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Thread: Rods Removed after 17 months...Am I OK?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Chesapeake, VA
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    Question Rods Removed after 17 months...Am I OK?

    Has anyone else had their rods removed after this amount of time? My rods were removed after 17 months to correct my 40-something curve to 20-something back in 1998. Now I recently had a free evaluation at a sports medical center at my gym, and the x-ray I saw looks just as bad as before my initial surgery. I'm worried that I have gotten worse and all the pain and recovery was for nothing! My doctor and parents assured me that now that i was fused, I could never get worse. but now I see people have had second and even third surgeries. Do I need to go back to an orthopedic? I haven't done that since 1998, and since moving out on my own a few years ago, I have no idea where my records are.

    I'm pretty worried, and I would love to read and hear from people with similiar experiences, advice. thoughts, etc. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
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    Sep 2003
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    Hi Shannon...

    You should definitely get yourself to a scoliosis specialist. If you weren't completely fused, your curves could have reverted to their original shape.

    You can find a list of specialists here:

    http://www.srs.org/directory/directory.asp

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Illinois
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    Shannon, I had my rods removed 1 year after surgery. My dr. was sure I would be fine with them removed. After 2 weeks when I went back to get my staples out my Dr. x-rayed my spine. My curvature had returned. My spine was just as crooked as before my surgery. So 2 weeks after that I went back in and had it done all over again. No one ever wants to go through it more than once but some of us are just not so lucky. Good luck to you and I wish you the best. Hope you don't have to go through it again.
    Mattie

  4. #4
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    Sep 2003
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    Hardware removal=?loss of correction?

    Here is an abstract from the National Library of Medicine discussing hardware removal:


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...=pubmed_docsum

    Why was yours removed?

    My original surgery in 1956 was without hardware and I lost most of the correction. That's why I had revision surgery at age 60 with hardware.
    The purpose of hardware is: support the spine while healing to enable early walking and to reinforce the fused spine permanently.

    In 1956 I had to stay in bed a year for that fusion to heal.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ireland
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    14
    I had my Harrington rod removed in 1981 4 months after fusion the replacement rod was removed 3 months later. The first rod started to bend at the top and a hook came away. With the replacement rod hook at bottom came away and i was in severe pain. I went back ten years later I have a worn facet joint. I have just been back to see a specialist the for first time since 1991 as i have been getting a lot of pain going down my leg. The specialist mentioned that i have a sagittal imbalance and may at some stage extend my fusion to pelvis but in the meantime i start on physiotherapy.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
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    Craziness!

    Thanks for the replies. I will definately take the advice. I have no idea why my rods were removed. I think at the time I wanted it and asked for it, but I was 16 and my only concern was making the varsity squad again. Why do doctors remove hardware if there are so many cases of the curve returning to its original spot?? I do remember that the main objective of the surgery was not correction, but to keep the curve from getting worse. Any experiences where the curve went further than the original curve?

    I can't believe that this doctor just let me go, and I've not had anyone check my spine in 10 years! With the reading I am doing now, that seems crazy! has everyone else had regular checkups?

  7. #7
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    Hi Shannon...

    I think, in most cases, there is no need for routine checkups. Hopefully, people such as yourself that start noticing changes, will get themselves to a specialist.

    It's certainly feasible that one's curves could actually increase if the fusion never took and the implants were removed.

    Hope you'll let us know what you find.

    Regards,
    Linda

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    Regular Checkups

    Shannon -
    I think many of us on this forum didn't have any checkups only the follow ups after the inital surgery. The only visit I had with the surgeon was nine months after to remove my cast, and then I think six months after that they did a x-ray. That was it. So don't beat yourself up for not having any checkups as so many of us didn't have them either. Take care of yourself. 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)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Indiana
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    10

    Checkups

    Other than routine x-rays for a year or two, I had no follow up either. And, after reading so many posts the past couple of days, it sounds like everybody got different restrictions. I had 25 years of "No Problems", then started to collapse. I had my rod the whole time and was told from the start, in 1975, that it would stay in forever unless it created a problem. So ... in it stayed, for 30 years, until I had a revision and fusion extension done last year. I actually asked to keep the rod. To me, my spine WAS that rod! Now I have a new specialist who does only Scoliosis, and I will follow up forever.
    45 y/o female, retired RN
    1st scoli surgery '75, double curves, 56 & 52 degrees with Harrington Rod T4-L4.
    2nd reconstruction '05, removal of rod, pull L5 into fusion, secured with 12 screws and 2 plates.
    Presently 18 month post-op, doing relatively well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Hi Shannon,

    I also was told to go home unless I had problems and didn't get checkups for a while. But neck pain and then my rod breaking had me go to a new ortho that told me that it's good to have Xrays every few years, even if there is no pain. I agree very much with him. And it's weird how fusions for the most part are supposed to be solid but a lot of people who have their rods removed have the curves come back. That means not as many fusions as doctors are led to believe are solid, if you ask me.
    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    18

    Failed Fusions After Rod Removal?

    Does anyone know the most recent statistics regarding the percentage of people who have their rods removed and then experience failed fusions? I have a date to have mine removed this winter, but because of the postings I've read and my own past experiences, I'm still wary. Last time I checked, about 15% of the folks who have their rods removed experience problems. Does anyone have anyother statistics or experiences? I would really like to hear about them.
    Thanks,
    bonniep

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    10

    Removing rods

    Bonnie ... How long have you had your rod and why are they removing it? As far as I know, statistically, 0 % of those who keep their rods in have a return of the curvature. I wonder why they push to take these rods out. Until joining this forum a couple days ago, I had never heard of the rod/rods being removed electively. 0 % compared to 15% is huge if you're not having any problems. It's only an opinion. I'd ask ALOT of questions. MaryLou
    45 y/o female, retired RN
    1st scoli surgery '75, double curves, 56 & 52 degrees with Harrington Rod T4-L4.
    2nd reconstruction '05, removal of rod, pull L5 into fusion, secured with 12 screws and 2 plates.
    Presently 18 month post-op, doing relatively well.

  13. #13
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryLou
    Bonnie ... How long have you had your rod and why are they removing it? As far as I know, statistically, 0 % of those who keep their rods in have a return of the curvature. I wonder why they push to take these rods out. Until joining this forum a couple days ago, I had never heard of the rod/rods being removed electively. 0 % compared to 15% is huge if you're not having any problems. It's only an opinion. I'd ask ALOT of questions. MaryLou
    Hi...

    Most people who have their implants removed have them removed because they are causing specific pain. I know of at least one doctor who was routinely removing the implants (whom I would definitely steer clear of if I could remember who he is).

    Regards,
    Linda

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    42
    Had my op 18 months ago now. Because of MRSA they think the rods may need to be taken out but say they would not do this until 2 years were up because of the risk of the curve progressing again. i think your doc was very much to blame.

    best wishes,

    Diana

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