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Thread: 3 month post checkup today

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    131

    3 month post checkup today

    I was fused from the Illium to T2. Been going threw a lot of pain above my hips. Now I know why. They cut muscle and nerves to be able to see the angle for the 2 base screws. Look at the picture and you can see how much longer these 2 screws are from the others. Also found out why they removed the rib. It was to give them access to put in 3 wedges.
    Just wanted to share.
    http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...DSCF1278-1.jpg
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Hi...

    Those are typical iliac screws. Is your pain localized to the heads of the screws? A lot of people complain about pain right over the head of the screws, so surgeons sometimes remove the iliac screws after a few years.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
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    If you require a long fusion to the sacrum, is this what you can expect? Is this typical in terms of hardware placement? Or is this a unique situation?

    Backtalk - wishing you a speedy recovery and relief from all the pain. You've certainly been through a lot.

    Chris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    131
    Quote Originally Posted by CHRIS WBS
    If you require a long fusion to the sacrum, is this what you can expect? Is this typical in terms of hardware placement? Or is this a unique situation?

    Backtalk - wishing you a speedy recovery and relief from all the pain. You've certainly been through a lot.

    Chris
    Hi Chris. I don't think this fusion was typical. There are 4 or 5 spine wedges that were installed. I will find and take a picture of the xray that showes the wedges. Also what you can't see in the front on xray is , a cage around each wedged area.
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,802
    Hi Chris...

    Fusion to the ilium (pelvis) is a littler different than fusion to the sacrum. Sacral screws usually aren't as long, and I haven't heard anyone mention that they had the same soreness over the head of the screws.

    Regards,
    Linda

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago north suburb
    Posts
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    When I had a surgical consultation earlier this month, I asked the doc how many levels I would have to have fused. He said he might have to begin just below the neck but wasn't sure (my thoracic curve is about 40 deg.) but would have to go down to the pelvis (my lumbar curve is 75 deg.). I was assuming that meant the sacrum, but now I'm wondering if this would be even more gruesome than I thought!

    Thanks,

    Chris

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    18

    We look alot alike

    Back Talk,
    Your x-ray looks alot like mine, except I was fused from T3 - L3 so not so far down. I had the anterior/posterior spinal fusion in Dec 05 so I am about 6 months post op. I still have alot of tenderness over my hips and right butt & leg which I did not have before so that is frustrating. The hardware is really prominent and is pretty bothersome still. This is my 6th spine surgery since I was 16, I'm 35 now and this was by far the hardest (I am older now though). I can sympathize with you - I still take pain pills, muscle spasm meds etc. I'm doing pretty well over all, just have to deal with the pain. I wonder if in 6 more months if the hardware is still real bothersome if they can remove one or two screws or whatever that really stick out. I try to work out, swim and do a spinning class but I think I'll always have to tolerate pain. I've come used to it over last 20 years. I hope they can do something to help you feel better, I know I certainly would like to find a "magical cure".
    Good luck to all, Kim

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    913

    To Kim:

    About having some screws removed, I had a lot of pain the first year in many screws and the ortho advised to wait at least a year before thinking of removing any, and I found that after that first year of healing I didn't feel any but one major where the pain got worse(around T5), and I had it taken out. Sometimes it takes more time to heal and I also found after another ortho told me that building some muscles around the fusion with swimming and light weights helped feeling more "light" and gaining a bit of weight since I used to be so thin helps not feeling the hardware so much.
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    131
    Quote Originally Posted by KML
    Back Talk,
    Your x-ray looks alot like mine, except I was fused from T3 - L3 so not so far down. I had the anterior/posterior spinal fusion in Dec 05 so I am about 6 months post op. I still have alot of tenderness over my hips and right butt & leg which I did not have before so that is frustrating. The hardware is really prominent and is pretty bothersome still. This is my 6th spine surgery since I was 16, I'm 35 now and this was by far the hardest (I am older now though). I can sympathize with you - I still take pain pills, muscle spasm meds etc. I'm doing pretty well over all, just have to deal with the pain. I wonder if in 6 more months if the hardware is still real bothersome if they can remove one or two screws or whatever that really stick out. I try to work out, swim and do a spinning class but I think I'll always have to tolerate pain. I've come used to it over last 20 years. I hope they can do something to help you feel better, I know I certainly would like to find a "magical cure".
    Good luck to all, Kim
    Kim, I want to thank you for sharing this with me. I am almost twice your age and the pain is a bitch. Now I have to give you a WARNING. Do not let anyone take anything (screws) out of your back at 6 months. Take a long look at my xray so you can see what will or can happen if you do. Do what ever you have to do fight the pain and screw heads polking threw for at least 12 months. That is just my 2 cents but please don't push it.
    My best to another pain sole mate (ha ha)
    Jess
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    18

    To: Sweetness & Backtalk

    Thanks to you both for the reply. Hang in there Backtalk and I can relate so I'm here if you need to moan or just chat! Sweetness, we seem to have alot in common...both 35 with multiple surgeries over the last 20 years But, it's like I always say, it builds character. I definitely won't have anything removed for at least a year, I've been through the broken rod also and non fusion etc. I think the one screw that really protrudes the worst is around T5 or6, it's right in the center of my back. And yes, I am a thin woman too. The doctor has told me since I was in the hospital that gaining some more weight may help. I've always been b/w 113-115 and I'm 5'4 1/2" now ( I gained an inch after the surgery). I got back up to my 115 and I'm going to try to gain a couple more pounds. I do a water class a few times a week and light weights so I am praying that the hardware will stop irritating me so much. Do you remember about the time that feeling subsided? 8 mo, 1 year?? At 6 months, were you back to your normal routine because I am, with the excepion of lifting heavy objects and carrying my 4 yr old daughter around for long distances. Hopefully I'm not doing too much.
    Kim
    35yr mother of 4 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy
    *Dec 05 A/P revision surgery-UCSF,Dr. Deviren- fused T3 - L3, rib removal
    *1995 Hardware removal (spine collapsed into 105 degree kyphotic curve over next 8 yrs)
    *1994 Revision scoliosis surgery to remove rods and put in clamps/other type hardware, ended up having problems so went back under 5 days later
    *1992 Removal of broken Harrington rod, 2 smaller rods put in
    *1987 Harrington rod for 46 degree scoliosis curve

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    131
    Two years ago I weighed 170 and today I can't get above 125. Before this last surgery I was 5'6" and after my fifteen hour tune up I am 6' even. It really chaps my butt when people say " you are so lucky to be thin, I wish I could give you 50 of my lbs." I wish I could take it. I can count every one of the screw heads in my back. Seems like every place I go I take my little pillow to lean back on. I have 1 or 2 screw heads that hurt so bad I can actually cry from the pain.
    You guys must already know this but my doc. set me up with an external pain patch friday. It's not the kind that puts the meds. in the blood stream, but takes away the surface pain at the site of the patch. So far these things are doing a great job. It will last for 12 hrs. They are called LIDODERM LIDOCAINE PATCH
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    18

    Backtalk:

    I have those patches too, I was using them a couple months ago for pain around the left scapula. I think I'll try them again over the area that the screws are most prominent...thanks for reminding me.

    I can't believe you grew 4 inches, that is amazing. I would have liked maybe one more inch but at least I'm straight. Everyone who has know me for years says I look so great, they can't believe the difference. My worst curve was my kyphosis 105 degrees, normal is anywhere from 20-50 I believe. So I had a pretty good hump, looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame in a way. I hated getting any pictures taken from the side but now those pictures are pretty nice. Just waiting for this pain to go away.

    Are you steadily gaining weight again? I drank a couple to three protein shakes a day to gain some of my weight back. I lost 15 lbs in the hospital over the 19 days I was there. I hope you feel better soon. Try to keep a positive outlook, you sound like you have a good sense of humor which is KEY!
    Kim
    35yr mother of 4 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy
    *Dec 05 A/P revision surgery-UCSF,Dr. Deviren- fused T3 - L3, rib removal
    *1995 Hardware removal (spine collapsed into 105 degree kyphotic curve over next 8 yrs)
    *1994 Revision scoliosis surgery to remove rods and put in clamps/other type hardware, ended up having problems so went back under 5 days later
    *1992 Removal of broken Harrington rod, 2 smaller rods put in
    *1987 Harrington rod for 46 degree scoliosis curve

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Quote Originally Posted by KML
    Sweetness, we seem to have alot in common...both 35 with multiple surgeries over the last 20 years But, it's like I always say, it builds character. I definitely won't have anything removed for at least a year, I've been through the broken rod also and non fusion etc. I think the one screw that really protrudes the worst is around T5 or6, it's right in the center of my back. And yes, I am a thin woman too. The doctor has told me since I was in the hospital that gaining some more weight may help. I've always been b/w 113-115 and I'm 5'4 1/2" now ( I gained an inch after the surgery). I got back up to my 115 and I'm going to try to gain a couple more pounds. I do a water class a few times a week and light weights so I am praying that the hardware will stop irritating me so much. Do you remember about the time that feeling subsided? 8 mo, 1 year?? At 6 months, were you back to your normal routine because I am, with the excepion of lifting heavy objects and carrying my 4 yr old daughter around for long distances. Hopefully I'm not doing too much.
    I agree about having all this pain building character, but lately, it's not the right kind sometimes in my case, if you know what I mean Just fed up of problems with my back. That's life, I guess.

    Anyhoo, the first time, after having my hook at around T5 taken out, I was pain free from my fusion for five years-until my rod broke. Then the pain around T5-T6 on the right side started again, mainly b/c my left side being broken(rod and screws) destabilized everything. After six months of fixing and replacing the rod and screws(had revision in December), it hasn't gone away and I actually have pain in BOTH sides now(T5-T6, between shoulder blades), and I have been told that I have to go to a pain clinic but the wait can be a year over here in Canada, oh joy...They want to try some types of injections and new pain killers as I don't take any. The pain acts up when I do things with my hands and arms, like picking up something too heavy or even being on my PC too long(typing).

    We sure have a lot in common. I think at six months you can do pretty much anything unless you're in too much pain(you can judge when it does and maybe relax at times, not pick up anything too heavy, etc), I still don't do weights for now, just walking and will go swimming too. No bending and twisting. Try not to over do it.

    What I noticed from my first surgery is when there is a pain in one area, and it doesn't go away something needs to be done. I don't want more hardware taken out in my case so we'll wait and see what they do for me. You maybe can have one screw taken out, after you wait and see if it hurts later down the line or do something else, but your ortho can advise you probably better that I can. When a lot of screws hurt; sometimes time and more healing(at least a year) helps.

    Take it easy, and keep in touch
    Last edited by sweetness514; 06-26-2006 at 07:27 PM.
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    18

    Sweetness:

    Was the rod that broke a steel Harrington rod from your first surgery in 97? My harrington rod broke in 89, and I too have a "failure to fuse problem" or pseudoarthrosis. But I thought and am hoping that these new rods are substantially stronger and do not break like the Harrington's did years ago.

    I will keep waiting and praying this is my last and most successful surgery and I'll pray for you too.

    Thanks for the advice, I will keep in touch. Have to go, my daughter is bugging me to get her a princess dress down
    Kim
    35yr mother of 4 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy
    *Dec 05 A/P revision surgery-UCSF,Dr. Deviren- fused T3 - L3, rib removal
    *1995 Hardware removal (spine collapsed into 105 degree kyphotic curve over next 8 yrs)
    *1994 Revision scoliosis surgery to remove rods and put in clamps/other type hardware, ended up having problems so went back under 5 days later
    *1992 Removal of broken Harrington rod, 2 smaller rods put in
    *1987 Harrington rod for 46 degree scoliosis curve

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    My rods are Titanium, and apparently they're not that much stronger. But I'm allergic to Stainless Steel and they don't use it here from what I gather anyways, as it is stronger, but heavier.

    Thank you for the kind words and thoughts, I hope everything goes better for you and you sure deserve a pain free life! It's really frustrating when we go through many surgeries and in some cases(like mine now), we end up in more pain. But I knew what I was getting into, and I had to have my rod and screws fixed, you should have heard the noise it made and how everything was a mess in there, as I felt it all the time an my surgeon told me when he operated on me

    Well take care and keep in touch, whenever you want through here or e-mail All of us here who have had revision surgeries and treatments have to stick together, and get strength from each other. We're a tough bunch for sure
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

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