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Thread: Loose Pedicle Screw....SURGERY??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    15

    Question Loose Pedicle Screw....SURGERY??

    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and sure wished there was something like this around when I had my surgery. I had my surgery when I was 16, I am now 23. I am trying to gather information about Harrington rod removal, and what the implicationsa of a loose pedicle screw are.

    I recently found out that I have a loose thorasic pedicle screw and am awaiting medical advice from my Ortho Doc (3 weeks). The waiting is just killing me. I have pretty much decided that I will need to have rod removal surgery whether is be partial or full. I am leaning towards full because I am young and recovery will be easier and the thought of what other hrdware complications might occur over the next 10, 20, 50 years is a little scary.

    No one is able to answer my questions. What does a loose pedicle screw mean? Will I need surgery? I the surgery major like the first? I have Titanium Harrington rods and I believe that technique was discontinued soon after my surgery. Has anyone had experiences with rod removal? It has almost been 8 years since the surgery and I have been pain free until the last year.

    Any insight, or information would really help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Wow! I sincerely understand how you feel. I have also been in pain just the last year or so. It's scary because I actually thought the surgery would heal me and that I wouldn't have any major complications later on in my life. I wish I had answers for you! I am also in the midst of finding out specifics. There are many sites with information on rod removal, however they tend to contradict each other. Some (that sound medical) promise that it's much easier than having the rods implanted. Others I've read make it sound as though it is a very large surgery and you should seriously think about putting yourself through it!

    I am anxious to hear what others say regarding the healing process and details on ramifications of having the rods out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    15
    Andreams,

    Its so nice to see that there are other out there with the same issue. My family GP has been relativly useless as far as information goes and because I am no longer considered a child I can not go back to my original Ortho doctor cause he works out of Sick Children's exclusivly.
    I remember him telling me before I had it put in that the rods could be rmoved at any time after the surgery. That people dont actually need them once they have done their job.
    I too thought I was "cured" or "fixed" and had absolutly no problems before either. This is pretty frusterating. I am scared for another surgery but even more terrified at what what might happen when I'm 70+ years old.
    The information is contradictory so I am hoping someone with actual experience with this will respond and give us some insight.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Australia!
    Posts
    10
    Hi Mtheta,

    I am having revision surgery next Thursday to have the the top of one of my titanium rods and two screws removed as they have become unattached (from my spine). The rod is sticking out of the top of my back and one of the loose hooks catchs on the surronding muscels and tears it.

    My operation (apprently) will only take about two hours. The best case scenario is simply to cut the top of the rod off (about 30cm), but he is doing "exploratory" surgery, so he is going to have a poke around and see if the whole rod will need replacing as part of my curvature has come back where the rod has dislodged. I'm only 22 (4 yrs post-op) and I am going under the knife for the second time.

    The doc said I would be in hospital about 5 days to a week. But I also have a bleeding disorder so that makes things a little more complicated. He said I should be (almost) fine in about a month. He actually said that if I had an office job I would be able to go back on "light duties" within two weeks (from being released from hospital).

    In answer to your question. No its not a huge operation. Nothing like we went through before. Its just annoying. I think this time I will be more "with it" and I dont think I am going to like the whole privacy thing and the dependence thing. I'm sure you will get alot more replies to this post all telling you that the operation is nothing in comparison to the first and not to worry about it - I however, dont find this comforting as any surgery is not like a walk in the park. Any surgery you undertake has risks and requires some recovery and pain- not trying to scare you here.

    Hope this information helps you. If you would like I can email you after I am discharged from hospital and let you know how it all went.

    Good luck! Make sure you ask all of your questions to your doc as well (and be sure you get an answer - they are good at dodging answers).

    Regards,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    15
    Jay,

    Thanks so much for this. Why are you not having the entire apparatus removed? You have pretty much confirmed some of what I have read about recovery times ext. I agree that no surgery is a walk in the park and even if it is less extensive it scares the crap ot of me. This is a spine we are dealing with here. Which is also why a loose screw around my spine is concerning.
    It is good to hear there are also people closer to my age experiencing complications years later.
    I would really like to hear how you are doing post surgery! I will PM you my email address.

    Good luck, and thanks for sharing your experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    6
    Jay,

    I actually had the same exact surgery you are going to have! I also had problems with the rod protruding out and needed to have just a portion of it removed. Good luck to you!

    It is correct that it is no where near as difficult or painful as the first surgery you had, implanting the rods. I was extremely happy afterwards because I had less pain, less complications and less worry!

    Please let us all know how you doing are as soon a you can!

    ~Andrea

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    151

    mtheta

    I had my hardware removed 1 year after inplanted. It was no walk in the park, but not half as bad as initial surgery. I had a screw come loose and shoved the rod out. The Dr. ran tests and said it was best to take all of it out. I had that done and came home the next day. Over 60 staples. I went back to the Dr. in 2 weeks to have staples removed and my curvature was back as bad as before I had the inplant. So the Dr. had to go and put the hardware back in again. That time he put longer rods and more screws.
    That time I was in the hospital 3 days. 76 staples that time. It has been 3 months since my last surgery and so far so good. I went to the Dr. this week and the x-rays show everything looks real good. That is just my experience with rod removal. I will never have mine taken out again without I absolutly have to. I don't want to go through that again. Good luck in what ever you have done.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,802
    Mattie...

    Were your implants painful before removal?

    --Linda

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Australia!
    Posts
    10
    Hi,

    Well I am home and am realtively pain free. I had my surgery to remove the top of the rod and two screws on Thursday. The doc said I would be in hospital for at least 5 days - but I was out on day three!

    The day after my op was bad as I reacted to either the morphine or the anesthetic - vomited 9(!!) times. That was not a good day.

    In regards to the pain - I came off the Morphine on Friday morning (due to vomiting), and have only taken normal Panadol since then. My nurses were impressed. The pain was not as bad as I was expecting and I think that helped. The pain sort of feels like I have done weight lifting and now my muscels are really sore from it. Also like pressure is being applied to the top of my back.

    Today I am having the bandages changed at my GP. I still cant sit for too long and sometimes finding a comfy position proves difficult. BUt other than that. I am really good.

    So, dont be scared of the pain. Its very manageable.

    I hope this helps put your mind at ease!

    Take care,
    Jay

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    I had the same surgery done one year post op, and it was literally the same as far as pain, I only took pain meds a few days and was in the hospital in the morning, out at night. I even had the vomiting , wich didn't happen the first time for my scoliosis surgery.

    Taking out hardware is much easier, especially when it's only a piece and a small incision. The bigger the incision, the longer the recuperation, as well as it's even more painful when they put back another rod and bigger screws, like they did to me 7 weeks ago. But I finally see the light and the first month and a half was the hardest, although I didn't take pain meds for more than a few weeks, since they got me nautious. The walking and sitting upright helped a whole lot.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    15
    Jay,

    I'm glad to hear that the surgery went relatively well. I remember reacting to the pain medication the first time around and being sooooo sick. Not a good feling. Your discription about working out to hard and haveing a sore back the next day is really helpful. My Dr.'s appointment is next week and then I will know for sure if I require surgery as well.
    Hope the recovery continues to be sucessful!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    15

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetness514
    I had the same surgery done one year post op, and it was literally the same as far as pain, I only took pain meds a few days and was in the hospital in the morning, out at night. I even had the vomiting , wich didn't happen the first time for my scoliosis surgery.

    Taking out hardware is much easier, especially when it's only a piece and a small incision. The bigger the incision, the longer the recuperation, as well as it's even more painful when they put back another rod and bigger screws, like they did to me 7 weeks ago. But I finally see the light and the first month and a half was the hardest, although I didn't take pain meds for more than a few weeks, since they got me nautious. The walking and sitting upright helped a whole lot.
    Sweetness, that sounds absouluty horrible. Its has been almost 8 years since my initial surgery so I don't think there is any concern about the curve returning.....but I will make sure to ask about that. You are a brave one, and I can respect why you would not have the rods removed unless it was absoultly nessissary!
    Thanks for sharing your story

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Quote Originally Posted by mtheta
    Its has been almost 8 years since my initial surgery so I don't think there is any concern about the curve returning.....but I will make sure to ask about that.
    I hear about curves returning after hardware removal enough, that I think that some of the time, when hardware is painful, it's because there's a loose component. And, if there's a loose component, there's a chance of a non-fusion. So, there is at least a little risk that your curve will return. I think it's a good idea to return to the surgeon about 3-6 months after removal to have new x-rays taken.

    Good luck!

    --Linda

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1

    Smile goodbye rods

    hi! i'm also new to that forum. i had my rods removed last summer. i had been living with them for 7years. the operation was for removing 6ribs and doctor also removed the rod. i had never suffer pain from scoliosis before or after surgeries. removal (at least in my case) was not a problem. now i am waiting for the ribs to be formed fully.it is strange to see all the material that i have lived together for long

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