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View Full Version : Infection years after surgery?



Gail
03-26-2006, 06:55 AM
Robin posted this comment in a thread. I am curious to know if indeed infection around a rod is common years after surgery, even if you didn't have any infection after the surgery. Also, can other infections caused by a cold etc move to the area of fusion, or is the infection around the rods due only to the surgery?

"Two years later I developed an infection from the rods and had to have them removed (apparently a common thing). "

Kindest Regards,
Gail

LindaRacine
03-26-2006, 01:27 PM
Hi Gail...

They're relatively uncommon. Here's the abstract of one large cohort:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11052352&query_hl=3&itool=pubmed_docsum

If you do the match, you'll see that only 0.1% of the group had a late onset infection.

My understanding is that the older one is, the higher the risk of this (or any) type of infection.

Regards,
Linda

cwhite
03-27-2006, 08:22 AM
Is it possible that the infection mentioned above wasn't really an infection, but in fact an allergic reaction to the rods? I'm not sure what the Harrington rods are made of but I have heard patients who may be allergic to nickel can sometimes have some complications. Now days most rods are made out of titanium which helps to avoid this problem. Just my thought...

sweetness514
03-27-2006, 02:57 PM
I think infections can happen years after surgery, b/c when they performed surgery on me this last December, they did a test to see if I had one. But I had a broken rod, maybe that was mostly the reason of the test, and the result took a few days, since they said that they not always see it, as well as we don't always feel it.

LindaRacine
03-27-2006, 04:02 PM
I believe that late onset infections are usually infections started elsewhere in the body, that get to the implants and that then cannot be defeated because there is no blood supply to the implants.

--Linda

Gail
03-27-2006, 07:46 PM
Linda,

What you posted is exactly what I am wanting to find out more about.

Can you explain your comments a little more. Do you mean that an infection possibly like a sinus infection...makes it way to the implants and then doesn't receive enough blood supply to fight the infection? Do you mean that the infection just gathers around say the titanium rods and just gets worse? I always thought that bone has blood supply since they remove the spinous process to acquire "bleeding bone" for the fusion. Help me out. This is really disturbing to me. I'm thinking that if I get some type of bad cold...instead of the doctor trying to guess if it is a viral or bacteria infection he should be pro-active and go ahead and give me anti-biotics. I know you are not a medical professional...but on this site, you are the next best thing! And, if anyone has any connections to numerous spine surgeons... it is you.

Thanking you in advance for your time.

Kindest Regards,
Gail

LindaRacine
03-27-2006, 08:30 PM
Hi Gail...

Unfortunately, I don't really know much more than I've already posted. Apparently, it's only a tiny percentage of infections that actually attach themselves to implants. I had a big time bacterial infection three years ago. It was handled with IV antibiotics for about 3 weeks and oral antibiotics for another month or so. It doesn't appear to have been affected by my implants in any manner. A friend of mine got an infection a few years after her surgery. They opened up her back several times to clean things out, and she was on antibiotics for years. Eventually, they took out her implants because they just couldn't permanently shake the infection. She's been free of infection since then.

Some people with implants take prophylactic antibiotics before any dental work. I do not, and when I've discussed this with spine surgeons, they've indicated that they tell patients to use the antibiotics if the patient asks about it. However, if the patient doesn't ask, they do not recommend it. I take that to mean that they're covering their butt, but honestly feel that prophylactic antibiotics aren't all that useful.

Regards,
Linda