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Thread: To Remove or Not to Remove: A Dilema!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    18

    To Remove or Not Remove?

    Hi,

    I had rods implanted in 1998 (T5-L1).

    I had them removed in 2000 because I was experiencing a lot of pain and discomfit from them and my doctor was pretty confident that my fusions were solid at that time.

    In 2002, I was re-instrumented (T5-L2) because I had two failed fusions that were causing severe pain and increased curve.

    Now, I am once again experienceing a lot of discomfit from the hardware. I went to a new surgeon, (my original surgeon is no longer practicing). He said I should leave well enough alone; that statiistically, 20% of all patients who have their rods removed end up having problems with their fusions.

    I also saw another doctor in NYC. He said the rods should definitely be removed. He was also expressed concern over the fact that I had an infection after my first surgery, and inmplied that the bacteria could still be damaging to my fusions even though I am not experiencing any active infection now.

    He said that when he removes the rods, if he finds any non-fused unions, he could repair them with much smaller, less intrusive hardware than I currently have. However, he did say that if I have more than one failed fusion, [which is a possibility since last time I had 2], he would want to perform an anterior surgery instead of posterior. That sounds pretty scarey to me and I am afraid it could mean yet "another" surgery. I don't know if they do both anterior and posterior at the same time?

    Here is my real dilema: Do I go ahead with another surgery to remove the rods, knowing how risky surgeries are, and that my fusions may fail again once the rods are removed? Or do I keep on doing what I am doing -- experiencing pain and limitations, and possibly having a dormant infection weakening my fusions? I know there are no guarantees either way.

    Does anyone have any good questions I should be asking my doctors to help me get clear? Any advice or insights? Any smart ways to be thinking about this? Any similar experiences?

    Thanks,
    bonniep
    Last edited by bonniep; 04-24-2005 at 12:50 PM.

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