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Thread: Infected hardware info/help for those who have dealt with it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Infected hardware info/help for those who have dealt with it?

    Hi all--
    I'm not on here much anymore as I will be 5 years in March. Now I have a question which I'm not sure is surgically related but thought I'd ask. I've been having a terrible lower backache mostly on the left side for quite a while which seemed to wrap around to stomach area. I really had thought it was just a temporary thing where my back was just off and it would go away. The last week and a half got too bad and finally I went to doctor yesterday. Been through tons of tests. They have as today found 2 markers of infection--sedimentation rate was 97 (should be 0-20) and C-Reactive Protein was 5.2 (should be .1-1.0) I noticed 4 years ago a few months after surgery my report showed it was 40 and 1.3 respectively which is also high if that means anything. Doctor said we need to find where infection is coming from. Some not so good things that could cause it of course--also hardware infection. I've had very mild fevers and I see no redness on the scar.
    They can't get me in for MRI and another "nuclear-type" test until next Tues/Wed. & she had wanted it today or tomorrow so I have way to much time to think about this.
    ?'s--MRI's are OK with the hardware? I sent the doctor all the kinds of metal-- titanium cages, stainless steel everything else.
    --if you had hardware infection was the Sed rate and CRP elevated?
    Thanks for any info. Just realized I should have put this on Revision! Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doodles View Post
    Hi all--
    I'm not on here much anymore as I will be 5 years in March. Now I have a question which I'm not sure is surgically related but thought I'd ask. I've been having a terrible lower backache mostly on the left side for quite a while which seemed to wrap around to stomach area. I really had thought it was just a temporary thing where my back was just off and it would go away. The last week and a half got too bad and finally I went to doctor yesterday. Been through tons of tests. They have as today found 2 markers of infection--sedimentation rate was 97 (should be 0-20) and C-Reactive Protein was 5.2 (should be .1-1.0) I noticed 4 years ago a few months after surgery my report showed it was 40 and 1.3 respectively which is also high if that means anything. Doctor said we need to find where infection is coming from. Some not so good things that could cause it of course--also hardware infection. I've had very mild fevers and I see no redness on the scar.
    They can't get me in for MRI and another "nuclear-type" test until next Tues/Wed. & she had wanted it today or tomorrow so I have way to much time to think about this.
    ?'s--MRI's are OK with the hardware? I sent the doctor all the kinds of metal-- titanium cages, stainless steel everything else.
    --if you had hardware infection was the Sed rate and CRP elevated?
    Thanks for any info. Just realized I should have put this on Revision! Janet
    Hi Janet, I'm so sorry to hear about this set back. You were doing so well too. I take it they did blood tests four months out from surgery and found elevated readings then? What was said/done about it at the time? Any follow up blood tests? What was the reason they did the blood test at four months - were you having any symptoms then?

    I'm sure the mri will reveal where the problem is, shame you have to wait and suffer the next week, for it.

    I had a cardiac mri and was told he could read it perfectly. I think the new mri machines are ok with titanium rods.

    I hope someone here with experience of infections can help settle the anxiety a bit. Thinking of you. Best of luck, Janet.
    Jen
    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
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    Jennifer--
    Thanks for your info and kind words. You have been so great about always staying with folks on here and encouraging and providing help! I looked at the copies of my tests again and for these 2 "markers"--Sed Rate and CRP-- previously just said "4 years ago". Had no idea about those until looked at these copies. They were probably taken when I had a bunch of other tests one month after and also 4 months after surgery. At one month they were testing for hemoglobin, platelets, etc. --5 of which were very low. I had such low blood pressure, etc. they were ready to hospitalize me and give me another transfusion. They actually didn't. I was so out of it, I barely remember. The other tests never came up to my knowledge.
    Glad to hear your MRI was not difficult to do with hardware. Actually only my 2 "cages" are titanium. The rest of my hardware is stainless steel. This might be totally unrelated to hardware. There are so many other infectious diseases, etc. etc. that it could be--Oh, great. Between doctor and Google it has me pretty nervous. Google was not my friend! Ha. Thanks. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    Hi Janet, I wonder if anybody else here, with stainless steel rods, has had a MRI. Hopefully you'll get some answers. I know Google is not always helpful when searching for medical answers.

    It could be that your results at one month out have nothing to do with your current results, considering it's 4.5 years later but I know the possibility is very worrying. Hopefully Linda might have some information on the likelihood of this.

    I hope this week goes by quickly. As we both know, the waiting is the worst. This time next week you should have your answers. Then you can deal with whatever it is. Meantime, hopefully someone with experience of this will see your thread and offer some information.

    Thinking of you and best of 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

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    illinois
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    Hi Janet,
    I had a very high Sed rate also when blood work was done. It was later linked to on going inflamation but not infection. I am sure that doesn't help too much. Even though my surgery is almost 5 years old, I still go through periods of cold and then sweat. I am looking at low blood sugar causes now and trying to keep it steady--not spiking up and down.
    Good luck with your tests--let us know.
    Jackie

  6. #6
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    New Bern, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferG View Post
    Hi Janet, I wonder if anybody else here, with stainless steel rods, has had a MRI. Hopefully you'll get some answers. I know Google is not always helpful when searching for medical answers.

    It could be that your results at one month out have nothing to do with your current results, considering it's 4.5 years later but I know the possibility is very worrying. Hopefully Linda might have some information on the likelihood of this.

    I hope this week goes by quickly. As we both know, the waiting is the worst. This time next week you should have your answers. Then you can deal with whatever it is. Meantime, hopefully someone with experience of this will see your thread and offer some information.

    Thinking of you and best of luck!
    I had an MRI several months ago and it was totally worthless. I have stainless steel rods and screws. Are there different MRI machines out there that will give a good picture even if you have stainless steel rods???
    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
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    east coast
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    stainless steel does create more artifact and noise compared to titanium, but you can still be imaged safely.

    As far as I know MRI technician can compensate for the extra artifact and noise somewhat -- but they have to know what scanning sequence to use in order to do so.
    30 something y.o.

    2003 - T45, L???
    2005 - T50, L31
    bunch of measurements between...

    2011 - T60, L32
    2013 - T68, L?

    Posterior Fusion Sept 2014 -- T3 - L3
    Post - op curve ~35



  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    New Bern, NC
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    Well, I wasted $175.00 copayment. Dr. Hey wanted to see what was going on at L1-L2 and you couldn't see a thing. I am fused from L2-S1.
    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.

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone for info. My MRI has been on, off, and on again. I did get surgery notes and info from Dr. Lenke. He said do MRI with and then w/o contrast and that it may be hard to tell much around hardware. That one's not until next Thurs. The "nuclear" one is called Indium test. It's a 3 part test. I'd never heard of before. It's supposed to "light up" where infection is. Yesterday doctor said probably not a hardware issue or I'd be much sicker. That is probably true. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    570
    Oh, Janet, I hope it's not a hardware issue. Infections are not fun to deal with, but I was relieved to read that doctor thinks it's not coming from the hardware. Keep us posted, please!
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Waterloo, IL
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    Janet,
    Be sure to let us know what you find out. I hope everything can be resolved quickly.
    Karen

    Surgery-Jan. 5, 2011-Dr. Lenke
    Fusion T-4-sacrum-2 cages/5 osteotomies
    70 degree thoracolumbar corrected to 25
    Rib Hump-GONE!
    Age-60 at the time of surgery
    Now 66
    Avid Golfer & Tap Dancer
    Retired Kdgn. Teacher

    See photobucket link for:
    Video of my 1st Day of Golf Post-Op-3/02/12-Bradenton, FL
    Before and After Picture of back 1/7/11
    tap dancing picture at 10 mos. post op 11/11/11-I'm the one on the right.
    http://s1119.photobucket.com/albums/k630/pottoff2/

  12. #12
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    west midlands, UK
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    I had the 'nuclear' test for infection which was a long day at the hospital. First they take some of your blood then you have to go away while they mix some of the cells with the nuclear substance which after a couple of hours you have it injected into you, go away for another couple of hours then have the scan which was about an hour long. I was lucky and nothing showed up.

    Hope all goes well for you.
    Fused T2-L4 with costoplasty on 3/11/10

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
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    Oh dear, Janet. Keep us posted. I hope it turns out to just be a UTI that you can treat with antibiotics and get feeling better ASAP! Thinking of you.

    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.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Thanks again for above info. Bluestone, my first 2 parts of nuclear tests are tomorrow and they actually do the scan Wed. morning. Glad to hear yours was negative. And yes, UTI with some antibiotics is sounding like a great thing right now! Still dealing with pain so pain pills on a constant basis. Thought I was done with that! Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Whewww...much better news. Very relieved after what all they were looking for. The nuclear bone scan and idium scan were OK. No infection in spine or other tumors, etc. etc. Saw degenerative vertebrae at T12. Otherwise, will just retake the 2 "infection" marker tests in 2 weeks and see.

    The MRI like Sally said was a bust. They stopped after a bit and said it was all black. I think they are so sensitive now it's pretty impossible. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

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