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Thread: please help advise on revision

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    please help advise on revision


    The past week has been an emotional roller coaster...I am really hoping that I can get some helpful information to help me make a decision regarding having a revision surgery. I am 34, had Harrington rods installed from my lower neck (not sure the number/letter) to L4 in 1986. For the past six years I have been in and out of doctors, PT's, massage therapists, yoga, pretty much everything to help with stiffness in my lower back, extreme pain in my hip and numbness in my leg. I was told that it was due to a herniated disc. After this pain worsening in the past year, I finally decided to take care of it and go back to the partner of the original doctor who works wtih herniated discs. Dr. Casden at Beth Israel, NYC. He saw me and said it wasn't a herniated disc but DDD and flatback. Surgery had to happen at some point, now or later to relief my symptoms. Here comes the problem.. my husband and i would like to start a family and now on a daily basis, hourly sometimes, our minds change as to what is best. My gynocologist says that my age is a factor in that come next year (this magically year of 35) fertility decreases. So, she suggested having a baby first, understanding that the pain will increase (Dr. Casden also said this). I can totally see this point of view and was set on this decision for two days. Now, after talking with someone who had back pain before pregnancy, I feel differently. She had told me that she would never do it again, that emotionally it was difficult, etc.etc. I am told by the doc that it would have to be 6-9 months before we could try for a baby after the revision. For those of you who have gone through this, can you attest that my body would be able to carry a child? I can see the plusses and minuses of both sides. Surgery first means cutting into fertility time, the possibility of a longer recovery, yet hopefully the ability to have a less painful pregnancy and less painf after being able to carry and pick up child. Surgery after a child means pain throughout the pregnancy, difficulty managing child after, and having to have the surgery when I have a small child. If it weren't for the fertility thing, I would just have the surgery now. I really hope that there are people out there who can give me some feedback, I jsut feel like screaming because it is a very hard decision. thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Dear Missy Snow,

    I had my spinal fusion surgery (1st and hopefully only) 8 weeks ago. The timing for me worked out to have it after my children were older and independent (youngest 15). However, you are in pain now and need to make a decision.

    My recommendation to you as a mother is to have your revision surgery now before you get pregnant and have children, even if it means waiting 6-9 months after the surgery to recover and then another 9 months for the pregnancy. The reason I say this is because of the tremendous amount of energy and stamina that you will need once the child is born. You will need to be back to 100 % to take care of him/her the first few years, not to mention want to be active and fully functional for him during his growing up years.

    After your surgery there are twisting/bending restrictions along with not lifting more than 5-10 pounds for the first 6-12 months. Most children exceed this size the first month, yet they need to be picked up at times all through the preschool years. My surgeon told me to wait until after my son had recovered from a major illness to have the surgery because "you won't be able to take care of him afterwards, your family will have to take care of you"!
    He was totally correct; you are very dependent for the first couple months. I couldn't have imagined going through this recov ery when my children were young although some have no choice in it, but you do.

    There are some women who have written into this forum who had pregnancies and babies not too long after their surgeries; one I think accidentally got pregnant and had hers earlier than they recommended but all was okay. She was on an earlier thread in the 1st time surgical section, I think; you might go back and try to find her. THere are also some discussions on here regarding pregnancy and childbirth after fusions that might interest you.

    My heart goes out to you to have to quickly make this decision. I pray for peace for you in making it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Hi Missysnow(Debbie),

    I agree with what Deb has said, and I know you're in a tough situation and it is not easy. I think you need to take care of yourself before having a child, and right now your back needs medical care. You're still young and once you take care of what needs to be taken care of, things will fall into place and I wish you good luck with the surgery and everything. Don't worry too much and take it one step at a time, and listen to your body
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Hi Deb and Sweetness,

    Thank you for your replies. There is a large part of me (and my family) that feels the same. I just worry about my age and conceiving if I am 36+. ALso worry if there are things that go wrong in the revision. I think I may schedule another appointment with, this time, the original surgeon who did my surgery, Dr.Neuwirth. Bring all my questions to him and see if things become clearer. it really is a hard decision. Hopefully with the help of people who have gone through it, the docs answers and my own feelings I will come to a conclusion soon.


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