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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    london, uk
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    Can you curve more after metal work is removed??

    Hi
    I am 26 years old and from the UK. In 1994 i had a spinal fusion for idiopathic scoliosis. Pre op i was 74 degrees curved, post op 54 degrees. I also had an anteria release ( rib reduction forthe hump on my back) the fusion was high sorry cant give exact levels as don't know.
    In 1996 i bagan to get a lot of pain and the harrington rod was removed as it was "taught" they never gave a proper reason that was all they said. Since then i led a normal ish life, unableto work full time as my backwas so unpredictable. Three years ago i had a little boy by c section and all has beengoing ok, up untill the last few months. I have been getting bad pains again that are not really in "a" specific area. I have also noticed that my tops keeps shifting to one side and i have never really noticed that before. I was told that once your spine is fused is cannot curve any more as it is solid bone. I have a lost some weight and have been walking and it has not improved the pain at all.
    If anyone is out there in the same boat i would really like to talk as i really don't know whats goign on? Is this it for the rest of my life? I have been to my Gp and all he has done is prescibed me with painkillers, anti inflamaty and muscle relaxants, surley i can't keep popping pills can i?
    I look forward to hearing from anyone as i don't know anyone else with my condition and could really do with a talk.
    thanks for reading this
    jo

  2. #2
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    May 2005
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
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    Hi Jo!
    I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you but I would like to add to your post. My daughter is having her hardware removed 7/15/05 and we were told by her Ortho. surgeon that her spine is fused now and won't "recurve" after the hardware is removed. I have my reservations about that as well.
    After numerous x-rays (I'm surprised she doesn't glow in the dark now! ) her doc is still undecided about whether or not one of the fusions is fully solid. He said he will check it when he removes the hardware. If it is not fully fused he will actually fracture it so that her body fixes it like a broken bone. Like you, I wonder if she can "recurve" after removal, especially seeing as her fusion might already be weak and she still has a 35 degree curve in her upper back that was supposed to adjust after the 1st surgery. It has a little but you can still see quite a curve and her shoulder blades are still very uneven.
    In my daughters case I guess time will tell. In your case I guess I would go see a spine doctor to get your curves remeasured. I am fairly new at this so that is just my opinion, nothing based in fact.
    I hope everything goes well for you!
    Kathy (kate's mom)

  3. #3
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    Sep 2003
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    Hi Jo...

    It's next to impossible to tell if a fusion is solid. If it isn't solid, and the implants are removed, you can indeed re-curve. You should try to get referred back to a surgeon.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
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    May 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine
    Hi Jo...

    It's next to impossible to tell if a fusion is solid. If it isn't solid, and the implants are removed, you can indeed re-curve. You should try to get referred back to a surgeon.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Hi Linda,
    When you say it is almost impossible to tell, did you mean with the tests or when they are actually looking at the fusion during surgery? Kate's surgeon is the one who told us about fracturing the fusion during surgery if it is not solid.
    Thanks,
    Kathy

  5. #5
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    Hi Kathy...

    I think areas of non fusion (pseudarthroses) are USUALLY obvious during surgery. I have, however, known of a few people whose fractures weren't seen during surgery, but who later had rods break because of a non-fusion.

    Regards,
    Linda

  6. #6
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    May 2005
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine
    Hi Kathy...

    I think areas of non fusion (pseudarthroses) are USUALLY obvious during surgery. I have, however, known of a few people whose fractures weren't seen during surgery, but who later had rods break because of a non-fusion.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Hi Linda.
    I'm not a doctor by any means, but it just seems to me that if he factures the fusion, making it weaker and then removes the hardware supporting her spine, doesn't she run the risk of breaking her back? Am I way off the mark here?
    Thanks again,
    Kathy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Staten Island, New York
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    Dear Linda: I spoke with you last year about my daughter Cara. In 2000 she had spinal fusion correcting a 48 degree curve. In 2004 she had a revision surgery to cut one rod which was a little too long, per the doctor. Since she was having a lot of unexplained paid we chose to cut the rod and solve the problem. Unfortunately she got an infection (staff) and her incision opened and she had it closed by a plastic surgeon. It obviously was not the problem. She still has pain. Now, she has a new problem! A kidney infection which urologists cannot explain! I cannot held feel everything is related. What do you think. Have you ever heard of the hardware causing kidney infections or possible the staff infection is still in her system?? am I totally off base with this thought. I am truly going crazy by all this and my daughter is mentally and physically depressed. It has been 5 year today since her first surgery at 14 years old and she thought and was told it would be behind her after a year. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for any reply. Grace

  8. #8
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    May 2005
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
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    Linda,
    I spoke to a couple of people about your email - both the local scoli support group and the national and they both agreed with you. A second opinion is required in Kate's case. They gave me the name of a local Dr. who is "certified" by the Spine Foundation (?). I called him and I'm waiting for his reply. He does work in the same hospital as Kate's current Ortho. My hope is that I can get Kate in to see him before her surgery for a second opinion. I don't think she can take too much more of the pain she's in. It's effecting her mentally and emotionally as well as the obvious physical problems.
    As for the x-rays, she had the PA and lat about a month and a half ago. I will try to get them to email them to me - or I'll just go pick them up.
    Keep your fingers crossed for me!
    I can't thank you enough for all your help.
    Kathy

  9. #9
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by gscarpato
    Dear Linda: I spoke with you last year about my daughter Cara. In 2000 she had spinal fusion correcting a 48 degree curve. In 2004 she had a revision surgery to cut one rod which was a little too long, per the doctor. Since she was having a lot of unexplained paid we chose to cut the rod and solve the problem. Unfortunately she got an infection (staff) and her incision opened and she had it closed by a plastic surgeon. It obviously was not the problem. She still has pain. Now, she has a new problem! A kidney infection which urologists cannot explain! I cannot held feel everything is related. What do you think. Have you ever heard of the hardware causing kidney infections or possible the staff infection is still in her system?? am I totally off base with this thought. I am truly going crazy by all this and my daughter is mentally and physically depressed. It has been 5 year today since her first surgery at 14 years old and she thought and was told it would be behind her after a year. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for any reply. Grace
    Hi Grace...

    I'm so sorry to hear about (OOPS, not Grace) Cara.

    I honestly know very little about infections. I can tell you that I had a liver abscess (which is an infection) several years ago. There was some thought that it might be related to my implants, but in the end, they decided it probably wasn't.

    I hope you get the infection under control quickly, and then find some way to deal with the spinal pain. Can you remind me of who Cara's surgeon was?

    Regards,
    Linda
    Last edited by LindaRacine; 07-06-2005 at 11:52 AM.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Hi Kathy....

    I know that this is probably really a stressful time for you, and I'm really glad that you're willing to find out what's going on instead of just forging ahead with the surgery. I'll be very anxious to see the more current x-rays, and hear about what the second opinion has to say.

    Regards,
    Linda

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine
    Hi Kathy....

    I know that this is probably really a stressful time for you, and I'm really glad that you're willing to find out what's going on instead of just forging ahead with the surgery. I'll be very anxious to see the more current x-rays, and hear about what the second opinion has to say.

    Regards,
    Linda
    It's me again!
    Well, I did make some phone calls and got some recommendations and this is what I found out. The Scoliosis Research Foundation doctor that comes recommended will not do a second opinion unless I switch Kate entirely to his care , sight unseen before he will even look at her. Is that legal and/or ethical? What happens if we meet him and one or both of us doesn't like him?
    I feel like our backs (literally) are against a wall.
    Kathy

  12. #12
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    Hi Kathy...

    I'm sure it's legal, but I'm not at all sure it's ethical. Obviously, the guy doesn't like being a second opinion. Here are the names of specialists in your area:

    Christopher Hamill
    Cameron Huckell
    Robert Lifeso

    I think it might be wise to see if any of them would see Kate for a second opinion. If not, you can purchase a second opinion from Dr. Robert Pashman for $75:

    http://www.espine.com/purchase.html

    I think you should make getting the most recent x-rays a priority, as anyone you see is going to need them. Please don't be shy about asking for them. If the surgeon isn't hiding anything, he should be fine with you getting another opinion. You have a right to the x-rays and records. If you don't trust the doctor, you might want to just drop in, unannounced, during normal business hours. Tell the receptionist that you need the x-rays NOW for a second opinion. Be strong. Don't walk away without them. If you get the actual x-rays instead of a digital copy, you can place a white sheet over a sunny window and then tape the x-rays to the sheet to take a photograph.

    Regards,
    Linda

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