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Thread: Complications 9 months post-op - 3 queries

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    96

    Complications 9 months post-op - 3 queries

    I have had continual pain since my surgery, and intense spasms in the upper back and around the right ribs and lung - hard work to breathe more than very shallowly, and particularly noticeable since the brace came off. The consultant was away for my appointment yesterday and I saw a registrar I had not seen before. Like the other registrars he is not really familiar with patients of my age (55).

    He seems fairly certain, as I am, that the acute pain is coming from the uppermost connector at T2, and that it may be advisable to remove it. He thought a year post-op would be OK, but it will obviously go back to the consultant.

    He also suggested that the spasm may be due to nerve damage rather than post-op recovery, and that if it does not clear up in another few months (1 year post-op) that it is likely to be permanent. He said disturbance of the intercostal (breathing) muscles is not uncommon where a rib is removed.

    I will certainly talk to the consultant eventually, and he will make his own recommendations based on the X-rays and registrar's report. In the UK it's not really possible to get second opinions, so I wondered if anyone had any experience or studies relating to these questions:

    1) Removing a piece of hardware after 1 year seems soon to me, at my age. Is there a recommended time and does it vary with age? Any studies showing the proportion of fusions that collapse after hardware is removed?

    2) I've never heard of the breathing muscle spasms being a common nerve-related sequel of spinal fusion. Has anyone else heard of this or experienced it, and is there really nothing to be done?

    3) Is it the case, again with older people, that the situation after 1 year usually remains the same long-term? What about the 2 year recovery period often mentioned, or does that apply only to the bone fusion?

    Would be really grateful for any info,

    Lavinia

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    I can't answer all your questions, as I have had my surgeries 6 and 8 years ago. I can say that the biggest pain from healing was one year for me, but completely as far as bone graft pain and some hardware was 2 years. I did get a part of hardware taken out after a year and four months, as they noticed after injecting me with a cortisone shot that the upper right hook was just hurting too much and would not go away. I don't know if it could result in fusion failure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    543
    Hi Lavinia,

    I too have the muscle spasms along and around the incision area for the anterior surgery. I also had the rib removed. I am 17 months post op from my A/P surgery. I have been using a portable TENS unit in that area as well as my lower back. It is really helping the muscle spasms. Maybe you can get your doctor to send you to physical theraphy to see if it works for you.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    96
    Thanks - I really appreciate both responses. Shall try to be patient. Apparently physiotherapy won't help because the spasms are nerve-related rather than muscle spasms - but the tens machine is certainly worth a try.

    Best to all,

    Lavinia

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