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Thread: Rod too long = grinding shoulder blade!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Australia!
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    10

    Rod too long = grinding shoulder blade!

    Hi,

    I know this is my second post for today and I am only new, but I really am after some advice.

    I had surgery when I was 17 (now 21). Full fusion.

    One of the titanium rods are too long and sticks out of the top of my back. My body (apparently) made this protective "stuff" around it to stop it going all the way through. Over the last few years this lump/bump/ has gotten heaps bigger. Now when I move my right shoulder the lump grinds against my shoulder blade. As you can imagine - this isnt very nice!

    I got shooting pains through my shoulder blade even when it is still. Almost like it is being pinched or something. I've had a look around the forum and have found other people complaining of similar.

    From the beginning it was really uncomfortable leaning against things such as walls and chairs and stuff, so I tend to sit a bit funny. I also hold my shoulder in an odd position and only when I think about it will I drop it.

    I can live with the freaky lump sticking out of my back (afterall I have looked worse), but I cant live with the pain through my shoulder and arm. I'm also dealing with sacrolic pain also (see other thread).

    Has anyone had the top of their rod cut off? If so what was the recovery time? (I realise not as much as the first surgery). Also what is the "stuff" called that builds up around it? It's really hard - like bone. I imagine it is bone growth and other stuff???

    Thank you everyone! It's really great just to know that there are other people out there (even if you are all mainly in America) who have been through the same life changing surgery.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
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    329

    Top of Rod

    I did have the top (about 3 or so inches) taken off five years ago. The recovery time is nothing compared to the initial surgery. It is not without pain but I was back to work in a month. It took a few hours for the surgeon to take that part out but mine was in since 1981 as it was fused to my spine. Hopefully yours will be easier to remove. I was in the hospital for two days. The incision was through the same incision from the original surgery and it healed nicely. Goodluck! LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,794
    Hi Jay...

    I've known people who have had a piece cut off of a rod in an out-patient procedure. It should be considerably easier than your initial surgery. However, I don't know if the bursa (the lump) makes it more complicated.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Hi again Jay

    I also had a sharp pain in my top/right side and they took off the hook after 1 year 4 months post op. They can diagnose this by giving you a cortisone shot(right where the pain is) and if you don't feel pain in that area for the next few days, that is your problem, and they can take it out(wether it is a hook, a piece of rod, etc). The orthos told me that is very common.

    I was in the morning, out that night. One hour surgery, pain for about two weeks. Piece of cake compared to the original scoliosis surgery

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Australia!
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    Thanks for the replies - appreciated!

    I have an appt with my specialist on the 14 of December.

    I hope he doesnt suggest the injection - I have had facet injections before and I could feel the needle touching my bone - ewwwhh! It sort of put me off the whole needle thing.

    Is that what it is called - a bursa?

    Thanks,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,794
    Hi Jay...

    Yes, I think a bursa often forms around loose hardware.

    --Linda

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Jay..

    A cortisone shot is nothing like a facet joint injection. It's just a shot, you barely feel it, and it doesn't reach the bone. I did have some for my feet since I was suffering from pain in my heels-those hurt like hell though I have had a shot in my facet before the surgery too, and that hurt, especially when they froze and the needles were really big, I know what you mean.

    The surgery that I had to get rid of the top rod/hook part really helped me and I was pain free because of it for 6 years. I do have a pain around there now, but I do have to have revision surgery for a broken rod, pseudarthrosis and I feel a bursitis type pain there again, but it will be seen when I get surgery what the cause is from this time.

    Good luck to you.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    Hi...

    I just had an injection into a hook that is prominent, and I barely felt it. Unfortunately, it didn't help with my pain.

    Regards,
    Linda

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Australia!
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    Red face Updated diagnosis

    HI Everyone,

    I had my appointment with my specialist on the 14th.

    The top of my rod has dislodged and as is over to the side with two hooks and the rod digging into the soft muscle tissue in my shoulder. I didn’t need any injections (fortunately) it was very clear on my x-rays that my rods had moved dramatically.

    Part of my curvature has come back at the top as well – due to the displacement of the rod. But the surgeon said that the other rod will prevent it from curving anymore.

    I am having surgery on the 1st of Feb to remove the top of the rod (down to two hooks). The surgeon is going to have a look at the rest of the rod during the surgery to see whether he should take the rest out as that rod doesn’t really seem to be doing much. The other rod is doing all the hard work.

    The surgeon said I would be in hospital for about a week with about a month recovery period. I have a bleeding disorder also so that makes things a touch more complicated.

    My surgeon is one of the best In Western Australia, but he said he has only had to do this surgery about 5 times in his entire career. But he said that was a good thing. ???

    Wish me luck…

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    Posts
    299
    I was just curious Jay who your surgeon was (the one you see now)??, if you don't mind me asking...........can almost guess whom he is...here there aren't many to choose from lol


    Alison
    Last edited by Alison; 12-16-2005 at 09:17 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Australia!
    Posts
    10

    Surgeon...

    Hi Alison,

    When I originally had the surgery done it was by Jack O'connor, but he has recently retired so I got passed onto Mr Finch. Lets just say I wasnt a fan of his.

    So I organised to see Mr Woodland privately. Apparently he assisted in my original surgery as it was 9 hours long. I wonder if he will recognise my spine? So, Woodland is doing my surgery.

    I take it you live in W Australia? I would love to hear about yourself.

    Regards,

    Jay

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    Posts
    299
    Hi Jay

    Yup, I'm in Western Australia :-) Ooh I guessed it was probably Jack (who did the original, and my guess for the one now was Barry Slinger, and my second choice was Peter Woodland).........he was my surgeon for 17 years (from the time i was 15 months of age until I was 17).....his a man whom I have great respect for....don't know what I'll do if I ever need a revision..don't trust anyone else to touch my back lol. From memory his gradually winding down, and stopped doing Shenton Park RPH clinics a year or two ago....may have completley retired by now??

    I have yet to hear good things about Mr Finch, from people. The people whom I know who've seen Peter Woodland have had nothing but good things to say about him, they describe him as a man whom has time for his patients, explains things and doesn't talk in gobblegook.

    Feel free to send me an email, my email address is

    aliren53@yahoo.com.au

    Regards

    Alison
    Last edited by Alison; 12-18-2005 at 03:08 AM.

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