legs.
    I know have 14" rods, and Peter let me tell you... I thank GOD for those rods every day!!! I am now 17 months out since my accident and 14 months out since the last surgery. I can walk 3 miles a day. I went back to work as soon as I could.. which I really believe helped in my recovery. I can even turn my head now. Each month, I can do something that I couldn't the month before.
    Peter, I do have pain, but most of it is due to nerve and muscle damage. I am sure that some of it is due to the rods, but all this hardware really won't inhibit you that much, when you walk again. And I DO BELIEVE, YOU WILL WALK AGAIN!!! The minor pain that the hardware may cause, will be NOTHING compared to what you have already gone thru.
    A funny thing, one constant pain that I do have, is my nipples are constantly sore. The women in my family tell me that now I know what it feels like to have my period<G>
    I do have alot of other pain, but I can live with it. I am thankful that I can feel it, and I know that things will get better. Keep positive Peter. Your family, your friends, and now all of us are rooting for you! And you will be surprised at the recovery that is made over time. It just takes some of us a little longer than others. And research is advancing quickly. I am sorry that this ran on so long, but I just wanted to let you know, that I understand what you are going thru, and it is tough to see others progressing at times, when you feel that you aren't. But give it time. Learn the skills that you can. Don't be afraid to push your limits. And every day tell yourself.... "I love my legs". I'm praying for you. Please keep me posted! Your Feb 2007 buddy.. Dave

  10. #10
    You're a lucky girl! I didn't have much trauma at all, managed to break my neck and damage my spinal cord. You never know. A LOT of people have damaged the spine but had no residual paralysis. Ozzy Ozbourne (ATV), Madonna (Horse), George Clooney (Beating scene in Syriana), Charlize Theron (some movie stunt), all in the past few years and off the top of my head. They're lucky buggers, and so are you!

    So grab the door if you see me struggling in my wheelchair, ok? And don't park in the handicapped spots!

    May the rest of your life have equal good fortune. Your family must seem even more of a blessing now, and well they should.

    I know quite a few with thoracic fusions but even the best cases have some cord deficits.

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