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Thread: 28 years post surgery herniated disk problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southwest Ohio
    Posts
    3

    28 years post surgery herniated disk problems

    I had Harrington rod surgery 28 years ago at the age of 13. I sadly know little of the exact length of my rod. I know it is very large covering most of my thoracic spine recently I was told I am fused to L2.
    Long story short 2 years ago I started have severe hip and leg pain. MRI showed that I had bulging at L3-4 & L4-5. I had a micro lumbar diskectomy to remove the problem. Well, here I am two years later having the same problems MRI again shows bulging at L3-4 & L4-5 doctor wants to do surgery again. I am having a difficult time coming to terms with having another surgery.
    Has anyone else had problems with their lumbar spine after thoracic rod placement?

    I have had no problems with the rod itself in 28 years.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by tracyn View Post
    I had Harrington rod surgery 28 years ago at the age of 13. I sadly know little of the exact length of my rod. I know it is very large covering most of my thoracic spine recently I was told I am fused to L2.
    Long story short 2 years ago I started have severe hip and leg pain. MRI showed that I had bulging at L3-4 & L4-5. I had a micro lumbar diskectomy to remove the problem. Well, here I am two years later having the same problems MRI again shows bulging at L3-4 & L4-5 doctor wants to do surgery again. I am having a difficult time coming to terms with having another surgery.
    Has anyone else had problems with their lumbar spine after thoracic rod placement?

    I have had no problems with the rod itself in 28 years.
    Welcome to the site!

    I know where you coming from. My surgery was 25 years ago at the age of 12. I do not know if I have bulging disks or something else because I am having issues with my doctors. I finally see a spine specialist after 9 months. I am having problems with shooting pains down my leg and lots of lower back pain. Hopefully at the end of this month I'll find out what is going on.
    Surgeries July 26th & August 3rd 1983 (12 years old)
    Still have 57 degree curve
    2 Harrington rods
    Luque method used
    Dr David Bradford
    Twin Cities Scoliosis Center
    Preop xray (with brace on)
    Postop xray

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Hi Tracy...

    I'd strongly suggest that you find a scoliosis specialist who has a lot of experience treating patients with prior fusions. I think it's relatively uncommon for a discectomy to resolve problems below a long fusion.

    If you need help finding a specialist, post your geographic area, and hopefully someone will make a recommendation.

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    30
    Hi Tracy,

    I had a laminectomy on the discs below my fusion as they were bulging/herniated and it didn't help me with the pain at all. I have been seen again and my fused spine has moved and caused more problems below the fusion, so I will probably need revision surgery.

    I would get an opinion from a specialist scoliosis doctor as the wear and tear on the 'free' discs is a lot more than in an un-fused spine.

    Best wishes,
    sasha,x

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    94
    I was asking questions under a different thread but I had a response from someone that adults with prior fusions can wear the spinecor brace. Now I have been having leg pain, and lower back pain also.

    I am going to see my orthopedic dr. and have questions regarding the spinecor brace.

    Does anyone else have some info and how the spinecor brace and if it has helped with lower back pain??
    Adrienne
    1991 T4 - T12 Fusion
    1993 Rod Removal
    1999 T4-L4 Fusion (7 rib thoracoplasty)
    2002 Rod Removal 58;49 degrees
    Denver, CO; Dr. John Odom
    Rocky Mtn. Spine Center

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fernley, Nevada
    Posts
    352
    Tracyn,

    Linda is right. You need to see an Ortho that deals with adults that have had prior fusion for scoli. My guess is that you re-herniated because there was/is so much stress on the vert's below your rods. Get a second opinion before you commit to a second surgery with the doc you have now
    SandyC
    SandyC

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Southwest Ohio
    Posts
    3

    Specialist

    Could someone please suggest a specialist in the southwest Ohio region?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    101
    Hi tracyn,

    You've been very good advice already, so I'm not going to be able to add much to it, but just want to let you know you're definitely not alone. I'm also fused to L2 and had the Harrington rod surgery 18 years ago and have been dealing with a herniated L5/S1 disc for the past several months. I also dealt with something that felt similar (but never had a CT scan or MRI to confirm it ) 9 years ago and it was resolved with physical therapy. I'm now doing much better after my most recent herniation, again after lots of physical therapy. If you do get in to see a scoliosis specialist, ask it physical therapy might help you - I've found that by strengthening my core, I've fixed most of the problem. However, my herniation is quite a bit below my fusion, so is probably less linked to my fusion than yours, which sounds like it is right below your fusion.

    Hope you find a specialist to help you!

    - Sarah
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    7

    To Tracyn

    Hi Tracyn,
    Please visit the Flatback_Revised forum on Yahoo.com. The gals on the site offer good advice and many links to surgeons/specialists in revision surgery for us harrington rod victims in need of more surgery. Good luck and be well!
    Luann

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    18
    Tracy,

    Thank you for posting this. I know that it is a struggle. I had rods put in 22 years ago at the age of 7 (and another surgery done at 9). I had little to no trouble until about 5 yrs ago when I had a disc herniation (not sure specifics of where). I know since then I've had more but not been seen for it. Steroid shots are an option up to a point, and physical therapy does help. I definitely agree that strengthening your core helps, but it is so hard to do these things when you are in that kind of pain. I was just told I have disc herniation again and that there has been 'post-surgical change'. Not sure what this entails yet, but I too will be seeing a scoli expert soon to see what can be done. My biggest bit of advice would be to go to the person you feel would do the most help and know the most. So often I've gone to drs only to be sent elsewhere because they hear 'i've had surgery for scoliosis' and don't feel comfortable doing more. So definitely try to go someone who specializes. Hope you find some relief and help!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Hi....

    Unfortunately, there are relatively few surgeons with a lot of experience in treating really complex spinal disorders. If you post where you love, someone might be able to give you some recommendations.

    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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

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