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Thread: Another surgery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    19

    Another surgery?

    I had my upper lombar fused in surgery when I was 13 years old, after wearing a brace from ages 6-13. Now I am 22 years old and I'm scared I will have to have surgery again, to revise my current state. I do not have very good posture, although I try to sit up straight, it's hard to do when your back is naturally curved. I have two steel bars in my back, one on each side of my spine, fused to the spine with hooks and wires. I had a lower crossbar to hold the bars together, but a couple of years ago, my x-rays revealed that that bar broke, but the doctor said it should be fine unless I start to feel pain. Now one of my bars is somewhat protruding in my back. Like when I sit down and my back is against the hard back of a chair, it hurts because the bar is touching the chair through my back. Is this normal? Should I go have this checked out? I'm just curious, because although a second surgery does NOT sound like a picnic at all, I would rather have it corrected than have something bad happen. Also, I have this fear of a doctor re-correcting my back and me becoming paralyzed, even though I know they are professionals. Just the thought of my back being "tampered" with again, scares me. Anyways, if anyone has had a second surgery, could you please let me know how it went? Any other moral support/advice is also welcome!

    Thanks, Julie!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,793
    Hi Julie...

    If you have new pain or symptoms, you should definitely get in to see your surgeon. I know that it's daunting to think of having another surgery, and the odds are that that won't happen to you, but it's better to know about a problem in the early stages.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    So. California
    Posts
    1

    Surgery...again

    I had my first surgery to fuse my spine and put in a Harrinton rod, the full length of my spine, in 1977. 6 months after the cast came off the rod broke. I didn't have it replaced until 1982. By this time the pain was making it impossible to work a full-time job. You need to have the rod replaced, the sooner the better. The older you get, the harder it is to recover from this surgery.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    From NC, currently in CA
    Posts
    16
    I had my first fusion in 1992, at age 14 or so, then in 1996, my senior year in high school i had the same problems...the bars were palbable (SP?) through my back, creating most of my pain because of the chairs in school and sitting all day in them. also, i had a wild hair to join the military and knew i could not if i had hardware still in my back. so i had my 2nd surgery to remove the hardware. the doctor could feel the rod through my back and understood the pain and my desire to remove the rods.
    to ease your mind, if you do need to have another surgery to remove the rods, it is a much simplier procedure. my first surgery i spent a week in the hospital for the fusion. my rod removal was only considered an outpatient surgery, and i wouldnt even have had to stay overnight if i didnt get up out of my bed trying to move my hospital table and stuff myself, making myself sick, so they kept me one night. anyhow, it took no time for me to be back up to normal pace....much quicker recovery time than my first surgery.
    and because your spine has fused (the dr. has to think its fused in order to remove the hardware) you dont have to worry about them messing with it again, they can't do anything else to it if its fused.
    hope this helps!
    ~gail

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    19
    Wow Gail! That REALLY does ease my mind. I can't believe the removal of the rods was considered an "outpatient" surgery. I totally thought it would be the same as my first surgery. Yes, it is painful feeling the rods through my back when I sit in chairs...especially against the hard wood chairs in my lecture classes...I can't even sit still, it sucks. But yes, I should see a doctor and ask him if removing the rods is a good idea. I remember my doctor saying I could do that in the future if I wanted to. Thank you VERY MUCH for your post. It litrally eased my mind! Have a great day and if there's anything else I should know about the procedure, could you please let me know? Thanks again!

    --Julie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    From NC, currently in CA
    Posts
    16
    i think that's about it..i only missed 9 days of high school when i had them removed...about 2 weeks i guess. and they actually gave me the rods to keep, after they cut them out of my back. i did keep them, but now they're lost, moved so much since then. it's really a piece of cake. i actually was hoping it was more of a big deal, i was prepared for the fawning over that i got with the first surgery, this one didnt even rate lots of flowers or gifts! LOL
    the only concern i'd have, if i could go back in time, is that now, they're finding out the my fusion never 'took'...so my curve got worse after i removed my rods. when they went in to remove my rods, they doubled checked, and for some reason, it seemed fused perfectly. but, here i am, years later, and may have to go through a 3rd surgery because of it.
    but it was good that i had the rods taken out, because if the fusion wasn't fused properly, and the rods stayed in, they would have over time stopped being effective ( or something like that).
    so, good luck! Hope it goes well.
    ~gail

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