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Thread: 4 weeks since revision surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    5

    4 weeks since revision surgery

    Hi ... I'm new to the group and wanted to offer up any information that might be of help. I was initially fused with a Harrington rod in 1976, I'm 59 years old. I had few problems until about 20 years ago when the deterioration began. I had my flat back revision surgery done 4 weeks ago by Dr. Amit Agarwala from Panorama Orthopedics in Denver, CO. He removed my old Harrington rod and installed new hardware (ALIF) fusing me through my lumbar sections. I don't believe he fused me into the sacral area. I was in the hospital for 5 days, rehab at Sloan's Lake Rehab for 6 days and then home on my own. So far things are going well ... I'm walking a few blocks every day, just started using walking poles. Still on Vicodin for pain. Cautiously optimistic, very, very happy to be walking upright. I know there is still a lot to deal with but I could not go on any more the way I was. If I can help anyone through the first part of this process I'll be happy to try. I've read about many patients who can't get surgeons to give them any numbers re surgeries performed or any idea of what to expect in the way of improvement. Dr. Agarwala was the only surgeon I met with who gave me actual numbers re this particular surgery and who promised me only that he would get me upright and in less pain. Other doctors either wouldn't answer the questions at all (they employed diversionary tactics) or promised way too much. It's an incredibly overwhelming and intimidating process ...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,551
    Hi Holly

    Glad to hear that things have gone well with your revision. There are many revision patients here on this forum....

    We are around the same age, I am wondering where you had your surgery in 1976? I did manage to dodge that bullet, and waited until 2008 for my surgeries....

    Welcome to the forum

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    5
    Hi Ed ... it's good to meet you, I've seen many of your posts and know you are a wonderful support person. I had my 1976 Harrington rod surgery here in Denver at Lakewood Orthopedics which later became Panorama Ortho who did my revision. My current surgeon trained with the doc who did my original fusion so that was a nice connection. Lakewood Ortho did many of the Harrington rods in the Rocky Mt. region back then and they've done a lot of the revisions as well. My revision surgeon told me that he used to do 10-12 of the revisions a year but now only sees 5-6. He said they're catching up but I know that many H-rod patients are still out there and very fearful of the surgery. I certainly was.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,551
    Thanks Holly. Since I was around during the dark ages when there was no communication in the scoliosis world, I continue to sit around the table and discuss, support, and inform those that seek help. It can be just horrible to not have any answers, or to not have someone to talk to that has been through scoliosis surgery.

    Decision making on initial or revision scoliosis surgery is probably one of the hardest things we have to do in our lives. There is a wealth of information and testimonials involving decision here on this forum, many picking some of the best well known names in scoliosis, some doing well and some who didnít. I myself picked a surgeon who was not well known, and came out doing quite well considering the complexity of my situation. Each patient has his or her own individual set of circumstances....It would be nice to think of things being black and white, and some of it is, and some of it isnít. Rare complications do happen with the best of surgeons, our cases do have an element of risk that we need to understand.

    If you have any x-rays to post, your question on fusing to the pelvis will be answered. Many here have fusions all the way down, including myself.

    You can get a hold of your hospital reports from the hospital. These reports will give important information on methods and surgical procedure used.

    If your on vicoden at 4 weeks, your doing quite well.... Congratulations!

    My dad lived in Golden years ago, so many memories of skiing A-Basin in the early 80ís.

    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    6

    Help With Questions to Ask the Surgeons

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly-in-Denver View Post
    Hi ... I'm new to the group and wanted to offer up any information that might be of help. I had my flat back revision surgery done 4 weeks ago by Dr. Amit Agarwala. If I can help anyone through the first part of this process I'll be happy to try. I've read about many patients who can't get surgeons to give them any numbers re surgeries performed or any idea of what to expect in the way of improvement. Dr. Agarwala was the only surgeon I met with who gave me actual numbers re this particular surgery and who promised me only that he would get me upright and in less pain. Other doctors either wouldn't answer the questions at all (they employed diversionary tactics) or promised way too much. It's an incredibly overwhelming and intimidating process ...
    Hi Holly, So glad to hear that you are doing so well! I see 3 surgeons in New York in 3 weeks and don't know where to begin with all of the questions that should be asked. I think the whole process is over taking me now, but can't keep going this way either. Lumbar surgeries in 2008 and end of 2010 and now have flat back and scoliosis issues requiring a Smith-Peterson osteotomy and more fusions and can't walk due to the pain and probable labral hip tear with cysts in that area. My back won't support me and has led to those last two issues. Thanks for providing any helpful questions to ask surgeons in a few weeks. Appreciate learning and reading all of everyone's posts. Thank you all. Teacher Gal

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    5
    Hi Teacher-Gal,
    You sound exactly like me a few months ago ... I was utterly overwhelmed and terrified. I think we all know when we can't go on with our current situation and are ready to take a really big step. I'm curious ... are you sure you need the osteotomy? I had one out of the three surgeons I saw tell me that it was absolutely necessary. Another said he doesn't do them and the surgeon I went with said he never does them and they ratchet up the risks considerably. I know each of our spines and situations is completely different but you might want to really look into whether that's necessary. I would go in with a written list of questions and make sure you get all of them answered. Do these surgeons do regular disc surgeries and decompressions in addition to fusions? I wanted someone who only did serious spinal fusion work all the time. How many of this type of surgery have they done? If not an actual number, approx how many a year and for how long. What are the risks? They'll tell you all the usual things but ask what the most common complication is for them. Ask about infection rates and check out the hospitals' rates online. See what they'll tell you about how happy patients are with the procedure ... what improvements will you see? You need a realistic answer. Find out who does the abdominal surgical opening if the surgeon is going to do ALIF. Is it a random general surgeon, a vascular surgeon, someone he/she works with regularly, etc. Mine was a vascular surgeon who I met with separately prior to surgery and he diagrammed out everything he was going to do. And he does 100+ surgeries of this type with my surgeon's ortho group each year. I felt so much better after hearing that. In hindsight I realize I should have asked my ortho surgeon a lot more about that up front but I didn't know how important it was. Look up online reviews from impartial sites. If you see reviews on the surgeon's site, look to see if the writing seems original from the patients or if it all sounds the same like someone in the doc's office edited it. Re rehab ... find out if your insurance will cover some rehab time if you're not ready to go straight home from the hospital. Thankfully I had that coverage. I thought I'd be walking down the hall at the hospital on my walker with the PT folks but I never got out of the room so I qualified for rehab. Even if I'd had family at home, I would not have done well without the 6 days in rehab. If you don't have it, don't panic, just arrange for someone to be with you all the time for a few days and make sure they get good instruction from PT folks. You can try to mentally prepare for things but there's no way to really know what it's like til you do it. Let us know how it goes ... best of luck to you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Long Island, New York
    Posts
    87
    I see 3 surgeons in New York in 3 weeks and don't know where to begin with all of the questions that should be asked.

    I hope Dr. Baron Lonner is one of the 3 doctors you'll see. He will answer any questions you have and maybe even some you don't remember to ask. Best bedside manner, and patient doctor I found during my quest, and I couldn't be happier. So much experience with all levels of deformity and severity, and he's at the TOP of his game.

    Best of luck.
    Cathy
    2 sons, one Syracuse University graduate (working for the Mets now), one college sophomore, one great husband and two fabulous cats
    54 years old March 5
    AIS 45 degrees Thoracic at 14, Milwaukee brace for one year in 1977 then in 2012 I found Dr. Baron Lonner ❤️
    Surgery April 8 2015
    Presurgical curves T77 L66
    Post surgical T27 L22
    Fused T3-S1 pelvic fixation, osteotomies and all the other stuff but you know what? It's done...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ukiah CA
    Posts
    891
    welcome to the fourm
    Kara
    25
    Brace 4-15-05-5-25-06
    Posterior Spinal Fusion 3-10-10
    T4-L2
    Before 50T
    After 20T

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