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Thread: Removing screws and rods?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    tennessee
    Posts
    1

    Staph infection 12 yrs after surgery

    Hello there. I've noticed several postings about Staph infection. I had Harrington Rod surgery when I was 12 and developed staph infection 12 years later. I have been battling the infection for over 3 years. In Nov 2001 and Feb 2002 they lanced the site of the infection, suctioned it out, and treated me with oral antibiotics. The last surgey in 2002 they gave me Vacomycin thru an IV and I had a severe reaction called Red Man's Syndrome (anaphylatic shock). Needless to say I'm not looking forward to having another surgery. I've been treated with oral IV level antibiotics every since. The infection comes and goes, and I've recently been told that I need to consider surgery to remove the rods. I have been been told that the infection will never go away as long as i have the rods. I have also heard horror stories about this surgery and my family isn't too happy with the idea of me having the rods removed. I am now 29 years old and never had any problems until the infection 3 yrs ago. Now I have lower back pain frequently that sometimes goes into my tailbone and legs, plus i have to fight the infection. My immune system is weak and I catch everything that goes around. I saw Bunnie's post about her daughter and though it sounded so familar. I've been doing alot of research and still confused on a decison. I've agreed to talk to a surgeon and get some opinions but the whole thing is overwhelming, especially with family and friends telling me not to do it. I realise that I may not have a choice, I cant live on antibiotics the rest of my life.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    67

    staph infections

    In reading so much about theses staph infections, I was wondering where they come from and how can they be avoided? How common is this problem?
    Tiny

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Tiny and Calico...

    Here are links for abstracts of a few studies that might be of interest:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=15553799
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q..._uids=15549484

    Tiny, staph is everywhere in the environment, including your skin.

    I have a friend who had a deep wound infection that was discovered about 5 years after her surgery. It was treated with multiple courses of IV and oral antibiotics. Finally, she had her implants removed about 6 months ago, and it looks like she's finally got the problem licked.

    Calico, if you're on the wall about the implant removal surgery, I'd like to give you one piece of information that it seems doctors rarely tell their patients. I don't want to frighten you, but I think it's important to know that infectious bacteria eat away at your bones. So, if an infection is allowed to go on for a long time, it can cause the spine to lose some of its mass. From what I've heard from those who have gone through it, implant removal surgery is usually a relatively easy surgery.

    Good luck!

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Dinwiddie,VA
    Posts
    8
    I had a fusion with Harrington rods implanted in 1989 when I was 19 and never had any problems until about 5 years ago. I started feeling pain in my lumbar area and for 4 years no xray or any other test could find anything wrong then miraculously after 4 years of severe pain they found a piece of the rod was bent and pressing on the spinal cord so last March I had that piece removed and not replaced. As a result of the surgery though I now have nerve damage in my hip and leg and excruciating pain in those areas. My discs at L1 and S1 are also deteriorated because of the rod pressing there for so long before they caught the problem. I have just been approved for SS disability. I just wanted to let you know, make sure you get a second opinion before you do anything. Yea the doctors told me because I was so thin too that was what was causing the pain(122 pounds) but I knew that wasn't the case. Take care.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Gulf Coast, USA
    Posts
    22
    Thanks for all the information. I didn't realize that infection could crop up years later, even though infection wasn't there during the original surgery. Live and learn.

    I agree, "too thin" seems to be a cop-out. The pains I feel don't seem to have anything to do with lack of fat. Those screws poke into my skin and it hurts, especially when I lean back on them or lie down on them. "Too thin" my eye! I could afford to lose a few pounds. I'm about 20 to 25 pounds heavier than I should be -- and I don't want to be SKINNY.

    Something I forgot to mention about my MRSA (staph infection) treatments: I went through a series of 20 hyperbaric oxygen treatments for my staph infection.

    I was put in a single-person chamber and it feels something like being in an airplane on descent. The pressure on the ears is very strong. I had to be treated with Sudafed about an hour before HBO treatment and used earplugs during the treatment to make me more comfortable.

    Do a Google search on "Hyperbaric Oxygen" and it will bring up lots of links and lots of information, including photos.

    My doctors credit the HBO treatments for my recovery of the infection.
    Sid Rid
    (female)

    Age 52
    Surgery May, 2002
    T4-S1
    MRSA staph infection

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    B. H.,NJ
    Posts
    4
    Hi! I Had AP fusion T4-S1 and I am having stabbing pain at T3. I am looking for some relief as well.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Blondy...

    When was your surgery?

    --Linda

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    B. H.,NJ
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy

    Linda, Dr. Boachie did my surgery in April, 1999. The rod at T3 never fused properly and I have pain from it rubbing the adjacent muscle causing inflamation across my upper shouders neck head etc. I need some direction in how I should proceed in fixing the problem. Boachie just wants to cut off the end if the rod. I am not so sure that will be the cure-all. I am 59 years old and basically in good health. Thanks.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Hi Blondy...

    I'm curious as to why Dr. Boachie wouldn't want to refuse the T2-T3 or T3-T4 disc. However, the surgery to cut off the rod would almost certainly be an easy surgery. If it were me, I'd probably give it a try if I felt the doctor had a good reason to suggest it.

    Interestingly, I recently started having a lot of pain at the top of my fusion, and now the rod is prominent on the left side. I'm thinking that I may have had a screw pull out. If my doctor recommends that I have some of my instrumentation removed, I'll definitely go for it.

    Regards,
    Linda

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    austinl tx
    Posts
    112
    Linda,
    I am sorry to hear you are having trouble with your rods.
    You have been a great help to me.
    My dtr said on our recent visit to her surgeon he told her she had titanium rods.
    I was zoned out looking at the xrays and didn't realize what type rods were put in her.
    Does anyone know the pros and cons of the rods they use now?
    Linda do you have harrington rods? Are those still used?
    Keep us posted so we can support you as you have us..
    mamakay
    now 16 yr old daughter
    with worsen 65 degree upper curve
    surgery Nov 3, 04

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Hi Mamakay...

    Harrington rods are rarely used any longer, at least in the U.S. Mostly, what is used for posterior surgery, are what is called a universal system. They're stainless steel or titanium rods, attached to the spine by hooks, screws, or more uncommonly, wires.

    My implants are C-D, which was the first universal system.

    Titanium implants weigh less, and don't interfere with MRIs. However, they're more brittle than stainless steel, so can break faster in certain circumstances. And, titanium is considerably more expensive than SS. I don't know if insurance companies push doctors to use SS, but it seems to me that they might.

    Regards,
    Linda

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Gulf Coast, USA
    Posts
    22
    Thanks for all your responses, especially yours, Linda, with the information on the types of rods.

    I have titanium rods. Before surgery my doctor said there are no allergic reactions to titanium like there are to stainless steel. Just my luck, I have an allergy to my rods. They make me itch all the time and I must stay on lots of allergy medications to keep the itching down to a minimum. I'm always getting someone to scratch my back.

    I'm reluctant to have more surgery to have the rods removed because of the MRSA I caught last time. It was no fun. Also, I'm not ready for additional surgery at this time. I'm just now able to feel more like my old self, my self in my 30s when the pain wasn't as awful as it was just before surgery when I was desperate for any relief.

    I do have an appointment with my doctor on Monday so we'll go from there. I also have degenerative cervical spinal disease (neck) that also might require surgery. Ugh!

    Someone asked me what MRSA stands for: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is resistant to all but one antibiotic, I think, and it can be deadly. I was very lucky I made it through. It also causes other frightening and deadly conditions. Not good at all. So now you know my reluctance for additional surgery.
    Sid Rid
    (female)

    Age 52
    Surgery May, 2002
    T4-S1
    MRSA staph infection

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    B. H.,NJ
    Posts
    4
    Hi!
    I have had itching in my back since my surgery T3-S1. I never attributed it to allergy. I scratch myself raw. My husband is always rubbing cream on my back. Regards Blondy232

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,291

    itching

    I had itching which I attributed to my nerves healing. It occurred in various places and it went away. I still get it rarery in a new area that is "waking up". It is not relieved by scratching.

    I am positive it is not from my hardware(stainless steel).

    Karen
    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

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Hi Blondy...

    When was your surgery? Do you actually get a rash or hives? I think it's something to report to your surgeon.

    I've felt the same thing that Karen mentioned. It will about drive you nuts. It's an itch that cannot be scratched.

    Regards,
    Linda

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