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Thread: Hey! 2nd Surgery - Rod Removal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Red face Hey! 2nd Surgery - Rod Removal

    Hey I just wanted to say my story.. I had surgery for scoliosis when I was 13, on Aug 20th, 2001 (How strange is it that you can not forget the date). Now 5 1/2 yrs later at the age of 18, I recently had an extreme pain that caused spasms that made me cry (and I dont cry easily), I'm a freshman in college and life doesnt stop for a little pain. So, I forced myself to continue threw it, taking asprin and tylanol but of course it was like taking vitamens. Now, my father owns his own pharmacy, and I work there. After seeing the pain I was in, he gave me stronger medications, and we set up an appointment with my scoliosis doctor. Sadly to say not even the medications he gave me could help the pain. The pain became so bad that the spasms would cause paralysis in my legs (only temporarily) but enough to cause me to fall if I was walking or standing. Also, I had problems breathing and chest pains. After my doctor's visit, he didnt know what was wrong, but he did have a solution. Rod removal surgery, only after he tried anti-inflamatory meds, and arthritis meds. Neither worked, and I just scheduled my surgery for March 14th, in the middle of my Spring Break. I am a sorority girl, in college. I should be living the happiest times of my life, but instead I am heavily medicated getting through my classes waiting for the day of surgery knowing that post op pain will be lesser than what I am dealing with now. So pray for me, and any questions. Just ask. -Ali K

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Wow, slow down! You've scheduled major back surgery without knowing what is wrong? Did your doctor do x-rays? MRI? or other tests to find out what's wrong. I would hate for you to go through surgery and not get relief. Have you even thought about a second opinion?

    Mary Lou
    Mom to Jamie age 21-diagnosed at age 12-spinal fusion 12/7/2004-fused from T3-L2; and Tracy age 19, mild Scoliosis-diagnosed at age 18.

  3. #3
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    Hi Ali...

    In my communication with a lot of patients, I don't think I've ever heard that rod removal was recommended for someone with new pain. Usually, people whose implants are causing pain, complain about the pain beginning soon after surgery.

    The good news, however, is that rod removal is usually a fairly uneventful surgery. The bad news is that rod removal can actually lead to needing additional surgery.

    I guess my recommendation would be to get another opinion if possible.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    97

    Major Red Flags...

    Hi Ali,

    Sounds like Great Advice - Get a 2nd opinion!!

    Many people are just going out for more surgeries without enough research and opinions from qualified specialists and many of them are needing more surgeries later in life to correct those problems again later...

    I'm sure there are good specialists near you, perhaps you can try Dr. Bridwell in MO, or Dr. Rand in Boston - Linda and others are better equipped to direct you to top notch doctors!

    Take care,

  5. #5
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    Ive always had "pain" from my rods, mostly bc I push my self to the limit, and than deal with the pain afterwards.
    I did have x-rays. Which proved no breaks in the equipment. But I cant have an Mri bc of the rods.... there metal.. and an Mri is dangerous. We are going to perform a bone scan and/or ct scan next week. Which will show any stress fractures in the bones themselves. Which is actually very possible.
    First off, my doctor who performed my first surgery is retiring, and we (my parents and me) want him to perform my surgery. My surgery will be his final scoliosis surgery.
    Oh, and even if there are stress fractures it is only more reason to have the rod removal surgery.
    Oh, and now your going to think of me as careless.... but a week before the major pain started I was snowboarding out in colorado. But even the doctor has decided it is unrelated to the pain, and we've narrowed it down to the airport when I was carrying alot of weight in luggage.
    Ive thought about this surgery and trust me Im not rushing into anything because I am the one who will be starting back to classes at college less than a week after the surgery itself...
    -Ali K.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat
    Ive always had "pain" from my rods, mostly bc I push my self to the limit, and than deal with the pain afterwards.
    I did have x-rays. Which proved no breaks in the equipment. But I cant have an Mri bc of the rods.... there metal.. and an Mri is dangerous.
    That's incorrrect. It is perfectly safe to have an MRI with spinal implants. However, MRIs are often ineffective because the metal causes artifacts on the film that renders the area right around the metal to be unreadable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat
    Oh, and even if there are stress fractures it is only more reason to have the rod removal surgery.
    That's also incorrect. If there is an area of non-fusion, and the implants are removed, your curves could easily return.

    --Linda

  7. #7
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    Ok, I'm sorry I am so stuipd that I know nothing. First off dont tell me I am wrong! Say I am mistaken, or misheard, or anything, because all you come off as is conceded.
    Now, The stress fractures are unrelated to the fusion, and my doctor, the professional here, is the one who suggested it. Not me. Surgery never crossed my mind til my doctor told me his game plan. He never gave me the suggestion that surgery might help the pain, and be an option to look forward into at a later date. After other tests had been run. Ive had test, after test, after x-ray for the past six years. I am over it. This is the only thing. Oh, and by the way, before anyone else brings it up, three other surgerons weighed in there opinion, and all came to the same solution.
    Oh, Mri's are dangerous for me. I dont completly understand, but during an Mri on my head, and than once again later on my knee. It caused me to pass out in pain, and than seizures.
    I never knew anything about scoliosis til two months prior to my surgery. I got the bad news of what scoliosis is and having to have surgery during a summer vacation. My curves were like 50, and two 25-30 degree curves too.
    I never understood scoliosis, well more I didnt understand the surgery going in. I went in with no fears, no expectations, no worries.... I came out the same way. But now Ive given back to other guys and girls in the area. Ive also always given back.
    Now I am having my surgery March 14th, a Wednesday @ 10 am. I am checking out of the hospital Friday the 16th @ Noon. I will start classes Monday the 19th and 9:05 am.
    Done, set, checkmate. -Ali K

  8. #8
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    I apologize, Ali. I did not mean to make it appear that you knew nothing.

    We'll just have to disagree about whether a stress fracture is the same or different than a non-fusion (pseudarthrosis).

    And, as far as the MRI goes, I assumed you were talking about not being able to have one because of your implants, because above you posted:

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat
    But I cant have an Mri bc of the rods.... there metal.. and an Mri is dangerous.
    Again, I apologize. I do not think you are stupid, nor did I mean to make it appear that way. I just do my best to keep the amount of misinformation to a minimum.

    --Linda

  9. #9
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
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    Dear Alleycat,

    Did your surgeon okay you to go back to school 5 days after your surgery? I've never heard of anyone going back that soon afterwards, but guess that it would depend on how extensive of revision surgery you are getting done. Even the high school kids usually have to wait 4-6 weeks to return to school. Also they are not able to carry backpacks but have to keep a set of books at school and one at home because of weight lifting restrictions. Just something for you to check into while making plans.

    Deb

  10. #10
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    yeah I remember those days, well i dont actually need any books during my classes so i'll only be caring a notebook and pencils. so no worries there. yes, my doctor has approved of it. because i dont really have much of a choice in the matter. -Ali K.

  11. #11
    BentMetal Guest
    You should get a 2nd opinion.

  12. #12
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    Seymour, TN
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    Ive had four surgeons opinions, and with an entire family in the medical field. Ive heard enough and the opinion has been heard enough times, and its always been the same one with no variance.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1

    My 2 cents

    I realize my experience is different from those of you on this site because my problem orginated from a motorcycle accident, not scoliosis. But when it comes to experience with rod placement and removal I think we're pretty much in the same boat.

    On June 5, 2005 (yes, it's a date I'll never forget), I wrecked my motorcycle, sustaining three fractures in my left hip and burst fractures of T-12 and L-4. I had rod and screw placement from T-10 to S-1. The fractures healed, but I continued to have severe pain and considerable stiffness. My hips were pulled into an unnatural position, thrust forward. I had cramps and spasms down my left hamstring all the way to my foot and couldn't lie on my back with my legs straight, because it would cause pain and numbness in my left flank. When I bent over and then straightened up, it felt as if all the nerves in the middle of my back were caught on something and I would have to move in several directions, before it would ease up. The doctors kept telling me it wasn't the rods causing all this. They weren't near any major nerves, so it couldn't be the rods. I had nerve damage. It was scar tissue. Etc, Etc. My whole life revolved around when I could take the next muscle relaxer and the next lortab. And even when I took them, they didn't relieve the pain, only dulled it.

    My life was in the dumper. I lost my job as a firefighter because of the rods. And, though I was paying the bills by freelance writing, I was having to work from bed because I couldn't sit in a chair for more than thirty minutes without excruciating pain. Even though I forced myself to continue to go to the gym and do my workout, it was so painful that I wanted to cry most of the time. All the joy had gone from my life and I thought that if this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life, I didn't want to live it.

    Despite what the doctors were telling me, I knew it was the rods and screws causing the problems. My fractures were healed. There was no reason for so much pain, other than the fact that I had five pounds of metal sticking in me.

    I finally had the rods and screws removed two months ago, and, my God! The difference it's made in my life. The pain is gone. The cramps in my left leg are gone. I can lie on my back with my legs straight with absolutely no pain and no numbness. My hips are back in their normal position. I can bend over and straighten up with no pain.

    The surgery was no fun, true. It was two weeks of excruciating pain and six weeks of pain that got better each week. But, heck, I'd been living with that for almost two years. The benefit has been enormous for me. I can now sit for hours in front of my computer and work (although, it ain't so bad working in bed every now and then!). My workout is fun again. Yoga is no longer an exercise in sheer torture. And, as soon as the weather warms up a bit, I'm planning to start riding my horse again (the Harley is in hog heaven and without a real job I can't afford another). In short, the joy is back in my life.

    I can't tell you that having your rods removed will do the same for you. My surgeon opined that one reason they were so painful was the fact that there was so much there--T-10 to S-1. That makes sense, I guess. But if they're digging into your muscles and nerves, I'd think it doesn't matter how much you have. All it takes is one screw digging in.

    Anyway. I just wanted to share my experience with you. Sometimes you just have to listen to your own body. Like, I said, despite the fact the doctors were telling me it was nerve damage and scar tissue that was causing the pain. I knew it was all that metal digging into me that was causing the majority of my pain and stiffness. I was right, thank God.

    I wish you luck.

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