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Thread: Surgeries in 1988 and 1990...now a third?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Woodbridge, Va (near Washington, D.C.) USA
    Posts
    6

    Surgeries in 1988 and 1990...now a third?

    This is my first post on this site. I wore a Milwaukee brace for 3 years, had Harrington rod/spinal fusion surgeries in 1988 and 1990 (at 16 and 18 years of age), and am now 33, married, with 2 young children (4 and 2). Over the last few months, I have developed pain in my upper back, around the top of my rod. Recently, I have been to the emergency room due to the pain, I've seen my family practitioner and received pain medication, and been to an orthopedic clinic in Northern Virginia. They took x-rays of my neck and reviewed the x-rays and CT scan from my ER visit, and determined that my neck is fine. They suspect that the pain is caused by my rod ("symptomatic hardware"), so I'm having a bone scan on Thursday, and a follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon on June 2. It has been suggested that my rod may need to be removed.
    That said, I'm terrified. My first surgery was a horrendous experience. And I had to have everything "hacked out" (my second surgeon's words) and replaced because it was done incorrectly and the rod remained loose in my spine for 2 years. That pain was bad enough, but now I have 2 little ones who rely on me. I feel like I "haven't got time for the pain" (isn't that a commercial??).
    So, I guess I'm just really nervous about this upcoming bone scan and what it may or may not reveal. I felt like I was going nuts after my first surgery because the surgeon said he'd never had a patient report so much pain following surgery. Well, the x-rays taken on the OR table showed that the rod was already out of the hook. I don't know how they missed that!
    It has been terribly helpful to read all of the shared experiences and support shown on this board. Thank you all for sharing. I look forward to seeing if anyone has had an experience like mine.
    Much love to all,
    Mylinda
    Virginia, USA
    Mylinda

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Hi Mylinda...

    I'd like to encourage you to find a surgeon who has a lot of experience treating people with prior scoliosis fusions. It's probably the only way you're going to get a correct diagnosis.

    Disc problems above and below the fusion mass are pretty common, so it's possible that you might only need your fusion extended by one level, which should be a relatively easy surgery. Another possible explanation for your pain could be junctional kyphosis, which occurs when the spine falls forward at the top of the fusion.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Woodbridge, Va (near Washington, D.C.) USA
    Posts
    6

    Thank you so much for the reply...

    Linda,
    I'm a moderator on another scoliosis support discussion board, and have seen many recommendations for this board and, specifically, for you as a moderator and mentor. Thank you so much for your input and for the information. I will be having a bone scan later today (Thursday, May 19), which will, hopefully, show what exactly is going on with my rod. The orthopedic surgeon I will be following up with on June 2 has a very good reputation, but I will definitely keep your advice in mind to seek out a surgeon who has loads of experience with scoliosis and previous spinal fusions.
    Many thanks for your time and experience.
    Mylinda
    Mylinda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Mylinda...

    Thanks very much for your kind words.

    Best of luck!

    Regards,
    Linda

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