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Thread: POLL: Risks versus rewards of revision surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    POLL: Risks versus rewards of revision surgery

    Surgery in August 2009 on a 70 degree curve. mid thoracic to the bottom including iliac screws. Titanium rods. Broke 1 rod twice and the other once across both small 2nd and 5th from the bottom Dec 2014. Also herniated one disk in my neck that has to be fused first. X-rays show a flattening in the curve of my the small of my back causing my shoulders and upper body to tilt forward.
    Only solution to correct that is to saw wedges out of the fused bones in my lumbar to follow the curve of the new bars and pull my shoulders back upright again. Fusion looks pretty solid on MRI with some missing spots. He expects to have to replace a lot of pedicle screws that have wallowed loose. Risks include longer recovery time and more blood loss because of the longer surgery. I'm almost 49. I have good insurance and both short-term and long-term disability so that's a plus.
    Would you take the risk and the long recovery time or just deal with the pain and limitations? I'm functional and not in unbearable pain but i certainly don't want to live like this since i know how great it was the last 5 1/2 years have been.
    Personal experiences? Would you do it all over again?

    Thoracic curve was 55 degrees, now 30
    Lumbar curve was 68 degrees, now 26
    Rib rotation was 17 degrees, now 0
    Degenerated discs and sacral arthritic spurs, plus significant spondylosis
    Fused 8/13/09 at age 43 from T-9 to pelvis with iliac screws anchoring hardware to the pelvis, plus osteomies by Drs. Anthony Moreno and Geoff Cronen, Tampa, FL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hi Sandy,

    I am sorry to hear all you've been through. Were the broken rods repaired already, or is that part of the equation?

    I was fused T8-sacrum/pelvis almost 5 years ago, at age 42. At 14 months I broke both rods in the mid-lumbar region. Up to that point I had healed well and was doing great, but I always had a sense from my first post-op awakening that I had too much lumbar lordosis put in. I was conscious of my posture and alignment every day, although it wasn't enough of a problem to consider revision just for that. When I broke the rods I also asked my surgeon if he could adjust the excess lordosis, which he agreed would be favorable. He did 1 or 2 osteotomies, refused and put in new rods down the lumbar, and did 2 levels of XLIF to fuse and stabilize the front of the lumbar spine. Everything has healed very well, and now 2.5 years later I am generally pain free. I continue to make improvements in mobility. So for me, revision was not only a necessity, but it turned out very well, and I do not regret it.

    Good luck getting this all figured out.
    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

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