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Thread: Spinal block for scheduled C-section - any others with fusion gone through this?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Spinal block for scheduled C-section - any others with fusion gone through this?

    Hi all, I haven't been on for a long time, probably since I had my son two and a half years ago. I tried to deliver naturally, but was unsuccessful and ended up having a C-section under general anaesthesia. This time, the anaethesiologist would like me to try a spinal block if I go through with a planned C-section (which I most likely will). Due to my fusion (T5 to L2), he told me I am not a candidate for an epidural, but that a spinal block would work. Has anyone else with a fusion had a spinal block for a C-section? Did the fusion affect it in any way? I've had so many problems with my back over the years that I am really nervous about this.
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,261
    I know nothing about this, but wonder why he wants you to have something untried, especially as it's worrying you. The general anaesthetic worked well last time, I gather? Good luck!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101
    Thanks, JenniferG, it's a good question, and I should clarify. A spinal block is safer in general for both the mom and the baby (babies delivered through general anaesthesia get the effects of the anaesthesia and are groggy). They had to use general anaesthesia last time, because I tried for a natural birth, but after 20 hours of labour and 2 hours of pushing, the baby was stuck in my pelvis and they needed to get him out right away. This time, I am going in for a planned C-section, so there will be plenty of time to administer the spinal block. I know several non-fused people who have had spinal blocks for their C-sections, but don't know if having a fusion would complicate things, and am hoping some others in this board have had it and can tell me if it's worth being worried about or not (my default is to worry about everything.
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Hi Sarah,

    I wrote a post to you earlier today but alas it has disappeared--not sure where it went haha.

    Anyway, I was fused as a teen from L4-S1 in 1984 (uninstrumented). I delivered both my kids (ages 11 and 8) by c-section, both with spinals. The first spinal went right in and worked perfectly. The second time the anesthesiologist had trouble and told me she was going up one level. Then it worked fine. I had no effects at all to my back. I had a lumbar scoliosis at the time of around 30-35 degrees. The area they go in is numbed before they start so you do not feel anything beyond the initial injection of local anesthetic.

    It seems like you should do well with a spinal because it would be below your fusion. I felt a lot of pulling and tugging during the deliveries but it did not last long. I was wonderful to be able to hear my babies' first cries and see them right away. If your anesthesiologist thinks it will work for you, I would encourage you to try.

    Congratulations on your coming baby, and please let us know how things go. When is the happy day?
    Gayle, age 49
    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)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    966
    I was not fused when I had my planned c-section with a spinal block. However, I did have severe lumbar scoliosis. They just had to be careful where they inserted the needle. It all worked out fine. I would think since you're only fused to L2, the needle would go below that, right? If so, the fusion would not be am issue, I don't think. Best wishes! Exciting time. :-)

    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Sis for Sarah,
    I just had a total hip replacement seven weeks ago and had a spinal because general anesthesia makes me very sick. I am fused from L2- S1. The Anesthesiologist wasn't sure he could do it, but do it he did. Recovery from surgery is much easier with a spinal than from general anesthesia and if there is something in it for the baby, do it. You will be fine.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101
    I have been having trouble getting on this site, but just wanted to say "thank you", Gayle, Evelyn and Sally for your responses. I feel much better now about having a spinal block with a fused spine and am definitely going ahead with it for my c-section, which is scheduled for next Thursday!
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525
    I agree with all of the above, but most especially Gayle's comment about being able to enjoy the first moments after the birth having had a spinal vs waking up after a general to find out that you had a baby. If your partner can be with you when you have the spinal delivery, then that is another moment that the two(or three!) of you can share. Spinal recovery is so much easier than general anesthesia recovery, plus it has much less risk which is a biggie.

    So, enjoy your birth and relax. You might want to talk with your OB MD and remind him/her that you have back surgery and that you would appreciate it if an anesthesiologist "with a lot of experience" could be assigned to your case.

    Congratulations in advance, 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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101

    Update:)

    Just wanted to give an update for anyone else considering a spinal anaethesia after having spinal fusion - it worked on me really well! Although I was extremely nervous, I had a very calm, supportive anaesthsist (I'm sure I'm not spelling that right and it went well - no pain or problem inserting the needle. No back problems after due to the spinal (just my usual issues with repeatedly lifting a growing infant, that I keep in check through physio and physio exercises). It was nice to be able to nurse my daughter in the recovery room, which I definitely wasn't able to do after my general anaethesia with my first child. I highly recommend it to those who need it for a C-section.
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,160
    Dear Sarah,

    That is wonderful to hear, and I am so glad everything worked out well with the delivery of your daughter! I thought about you and wondered how everything went, but I know how busy it is with a toddler and new baby.

    It would be good to have your pediatrician keep an eye on their backs as they grow. Just a quick yearly visual check and forward bend should be sufficient.

    Congratulations on your daughter's birth. I am sure your posts will help others in the future pondering the same question.

    Take care,
    Gayle, age 49
    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)
    5/10 VBS Dr Luhmann Shriners St Louis
    5/16 6 yrs post-op, 24*T/ 22* L, mild increase in curves, watching

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

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