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Thread: What is the point of post-surgical restrictions really?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    18

    What is the point of post-surgical restrictions really?

    If I feel like bending to pick something off the floor, what can it hurt? I may be a little sore after, so. . .? Am I messing up my fusion to do things like that? Will it make me less straight? I don't think it will pull anything loose. Just wondered. Need a little fear to keep me in line I guess. I'm 4 months post surgery now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
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    Hi there,

    as someone who suffered broken rods and a huge revision surgery to fix them, I am absolutely open-mouthed reading your post.

    After going through this huge surgery and difficult recovery, how can you have such a careless, defiant attitude about your doctor's restrictions? You apparently fail to realize that your doctor gave you the restrictions for a good reason (so you don't harm your still-healing back and mess it all up), not just to be mean or annoy you. Yes, you can potentially pull things loose, or disrupt the fusion process. That's why your doctor gave you restrictions in the first place.

    So yes, to be very clear, you must follow your doctor's orders unless you want to mess up your back and risk jeopardizing your healing from the surgery. If you do not respect the activity restrictions, you definitely should. It's that simple. You need to find some fear and respect your doctor's instructions.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    18

    Is it too personal to ask how your rods broke?

    [QUOTE=leahdragonfly;145363]Hi there,

    as someone who suffered broken rods and a huge revision surgery to fix them, I am absolutely open-mouthed reading your post.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    Where to find the blog on Gayle's broken rod

    [QUOTE=amelot;145384]
    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    Hi there,

    as someone who suffered broken rods and a huge revision surgery to fix them, I am absolutely open-mouthed reading your post.
    I am sure that Gayle will reply soon, but she has details about the rod breaking on:
    12-15-2011, 11:12 AM#1
    "The pop that was hear around the world". Go to Surgical Revisions and type in "leahdragonfly" in the box on the upper R corner. The blog is about 1/2 way down the page.
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,162
    Hi amelot,

    here is a link to my posts about my broken rods and revision surgery:

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...ound+the+world

    Basically, the first rod broke when I was just standing still, barely leaning forward a minimal amount. The break was undetectable on imaging. A month later I was changing into my work scrubs and dropped my shirt on the floor. I bent over to pick it up and felt/heard a tremendous and painful pop. I had x-rays again, and this time both rods were clearly and visibly broken.
    Gayle, age 50
    Oct 2010 fusion T8-sacrum w/ pelvic fixation
    Feb 2012 lumbar revision for broken rods @ L2-3-4
    Sept 2015 major lumbar A/P revision for broken rods @ L5-S1


    mom of Leah, 15 y/o, Diagnosed '08 with 26* T JIS (age 6)
    2010 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    2017 curves stable/skeletely mature

    also mom of Torrey, 12 y/o son, 16* T, stable

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    Okay, I agree with everything everyone has said about following doctors' orders. But, just an FYI, Dr. Lenke told me at 5 WEEKS post-op that I could begin to lift restrictions. I have since often wondered if he forgot how far along I was (or wasn't) when he said that. But that's what he said. Also, the booklet they give all the patients at Barnes says the BLT restrictions are for four months--not one year.

    However, having said all that, I am constantly worried that I screwed up something in the S1 area early on. I was on the phone one day and, not thinking, started to sit down on my bed by hiking my leg up like I would have before surgery. Ouch!!! Not long after that I started experiencing the hip/butt/leg pain that I still have at 9-months postop. Moral of the story: I wish I had been more careful!!

    Evelyn
    age 44
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    18

    Very helpful and VERY scary!

    Quote Originally Posted by leahdragonfly View Post
    Hi amelot,

    here is a link to my posts about my broken rods and revision surgery:

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...ound+the+world

    Basically, the first rod broke when I was just standing still, barely leaning forward a minimal amount. The break was undetectable on imaging. A month later I was changing into my work scrubs and dropped my shirt on the floor. I bent over to pick it up and felt/heard a tremendous and painful pop. I had x-rays again, and this time both rods were clearly and visibly broken.
    Is there no way they could have told you that you weren't totally fused?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,555
    Amelot

    It sounds like you are doing great.....and at the 4 month stage many of us feel like we make huge leaps in improvement.

    Healing time can be a confusing thing....especially when you get hit by a truck,(surgery) then heal, it feels like you are doing pretty darn good and you are ready to push the limits. These limits we all hit at some point and create pain.

    Text books will say 12 months for “bone” to fuse. This is plus and minus many months, and they REALLY DON’T KNOW at what rates bone heals at. In a child, I could imagine extremely rapid rates, and in an adult these rates must be at a slower rate.

    Fusion material, or the bone that’s healing can be like stone or cheesecake....this is how this can vary, and it only makes sense to give it the time it needs to heal. If the integrity is compromised for some reason, your rods will eventually break at some point. If they break, you will need more surgery.....revision surgery.

    If it takes a year, and you are at 4 months, and me being lousy at math, that leaves a long way to go.....(smiley face)

    Bending produces and incredible amount of force in the spine. Its extremely high, and you don’t want to take that chance right now. Do the one leg squat, with one hand on your knee and go down with your spine vertical with no bending.

    Build your leg muscles by practicing squats. Do this at the kitchen counter with one hand on one knee and one hand on the counter.

    Left hand on counter, right hand on right knee, left leg bends back. Go down and reach without bending.

    Walk like a model on the catwalk. Head up, spine straight and erect. Keep this thought in your mind. Your in catwalk training......and stay on the catwalk.

    We are all models in our recoveries.....remember Right Said Fred? “I’m so sexy, it hurts” That’s our theme song you know. LOL

    Keep up the good work!
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,801
    Until fusion really gets started, you can definitely pull screws out. And, often, if you end up with a screw or screws pulling out, you may need to have your fusion extended up or down. That's a risk most of us aren't willing to take.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Warsaw, MO
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    Quote Originally Posted by amelot View Post
    If I feel like bending to pick something off the floor, what can it hurt? I may be a little sore after, so. . .? Am I messing up my fusion to do things like that? Will it make me less straight? I don't think it will pull anything loose. Just wondered. Need a little fear to keep me in line I guess. I'm 4 months post surgery now.
    Oh my goodness! Very important to follow directions! I have a short fusion and am cautious to follow all my doctors instructions to a tee! I work daily with feet and when we do surgical proceedures such as a bunionectomy and we say no weight bearing, we mean no weight bearing! I have had patients not follow directions and messed the pin up which caused their foot to go back to looking deformed and then massive infection follows. Be careful and do what your told!

    Tamena

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    18

    That's exactly the kick in the pants/encouragement I needed!

    Thank you so much for your responses! I don't mean to be a wise (insert your own word here) but I really needed to hear that from patients. I have new twin grandbabies and a special needs grandbaby and it's very hard to overcome the maternal (grandternal?) instincts to help out, but your responses have strengthened my resolve to behave myself. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!

  12. #12
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    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by amelot View Post
    Thank you so much for your responses! I don't mean to be a wise (insert your own word here) but I really needed to hear that from patients. I have new twin grandbabies and a special needs grandbaby and it's very hard to overcome the maternal (grandternal?) instincts to help out, but your responses have strengthened my resolve to behave myself. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!
    Your investment today and for the next 8 months or so....and forever in doing some things will pay off in the future when you are healed and finally totally fused. It will be a shame to undue some of the hardware and suffer an injury that gives lifelong limitations and pain being cavalier and reckless about limiting yourself now. Sounds like you are feeling pretty good physically, and while that is GREAT, it makes you want to do more and take more risks. Sometimes damage from too much activity and not restricting yourself will give longterm changes that cannot be undone. I have not had surgery, but am a medical professional who has seen some damage from people who don't listen to restrictions advice postop. Sometimes, it's really ugly.

    So, bite the bullet and restrict yourself. Your grandkids will always be around to love and you to help them. Help out how you can...remembering that it is an investment in your FUTURE.

    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

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