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Thread: surgery to remove hardware

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    surgery to remove hardware

    Hi All,

    I was fused T2-L1 3 years ago. For the past 6 months, my back pain has been pretty constant. i saw my surgeon (Dr. Boachie at HSS) and he said that I had bursa from the rods. I've been in physical therapy 3 times/week going on 3 weeks and he prescribed it for a month. My therapist is doing ultrasound, electro stim, massage and some exercises.. I feel so much better for about two hours and then as soon as I do something the pain comes back (example- vacuuming). It's not always sharp (sometimes is), but it's just constant on the upper part of my back.. worsens when I'm leaning against the back of a chair or laying on my back.

    I should add that I'm in sales, so my job is physical.. walking around the city all day (usually in heels) and carrying a heavy bag. But, good news is that I only do this 3 days/week.

    Has anyone had similar problems? Has anyone had hardware removed? Dr. Boachie mentioned this as an option, but wanted to try PT first.

    If he told me that my pain would go away, I would absolutely have the surgery. Unfortunately, no one can predict that!

    Thanks for any feedback,

    Lesly

  2. #2
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    Sep 2007
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    Geneseo, NY
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    133
    Probably your appearance is important in your work, but the first thing I would change is those shoes, unless the heels are very low. Also, a shoe with a cushioned surface greatly reduces the force of impact through your spine. Also, you should be using something with wheels to carry that heavy bag.
    Last edited by JulieBW; 02-11-2010 at 11:12 AM.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    237
    I hope you use a wheeled bag to carry your stuff and try putting some of those dr. scholl gel things in your shoes.
    avis
    Last edited by theizzard; 02-11-2010 at 11:30 AM. Reason: can't spell
    1987 Lumbar Laminectomy (forget which levels)
    2005 A/P fusion, L2 - L5, 2/2005
    2009 2 Posterior fusions, T6 - Pelvis, 2/10 & 2/18,
    Dr. Frank Rand, NEBH

  4. #4
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    Euharlee, Georgia
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    Try a heating pad for the pain. I also exercise in a heated (90 degrees) pool. You might just need to strengthen your back muscles to stop some of your pain.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    88
    Thanks everyone for your replies..
    Yes, of course I know that I shouldn't wear heels and I really don't wear them often. I only do when seeing clients, and that probably won't change! But again, I'm only working 3 days/week, and wearing comfortable shoes for most of the time.
    I've been using heat a lot.. PT seems to help short-term, but I still find myself extremely uncomfortable leaning against my back (sitting on a couch against a pillow or even laying in bed). My therapist said that the pockets of fluid (he calls them nodules) were starting to go away, but this morning he said they're back.
    I'm not sure what to do.. I'll see my surgeon again in a couple of weeks and discuss surgery. From what I've heard/read I don't think it's common to have these problems, but I'm going to continue to do what I can to avoid surgery!
    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Lesly

  6. #6
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    May 2009
    Location
    Topeka, KS
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    Dear Lesly,
    I know what you mean - occasionaloly I have to wear shoes in my position at work too and I can feel it in the evenings on those days, too. But, as someone said, appearance means a lot in our work too. And, if we don't have good appearance we don't make money. If we don't make money, we don't have insurance and we all know what won't happen if we don't have insurance.... OMG!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
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    1,291

    Thumbs down removing hardware

    Removing the hardware has sometimes lead to, even the fused spine, to recurve.
    I had bursas during my healing period. Dr. Boachie mentioned the possibility of "injecting them". Was that discussed with you?
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Houston, TX
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    I'm 100% with Karen on "thumbs down with removing hardware" for this. The situation would have to be extreme (as in a current infection) for me, personally, to even consider it.

    Also, over the last month, I've seen a few posts about people who've been told they have "bursas" - as a diagnosis.

    I find this confusing because *everyone* has something like 150+ bursas (bursae) in their body: All they are is small fluid filled sacs that basically cushion/lubricate the synovial joints.

    Bursitis is the condition that occurs when you have pain caused by the swelling of a bursa. Tennis elbow is a common example. Bursitis can usually be related to overuse, and R.I.C.E. treatment applies (elevation could be tricky ;-). As Karen also mentioned, steroid injections can also be a very effective treatment. I received a few many years ago (for Achilles bursitis), and got really nice results.

    That said, as far as I know, there aren't bursae in the spine.

    Definitely, I'd ditch heels (at all ... unless you're content to live with this), and I'd think that heat is only aggravating inflammation.

    Just my $.02. Good luck to you.
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op ±53°, Post-op < 20°
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
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  9. #9
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    May 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by txmarinemom View Post
    I'm 100% with Karen on "thumbs down with removing hardware" for this. The situation would have to be extreme (as in a current infection) for me, personally, to even consider it.

    Also, over the last month, I've seen a few posts about people who've been told they have "bursas" - as a diagnosis.

    I find this confusing because *everyone* has something like 150+ bursas (bursae) in their body: All they are is small fluid filled sacs that basically cushion/lubricate the synovial joints.

    Bursitis is the condition that occurs when you have pain caused by the swelling of a bursa. Tennis elbow is a common example. Bursitis can usually be related to overuse, and R.I.C.E. treatment applies (elevation could be tricky ;-). As Karen also mentioned, steroid injections can also be a very effective treatment. I received a few many years ago (for Achilles bursitis), and got really nice results.

    That said, as far as I know, there aren't bursae in the spine.

    Definitely, I'd ditch heels (at all ... unless you're content to live with this), and I'd think that heat is only aggravating inflammation.

    Just my $.02. Good luck to you.

    Hey Pam,

    whatever happened to the internal stitch(es) that were poking out? I remember you said that maybe they'd have to come out to make sure they didn't cause infection.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by debbei View Post
    Hey Pam,

    whatever happened to the internal stitch(es) that were poking out? I remember you said that maybe they'd have to come out to make sure they didn't cause infection.
    I haven't even given these much thought, Debbe. Two are still there, but aren't causing an issue.

    The one that was *right* on my lumbar attachment area apparently drew back: I could palpate it for the longest time, but it's gone. Don't ask me when it disappeared.

    The one between the top of my shoulder blades is resting just under the skin. You can still see a distinct blue dot where it sits.

    Ditto with the one that rests at about mid-scapular level.

    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op ±53°, Post-op < 20°
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    88
    Yes, Karen... Dr. Boachie mentioned injections.. but that is only temporary. I didn't want to get one when I was there last (I try to avoid needles!!), but I may try that next time. I just don't see the point if it only works for a few days!?! I can't remember if you said you had them?

    Yes, bursa is normal.. but the inflammation is not I guess. I didn't think that I should be using heat either, but I'm just doing as told by my Physical Therapist. He's very good- has 30+ years experience, so I'm trusting him!

    What's interesting about the shoes, is that of course when I wear heels, it bothers my back.. but the pain I'm talking about is more to the touch.. it's not the ache that I also feel daily. I can deal with the aches. What I'm having trouble dealing with is not being able to sit with my back against a couch or lay in bed comfortably. It's incredibly frustrating! I just wish there was something that could give me some relief for more than a few hours

  12. #12
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
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    I was under the impression that new bursas formed aroung the hardware(as the bone grew around it) during healing but maybe I was mistaken.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  13. #13
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    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Ocker View Post
    I was under the impression that new bursas formed aroung the hardware(as the bone grew around it) during healing but maybe I was mistaken.
    I don't think they're technically bursae as much as cysts that develop in "bursa-like clefts" ... and I won't even guess how common they are with scoliosis surgery: Recent posts were actually the first I've heard it described.

    This paper that talks about something that sounds quite similar ... juxtafacet cysts.

    I'm curious to know the answer. Best of luck to you, Lesly.

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op ±53°, Post-op < 20°
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    hey lesly
    so sorry to hear about your pain.....
    you have my full sympathy!

    some people get temporary relief with pain management ....like me...i havent had the surgery...yet...

    some people report long term (months to years) relief with pain management...everyone is different...IF your insurance covers it, what would it hurt to consult with a good pain management doctor..?

    i realize the best thing is to get rid of the cause...but that is not always possible.....

    just a suggestion......

    jess

  15. #15
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    May 2008
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    reno,nevada
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    My bursitis joke

    Pam

    Do you remember when I posted a while back about this Osteopath that I visited. He adjusted me which was great, and then he had diagnosed me as having "bursitis of the buttocks"?

    I went back to work and told everyone that I "broke my ass"

    You should have seen some of the looks I got from my co-workers. LMAO
    It really was worth it.

    For good laughs, DO NOT go to a scoliosis trained surgeon.

    Lesly
    Even though I do all sorts of things that would make any Doctor cringe, I don’t think that I would hold up very well having to carrying a heavy bag in heels. LOL Activities like vacuuming and washing cars are not the greatest things for our backs.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

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