View Full Version : 1 month post-hardware removal - and my curve is re-curving

12-04-2010, 08:04 AM
To recap, I was fused T-3 to L-3 on 8/25/09. . .my thoracic curve was 86*. Because of pain, and a ? non-union, all hardware was removed 11/2. In this last week, I noticed that my spine seems to be heading back to it's former curve. My pain level has increased, the mirror supports this, and my husband mentioned yesterday that,when he kissed me good-bye, I seemed shorter.

I have my post-op appt on 12/13. The plan is to do a CT in 6 - 12 mos to check for non-union. When he took the hardware out, he said he thought I had fused, but we'd go ahead w/the CT to verify. Unless I'm imagining this re-curving. . .this, I gather, means some area has not fused, and he'll go back and re-instrument. Would I get the same correction I had w/the first surgery (I was happy w/that - my curve was reduced by about half)? My worst fear as that somehow it's fused, but slipping, and I'm un-fixable now.

Thoughts/ Experiences?

12-05-2010, 02:19 PM
Sorry for this "bump". . .I am hoping that someone has some thought on this.

Somehow, I never thought that, with the removal of the hardware, I'd re-curve - and so quickly. Also, I thought I'd be pretty much recovered by now, and I'm not. I'm trying to be optimistic, but my optimism is slipping.

12-05-2010, 07:05 PM

Before you go through the CT (and extra radiation), you should report your findings to the surgeon. If your spine is re-curving a simple xray is all that's needed to diagnose the problem.


12-05-2010, 07:41 PM
I'm so sorry to hear this bad news Mgs. Please speak to your surgeon and get an x-ray done asap. We will all be wanting to know what's happening with your spine. Good luck!

12-05-2010, 10:27 PM
First I would like to say that I am sorry for all the problems you have. I would like to have how it was that it was determined that your hardware was causing your pain. I am 7 months out from surgery and have been and still are in much pain.


12-07-2010, 05:43 PM
I'm sorry that I took a while to reply to your question, Melissa.

When I had my 1 yr follow up appt (Sept 2), I described to my dr, as best I could, the pain that I was having (other than that area, I felt great, all the way around). He said that how I described that pain made him suspect a non-union. His best guess was that the pain I was feeling was due to a non-union, to infection, or to hardware irritating my muscles. He did say that he rarely does hardware removal. . .that, w/lumbar pain, the risk:benefit ratio usually doesn't justify giving it a try. However, because my pain was more upper thoracic, removal might solve the problem.

I suspect that my recovery isn't going as it should. Like I said, I feel like my thoracic verts are traveling to their former location. I have noticed that my breaths are more shallow. I have, as the day wears on, a more difficult time standing up. How I feel now is worse than I felt 2 weeks ago. I had cut back on my narcs (by about 1/2), but have increased them in this last week, to about the amount I was taking post-op week 2. By the end of the day, I look like a bent-up old lady.

If I need another surgery. . .if I need to go back to square 1, and have the fusion surgery all over again, and do it all again, so be it. I just hope that this can be corrected (whether that means time, or further surgery). I want the correction that I had before last month's removal surgery, and I hope that's possible.

Melissa, I hope your pain dwindles as these weeks go by.

Mary Ann

12-07-2010, 08:48 PM
I am now 7 months post op and feel worse than I did before my surgery. I do not know what I am going to do if my pain does not lessen. My surgeon keeps telling me that it is not my hardware so I really do not know what is going on. I hope that you get some relief as well


12-26-2010, 11:39 AM
I had my first post-hardware removal appt on Dec 13 (1 day shy of 6 weeks post-op). At that point, I was in substantial pain every day. Oxycontin and oxycodone were providing just enough relief that I didn't cry. I was not in that much pain 6 weeks post fusion surgery. The x-ray showed a 5* loss of correction (but, he explained, it's a difficult call this early. . .there is a 5* statistical error anyway, so I'm at that borderline). As the day progresses, I am more and more hunched over. His opinion is that there is a good liklihood that I am re-curving. He'll see me again on Feb 14 - he doesn't want to wait too long before the next x-ray, in case I'm losing ground too fast. He hopes that I can "hang in there" until 6 mos from the removal before getting a CT, so that he can get a better image.

Happily, the pain situation is much better. Three days after my dr visit, I had a car accident. I hit black ice and the car fishtailed until a group of small trees stopped it. The car is totaled, and I didn't feel so great, either. Long story short, I'm OK. .. I did start taking Advil for the soft tissue injury and felt the most pain relief I had felt in weeks! So, I now am taking Advil, and an occasional Flexaril, and no narcs.

In these 2 weeks (tomorrow) since my appt, my curve has worsened. I can see it in the mirror. I showed my husband and he said that yes, he sees it, too (he's an MD - but not an ortho). . .my scar, which goes from the base of my neck to my rear end, was straight. The scar is looking more "S". Actually, I can feel it re-curving (my muscles feel it) as my spine tries to shift back to where it used to be.

Good news: My surgeon says that, if this is indeed the case, all that I will have lost will "be gainable".