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Thread: 18-year old with questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    96

    18-year old with questions

    Hi, I had surgery almost two years ago a fusion from T4-L4 and i was wondering about a few things regarding my rods. I have a tender spot on my back. Its in my upper middle-ish back and it doesnt hurt at all if i dont touch. It hurts when i sit and my back is against a chair it hurts alot. Im wondering if thats normal? Could it be that at that certain spot the rods may be irritating the surrounding muscles? If so, what is the treatment for that? I have xrays coming up this week, but can u see that problem on an x ray? TIA!

    On a side note, im also having general upper back pain? I dont know if these pains are related to each other.
    Last edited by ScoliGal; 04-06-2008 at 06:35 PM.
    ~Wanda~
    Age: 18
    40TL curve pre op
    Posterior Spinal Fusion with Dr. Pablo Marrero
    San Jorge Children's Hospital in Puerto Rico
    June 7, 2006
    post op curve: 16

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

    It's impossible to know what it is without a physical examination, but a lot of people have pain that feels like a bruise, over an area of a prominent hook or screw.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    213
    Hi,

    I'm a 21 yr old gal, 9 yrs post-op from my original surgery (T3-L3 I think). Even this far out, there remain 2 small areas on either side of my scar, in exactly the same places on either side (mid shoulder blade region & just above the pelvic bone) that still frequently itch "inside" & give me a sharp pain if pressed. Having seen various X-rays, I know that these areas actually do correspond to where the hooks/bolts/whatever sit at the top & bottom of this fusion. I mentioned it to my old surgeon a few years ago & he said along the lines that it can sometimes happen, more commonly in people who are very thin as there is little "padding" between the instrumentation & the nerves of the skin.

    For sure talk to your doc about it, but I wouldn't be too concerned in the mean time :-) Have you tried things like using a soft or memory foam pillow on the back of your chair? Even though I've never been successful at putting much weight on, things like spontaneous sharp pains from my areas definitely diminished over time post-op, but it did take a good 3-4 yrs. I hope it doesn't take that long for yours to settle down, though.

    Sorry to ramble, hope everything makes sense...anyway, you're not alone! All the best with it :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    96
    I am 5'6" and weigh 115. I am not really thin, but i am thin enough because i can see the first half of my rods on my back and feel them. It especially hurts when my tender spot rubs agains that back of a hard chair. I dont wanna be carrying a pillow everywhere, and i dont want this to follow me for the rest of my life. Ive heard that surgeons can go in and chip off some part of the rod thats bothering you? Can anyone confirm that?

    THanks!
    ~Wanda~
    Age: 18
    40TL curve pre op
    Posterior Spinal Fusion with Dr. Pablo Marrero
    San Jorge Children's Hospital in Puerto Rico
    June 7, 2006
    post op curve: 16

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    213
    Hi again,

    I've not heard of a surgeon "chipping off" some of the instrumentation, but it sure sounds like something to ask your doc about. The closest thing I've heard of is going in & removing part/all of the instrumentation once the bone is all fused very well, but I think that comes with some risks of new curve progression, etc.. I have no idea what metric height/weight that translates to, but I too can see/feel my instrumentation, so perhaps it is a case of it being so close under the skin....not that that helps you much, sorry! Carting a pillow around certainly isn't a good long-term solution, but perhaps could make you more comfy until you can get it seen to better. I'm very lucky that I'm in a wheelchair, & it has a soft cushiony back (& seat), so in a way I'm able to carry a pillow with me, & that is better than if I'm sitting in a hard chair.

    Sorry I can't be of more use, but I hope you can find a solution. I will be interested in hearing about "chipping off" part of the rods, too, if anybody has heard of that. All the best :-)

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

    Removing parts of the implants is a relatively easy surgery... at least in comparison to scoliosis surgery. The only problem is that if the fusion isn't solid (and there is no definitive way to know that it is), the spine can curve again, requiring additional surgery.

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Linda

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